Sports

Anchorage fighter Gina Mazany returns to UFC winner’s circle

Three days before Bartlett High graduate Gina Mazany stepped into the octagon at UFC Las Vegas 15, an anniversary rolled around that she wasn’t eager to celebrate: Three years had passed since her last Ultimate Fighting Championship victory.

Mazany, 32, celebrated with glee Saturday night after winning her debut in the flyweight division with a third-round TKO.

Mazany stopped Rachael Ostovich with a body kick -- in MMA parlance, a liver shot -- to finish a fight she dominated from the start.

“This win felt so stinking good,” she told reporters in a post-bout interview.

[He coached hockey and she was a graphic artist. Now the Mazany siblings of Anchorage are MMA fighters]

Mazany improved to 7-4 overall and 2-4 in UFC fights. She hadn’t won a UFC fight since Nov. 25, 2017, and less than six months has passed since a brutal bantamweight loss June 13 when she was TKO’d 22 seconds into the fight.

Since then, she has reinvented herself under the direction of new coach James Krause, a veteran cage fighter who convinced Mazany and her fiance, UFC fighter Tim Elliott, to leave Las Vegas and join him in Kansas City, Missouri.

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“I moved to Missouri, changed camps, changed coaches, changed teams, changed weight class, changed my hair,” Mazany said. “New year, new me. Let’s go.”

Mazany’s long-awaited victory came after a demanding 10-week camp and weight-cut that took her from 135 pounds to 125 pounds, the difference between the bantamweight and flyweight divisions. She said no thanks to a Thanksgiving Day feast to ensure she’d make weight for her fight, which was part of Saturday’s preliminary card.

A strong grappler, Mazany said Ostovich’s flexibility prevented her from ending the fight on the ground. But Mazany’s arsenal also includes body kicks, and a left foot to the abdomen crumpled her opponent.

“I throw that a lot in sparring, and it curls people occasionally,” she said.

Mazany -- whose nickname is Gina Danger -- grew up in Anchorage and was working as a graphic artist in Seattle and fighting on the side when she decided to become a fulltime fighter about four years ago. She moved to Las Vegas, where her brother Dave Mazany was also pursuing a fighting career. Dave Mazany retired two years ago with a 17-6-1 record.

Gina Mazany’s career seemed to be winding down earlier this year when she was TKO’d 22 seconds into her last fight in June, when she was a late replacement in a UFC bantamweight bout. That’s when Krause stepped into her life.

Mazany gushed about his influence when asked about it after her victory.

“Well, I’ve been losing for the past three years and now I’ve won, so he was a big, huge part of it,” she said. “I kinda describe it to him as I felt like I was a broken car in a lot. A beautiful car, I had nice rims and a good motor, but my steering wheel was in the backseat.

“He came in and wanted the car and he fixed it all up and was basically like, ‘Hey, if you don’t want to drive it I’ll drive the car and you just basically do what I say,’ and I did. He helped wake up that passion for fighting and got me back in the winner’s circle.”

Beth Bragg

Beth Bragg wrote about sports and other topics for the ADN for more than 35 years, much of it as sports editor. She retired in October 2021. She's contributing coverage of Alaskans involved in the 2022 Winter Olympics.

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