Making her debut amateur MMA fight at Combat Zone 35 at Rockingham Park in Salem, New Hampshire was mother of two, Heather Lambert. Initially standing in the blue corner she looked a bit nervous, but once the action started that immediately dissipated.
Lambert came out the aggressor landing roundhouse kicks and multiple combinations. Harney returned throwing punches and knees. Lambert attempted a single leg takedown but abandoned it immediately when her corner instructed to keep it standing. Harney tried to go for a single leg takedown but Lambert capitalized when Harney’s head was down and sunk in a deep guillotine forcing Harney to tap on her feet! Heather Lambert finished her first MMA fight against seasoned amateur Shannon Harney (2-1-0) of Dragon within in 52 seconds of the first round.
Heather Lambert’s coach Greg Williams of Kaze Dojo in the White Mountain Region of Northern New Hampshire was very proud of her performance. I asked “How did you feel about having your first female fighter out of your gym win?”
Williams said “Worried, she performed perfectly, admirably, she did what she needed to do and executed. It was her first fight so you’re wondering how they’re going to react in the ring, jitters and what not. She did everything she needed to do. She fought almost a perfect fight, from my point of view. She hit her with body kicks like we told her, choked her out, punches, she hit her with a barrage and I couldn’t be more happy and I’m proud that the hard work she put in paid off. Because she works very hard she deserved it and sometimes it doesn’t happen that way, tonight it happened that way and I’m happy for her!”
I had chance to speak with both fighters following the fight. This is what they said.
Shelley: So how does it feel?
Heather Lambert: “ Wonderful” (with a huge smile and laugh)
Shelley: This was your first MMA experience. How did you feel going into the cage initially?
Heather Lambert: I felt a little nervous, but I was really excited. Rick(Corrigan) commented I was still smiling when I was standing in my corner. So he said ‘that was a good sign’, I felt great.
Shelley: How did it feel to haul out and punch?
Heather Lambert: It felt really gooood!
Shelley: How did it feel to open up and kick?
Heather Lambert: Absolutely wonderful!
(The girl was beaming! When she said this!)
Shelley: You came out kicking, landing two good roundhouses to the body. You were on her with punches and kicks, there was one time you went for a takedown?
Heather Lambert: Yah, and then I heard my corner yelling to stay standing.
Shelley: How were you able to get the guillotine?
Heather Lambert: She ducked in a little and I saw it was there, so I kinda snuck it in there on her. And then I just cranked on it!
Shelley: So what’s next for you?
Heather Lambert: Next, I’m going to do a grappling tournament, probably in November. And we’ll see about when we’re going to set up my next MMA fight.
Shelley: Your daughter just won last week in her division at Naga. What did she think of you winning?
Heather Lambert: She is very excited, I just called to let her know, so that she’ll be able to get to sleep tonight.
Shelley: Your son?
Heather Lambert: Still have to call, he’s staying with friends.
Shelley: And Hubby?
Heather Lambert: Yah, he was very nervous, but happy now!
Shelley: Well, now you two can relax and enjoy the rest of the show! Congratulations and I’ll look forward to when you fight again!
Heather Lambert: Thanks so much.
I found Shannon in the women’s room and she was kind enough to speak with me about the fight. Here is what she had to say.
Shelley: Hey Shannon sorry about the loss.
Shannon Harney: Thanks
Shelley: Can you give me a recap of the fight?
Shannon Harney: Sure. Right off the bat, she caught me with a right to the temple.
Shelley: Oh she caught you good? In the very beginning?
Shannon Harney: Yah, I was seeing white and I was trying to fight through that. I was just telling myself stay in it, stay in it. But I’m taking nothing away from her. But she did get me good.
Shelley: Well you had several good come backs, you both went back and forth with flurries of combinations. How were you feeling during those combinations besides being stunned? And how did you feel about going into this fight?
Shannon Harney: I felt really good.
Shelley: Heather went to take you down at one point.
Shannon Harney: I stuffed it
Shelley: She said her corner was like forget it. Then she caught you in the guillotine?
Shannon Harney: Yah, it was tight. I was trying but the more I tried to fight out of it, the tighter it got. So I was like before I go to sleep, I tapped.
Shelley: You could feel yourself going out?
Shannon Harney: Yah, because I was trying to tuck my chin a little bit and wiggle out, but I could feel myself going out.
Shelley: That is a tough position to be in. So what’s next for you? You’re coming off two losses, and I know that’s tough but you learn a lot, you’re in the cage and your actually doing this. There are a lot of girls out there that are a little leery about getting in the cage as an amateur. What advice could you give them? You’ve been on the winning end and the losing end.
Shannon Harney: Keep training, go to the gym if you really love it, just keep going back. Cause you know it’s the love for the sport. Yah, I lost but I learnt a lot about myself and I can take that back to the gym and train harder, harder and harder. That’s all I can do.
Shelley: So now what do you think you’ll do now after having the two losses?
Shannon Harney: I’m actually going to take some time off. I’m actually going on vacation, I’m gonna take a week. Get myself mentally and physically back because I’ve been training since the beginning of the year for that fight with Tisha (Rodrigues).
Shelley: Yes, you had two back to back fights.
Shannon Harney: Yah, back to back and I haven’t taken any time off, so I’m going to do that. Kind of reevaluate, watch the fight, get back into it, start training again and see where it goes from there. The toughest part about being a fighter is coming back after the loss.
Shelley: Absolutely! I think you come back hungrier and I suspect…..
Shannon Harney: Yah, I was hungry after that Tisha fight. Now I’m really hungry, taking nothing away from Heather, she did a great job.
Shelley: In tonight’s fight, what do you think you could have done better?
Shannon Harney: Probably be a little bit more aggressive.
Shelley: It looked pretty aggressive to me. I understand you have a good ground game, but I haven’t seen you get on the ground too much in your last fights.
Shannon Harney: Yah that’s how I won my first two fights
Shelley: There are women who are training now too but have not been in the cage. They do have a bit of experience competing in NAGA or in some standup exhibitions, but there is a general sense of apprehension for some getting in the cage to compete depending on their opponent as an amateur.
Shannon Harney: Yah it’s a lot different. I’ve done NAGA, I’ve done it twice. MMA verse a NAGA Grappling Tournament is a whole different animal, because in MMA there is so much stuff going on. You’re in the cage, you got someone punching you in the face. Its not like on the ground, rolling for submissions, you got somebody who’s trying, literally, to take your head off. It’s hard! That’s all mental. You gotta get through that, you gotta prepare yourself for that, it’s basically war.
Shelley: So going back to your first two fights, what got you to step into that forum?
Shannon Harney: I wanted to challenge myself more.
Shelley: How has that experience been for you?
Shannon Harney: Good! It’s a journey! I’m gonna keep going, keep going. It’s something I like, I love! I have the heart , I have the desire to do it. Win or lose!
Shelley: Thank you so much Shannon, and I look forward to see you back in the cage very soon!
Shannon Harney: Thanks Shelley.
About the writer: Shelley has over 10 years Martial Arts experience. She is also a trainer at Sityodtong.