The absolute pro division at this weekend’s World Series of Grappling in Las Vegas had the possibility of two of the sports best finally facing off, and Lana Stefanac could finally get her dream match with Penny Thomas.
Before she could do that, she had to advance to the finals. Her first fight was against none other than Tonya Evinger.
“I ended up getting her on the first draw which did nothing but destroy my head,” Stefanac admitted. “I tapped her as fast as I could because I did not want to fight my friend. A ton of people wanted to see that fight, the ref even made a comment as we were waiting for the start ‘Wow, Evinger and Stefanac, this is going to be good!’ So it was horrible for me because I hate fighting people I know.”
Stefanac jumped an armbar and submitted Tonya about the one minute mark.
Stefanac next fight was against a strong and very talented Katie Weilbaucher. They went the distance and Stefanac won by points. Lana had to play this fight very strategically due to Katie’s strength.
Lana goes on to face Penny Thomas in the finals. Penny had a first round bye and fought against Jacquelinee Andratti in the semi-finals. Jacquelinee kept a quick pace on Thomas, but was unable to secure any dominate positions. Thomas wins and is set to fight Lana.
“Beating Penny Thomas was one thing that I wanted to do so badly, not for any other reason than I think she is the best of the best and I needed to avenge my loss,” Stefanac stated. “The last time I had a chance at Penny was also in Grappler’s Quest, but when I fought Tammy Griego before her I managed to break 2 bones in my foot, so not only did Tammy pass my ‘broken’ guard but she got to fight Penny in my place because she passed my guard. I was pulling my hair out.”
As both ladies enter the mat, Lana looks over and smiles, then pretends to break a stick in half. The crowd laughs and is already on her side. The two battle for control while standing. They both go to the ground, where Lana lands in a dominate position. Lana controls Thomas and counters any move that Thomas attempts. Time runs out on Thomas and Lana gets the long awaited victory. Lana stands and thrusts her fist in the air. Patience and training equals victory.
“I adore Penny, she is a great competitor and regularly taps girls twice her size,” Stefanac added. “She has all my love and respect.”