In one corner was a Brazilian mixed martial artist who made her UFC debut last year, holding a professional record of 1-1.
Weighing in at 115 pounds.
Fighting out of Rio de Janeiro.
Introducing . . . Polyana Viana!
Her challenger? An apparent thief who didn’t stand a fighting chance against Vianna.
The 26-year-old UFC fighter told MMAJunkie that a man with a fake gun tried to steal her cellphone while she waited for a ride-sharing car outside her apartment in Rio de Janeiro.
So, she said, she hit him. Then kicked him. Then put him in a chokehold.
Viana said the man had asked her what time it was, but then would not leave.
“Then he said, ‘Give me the phone. Don’t try to react, because I’m armed,’" she told MMAJunkie. “Then he put his hand over [a suspected gun]; but I realized it was too soft.
“He was really close to me. So I thought, ‘If it’s a gun, he won’t have time to draw it.’ So I stood up. I threw two punches and a kick. He fell, then I caught him in a rear-naked choke. Then I sat him down in the same place we were before and said, ‘Now we’ll wait for the police.’”
Viana told reporters that she asked a bystander to call the authorities, she said, and held down the would-be mugger until the police arrived.
She said the man was arrested, and that the gun turned out to be a cardboard cutout of a firearm.
“I did not do it on impulse,” Viana told CNN. “I was calm, I knew what I was going to do. But I only did it because I knew he did not have a gun.”
A rear-naked choke, sometimes known as the “king of chokes,” is used in a number of fighting disciplines and is one of the most successful maneuvers used in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), according to Vice’s Fightland blog.
Another MMA blog, Bloody Elbow, described it this way:
The rear naked choke is applied from behind the opponent with one arm being wrapped around the neck and the other arm cinching the hold tight to create pressure upon the neck and threaten unconsciousness. The manner in which a rear naked choke is applied can come off as rather brutal to onlookers. Most times, the person in the choke hold is visibly struggling to get free and grimacing like the Hamburglar stole their lunch.
Viana told the Star Online that she did not face any criminal charges for beating up the man because she was acting in self-defense.
She could not immediately be reached for comment by The Washington Post.
The Rio police department were unable to confirm the individuals involved in the incident but told CNN Sport that an attempted robbery had taken place.
“A criminal was found immobilized by civilians after trying to rob a person on site,” a statement read. “A fake gun was seized with him.”
Following the incident, UFC president Dana White posted a picture on Twitter, showing Viana on one side and what he said was the would-be mugger on the other side — with blood on his face.
Viana’s manager, Alex Davis, joked that other robbers in Rio de Janeiro are now asking the UFC to put Viana in a fight to keep her away from them.
Viana told CNN that since the incident, she has received an outpouring of support from people wanting to know whether she is okay.
She reassured everyone that “nothing had changed” and that she has gone right back to work — training for her next fight.