By her own admission, 2016 was not the best year for Combate Americas atomweight Kyra Batara. A win in her first fight of the year was tempered by a fight cancellation and then her first loss in four fights to close out 2016.
“2016 was definitely not what I was hoping it would be,” Batara told MMAWeekly.com. “I was hoping I’d have more fights, but I only ended up having two fights last year.
“As far as fighting it wasn’t the way I planned on it going, but it was a really great experience of getting exposure going to Japan, going to Mexico, going to Miami and LA, and getting a lot of exposure.”
While this past year was not her most successful, one thing didn’t change, Batara’s desire to constantly face the best opposition she can and work her way up the atomweight ranks.
“Between 2014 and this year, I’ve always wanted a challenge,” she said. “I’ve been pushed to fight tough opponents with more fights than me and more experience. The only difference here is that I do have a lot more to fight for.
“I have a lot of people to prove wrong. I have a target on my back now. There are more people who want me to fail, and I think that motivates me more.”
Batara (5-4) will look to kick off her 2017 right when she takes on Vanessa Fernandez (2-2) in a 105-pound main event at Combate Americas 11 on Thursday in Burbank, Calif.
“There’s not a whole lot I can study on her,” Batara said of Fernandez. “I don’t really study much on my opponents myself, but my coaches and manager and teammates study for me. There’s not a whole lot of film on her.
“I think it will be very similar that fight with Jenny (Silverio); just a Judo girl, short and stocky. It is weird fighting a girl that’s shorter than me, but I’m ready for whatever she has to throw at me.”
Following a less than active year in 2016, Batara is looking to be more active in 2017, and in the process capture her first major pro MMA championship.
“The overall goal is that I want to get as many fights as I can,” said Batara. “I know a lot of girls are calling me out right now. Paulina Granados just made this huge article on how she wants to beat me up.
“(Combate owner) Campbell McLaren already told me I get the belt after this fight. That’s going to be a great first fight start for me in 2017. Once I have the belt, I plan on keeping it all throughout the year.”