With just one week until her match against Brooke Mao (4-1), Oakdale’s Last Stand fighter Antoinette Bernal reflects on how she made it into the octagon.
Bernal grew up in the Los Angeles area, but her stepmother lives in Sonora. Bernal moved up to Valley Springs and had heard about the gym they had there.
“I had heard about a kickboxing gym that was there, but the kickboxing schedule there did not fit mine so I checked this one and the schedule worked better for me here. I was told kickboxing was a great workout so I started to attend it. I also heard about this gym (Last Stand of Oakdale) and I began to attend here,” recalled Bernal.
Although she never intended to become a fighter, Bernal’s fighting future began to surface one night when a female fighter was training for a fight and she needed a sparring partner. They used Bernal, who impressed both the trainers and her partner and Bernal eventually took over the spot in the upcoming fight.
“I’m not sure what happened exactly that night, I remember that she just stopped sparring with me and I took her spot in that fight. I fight for fun, so I try and keep it light hearted,” Bernal pointed out.
Her first fight came against Loran Love in Galt, in which Bernal claimed victory in the third round via TKO. Bernal has had six fights in the octagon, where she holds a record of 3-3.
In a day where Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) phenom Ronda Rousey is the household name, Bernal credits Gina Carano as her influence in the cage.
“When I was in college, a classmate of mine told me about her (Carano). Prior to this, I really did not think women fought. I watched a video of hers and she was knocking people out and it was entertaining. Another person I looked up to was Paige Vanzant, she was cool too,” Bernal shared.
Bernal uses her kickboxing style in the octagon, and looks to forward to her upcoming fight against Mao.
“I don’t know a lot about her, other than her record. I am looking forward to getting back into action in front of my friends and family,” an excited Bernal stated.
Bernal and Mao square off on Saturday, July 18 at the Merced County Fairgrounds. For ticket information, call Oakdale MMA Last Stand at (209)-847-9406.