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KUCHING, Oct 21, 2015:

Sacrifice breeds success and for 36-year-old Joanna Yap, keeping a stiff upper lip, even if it is bruised at times after a pummelling has led to where she is right now.

Journalist by day, martial artist by night, Yap is currently the first Women’s Pride Malaysian Invasion Mixed Martial Arts (Mimma) champion after defeating her opponent from Sabah, Felicia Yunus.

But after going through five rounds of a gruelling three minute bouts, exchanging strikes and grappling, the three panel judges fared Yap for the title.

Though it took only 15 minutes of her life in the caged ring and given one minute rest time in between rounds, Yap told The Rakyat Post recently that she had to let go a lot of things to focus for each fight before she reached the finals.

“Time. There is never enough time when you have a day job,” said Yap when met at her training gym Studio 23 here.

Yap juggles her hours between working with local daily, The Borneo Post and Brazilian Jiujitsu training at the studio or working on her Muay Thai strikes at SS Fighters Muay Thai Gym and also strength training and conditioning at Urban Ape gym throughout the week.

“Training helps a lot with my work. It helps me to be focused at work to ensure I keep to my deadlines.”

Yap also said with the active lifestyle she needed to go through, she also had to watch her diet, leaving out all her comfort food behind to ensure she got the right fuel for the day.

“I can’t eat chocolate cakes, I have to forget about ice cream and other comfort food, which I am used to, because eating clean will help the body to be able to go through work and training.

“Which also means no greasy food like laksa and kolo mee. A clean diet is really the key for me to prepare myself for each round I had to go through Mimma.”

Eating clean – which is consuming food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible – maybe difficult to stomach for some as food tends to be bland, but Yap has a different view as she still ‘plays’ around with her food.

“To me eating clean is not depriving myself of food but it is more about watching my calorie intake.

“Clean calories make you stay energised while bad calories tend to make you tire faster. I also learned to stay away from ice cream by subsidising it with Greek yoghurt with fruits and nuts.

“Then after all of that clean eating throughout the week, I will reward myself with my comfort food once in two weeks, so I have something to look forward to,” Yap added.

Yap spends almost every night after work on training leaving her little time to spend with her friends and families.

“I had to put that aside for the past few months and it is a tough decision to make at times when I had to say “no” to them so that I can be in training.

“And since Mimma is over, I can spend my time with my friends and family, but training will never stop for me,” Yap added.

Mimma recently concluded its third season in Stadium Putra, Kuala Lumpur last weekend and Yap is currently the first Women’s Pride champion in a newly introduced category.

The Mixed Martial Arts event is touted as the world’s largest amateur MMA championship that saw several former champions heading their way to the professional stage with One Championship, the largest sports media property with a global broadcast of over one billion homes across 75 countries.

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