Maria Malyjasiak Puts Her Welterweight Gi Title On The Line Tonight At F2W 165

It’s been four months since Maria Malyjasiak won the Fight 2 Win welterweight gi title at F2W 154. The 2018 IBJJF Pans champion (in gi and no-gi) caught Nathiely de Jesus in a kneebar to take home the win in what was considered an upset. But the Polish-born BJJ black belt isn’t focused on the odds — just her goals.

“According to the media, I am always the underdog,” Malyjasiak told the Jiu-Jitsu Times. “But I don’t really care. Me and Abmar [Barbosa] are the only two people who really know how hard I am working to be where I am, and I am pretty sure that not many work as hard.”

Though Malyjasiak wasn’t feeling so well before the match, with a fever of 100 degrees, she stayed focused on what Barbosa, her coach, had told her. If she could compete the way he taught her, she could come away with the win. As it turns out, she was right, and now, she’ll be striving for the same as she prepares to defend her title against Elisabeth Clay tonight at F2W 165.

The match between Malyjasiak and Clay will be the headliner for F2W’s second female-only event. The development for the promotion is exciting for Malyjasiak, who says that she hopes the female events will be as profitable as male-only and mixed-gender events so that they can continue to happen. For her, these events aren’t just a great way to celebrate women’s jiu-jitsu — they’re a visible sign of progress showing just how far women’s jiu-jitsu has come in a relatively short period of time.

“When I first competed in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, there were only two weight classes and two advancement groups: white/blue, purple/brown/black, -60 kg and +60 kg. My first event was the Abu Dhabi Professional World Championships Trials back in 2011. Now, AJP has many more divisions for women and some good money prizes,” she says.

Even now, the road to success for Malyjasiak has still been a challenge (“My greatest everyday struggle is not eating chocolate! Seriously!”). Over the past year, though, she’s had to deal with the struggle of being a professional jiu-jitsu athlete in a pandemic, not only for logistical reasons, but also because of the emotional toll.

“Right now I struggle sometimes with motivation,” she says. “The pandemic is hitting hard on everyone, no matter if the only change that happened is wearing a mask when going into the stores. The environment has a huge impact on all of us, and I can tell that some days, when there is no competition to look forward to, or when the future seems very unknown, it is way more difficult to motivate myself to train as hard. The good thing is that I have been into martial arts for more than half of my life and that taught me discipline.”

Whether it’s the struggles of pandemic life or the stress of defending her title or the expectations of others, Malyjasiak isn’t letting any of it bring her down. She isn’t hyperfocused on her opponent’s style, instead choosing to put her trust in her coach and her own hard work and dedication. “I don’t know much about Elisabeth besides that she is doing good in no-gi and she is flexible,” she says. “I am feeling very good, as always I am prepared for a good battle! I think that I have been training non-stop only in the gi will benefit me in this match.”

Though Malyjasiak prefers to keep her mind on the present, she says she hopes to compete in an IBJJF Open tournament in the near future as well as another F2W Female Fight Night event. For now, she’s just focusing on what’s in front of her, which she hopes will include that welterweight championship belt after tonight’s match.

Maria Malyjasiak would like to thank her sponsor, Hyperfly, “for all the support and awesome gear.”

F2W 165 will take place tonight and can be streamed live on FloGrappling.


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