Not even a surprise visit from Darth Vader and his Storm Troopers could keep Amanda Lucas from her first championship title at Deep 57 on Saturday in Tokyo.
Lucas, the daughter of legendary Star Wars visionary George Lucas, submitted pro-wrestling star Yumiko Hotta (5-4) with a key lock submission two minutes and 16 seconds into the third round to cinch Deep’s women’s open-weight title. Lucas improved her record to 4-1, earning her third submission victory in a row.
The 30-year-old Lucas utilized a combination of striking and grappling to best the unpredictably resilient Motta, 45, who hadn’t competed in MMA since 2000. In the first round, the women brawled on their feet, until Lucas took Motta down to the canvas.
Lucas, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt who began fighting professionally in 2008, attempted numerous submissions and softened Motta with head and body shots throughout the three rounds. Motta applied a guillotine choke during a third-round rally, but Lucas defended and found the fight-ending shoulder-lock submission shortly after.
“She had [the choke] in deep, but I am difficult person to choke out. I wouldn’t have tapped even if she had it, honestly,” Lucas told SI.com via email. “She was tough as nails, but I expected that. There is no possible way, you could wrestle and fight as long as she has and not be. She fought hard until the end and caught me with big shots. I got some bruises and swelling, and look like a raccoon today!”
Lucas, who attempts to keep references to her father’s beloved cinematic triumph to a minimum when she fights, said the promotion snuck the iconic Star Wars characters into the venue without her knowledge. They appeared onstage behind the ring prior to her entrance. With his unmistakable heavy breathing, Vader delivered a message to the audience before he and his flanking Storm Troopers disappeared.
“I was backstage warming up and didn’t see them. I was just trying to focus on my fight and block it out,” Lucas said. “Once they were gone and my walk music came on, it was my show and only about me. My Dad, Darth Vader, nobody else could win that fight for me.”
Vader and his crew joined Lucas after the bout to take pictures with the fans. Lucas said that with the fight behind her, she was happy to oblige them.
“If me or my fighting or Star Wars is able to bring interest or attention to women’s fighting and Japanese MMA then I think it’s a good thing for everyone involved in the big picture and I will do what I can to bring some fun and a positive image to the sport,” she said. “After I fight, of course.”
Lucas and her husband, Jason, plan to travel to Thailand this week for training, and will return to Japan to watch teammate Jake Shields fight at UFC 144 in Tokyo next weekend. Lucas will also attend promotional events for the 3-D re-release of the Star Wars saga in Japan.
Lucas said she aims to make her first fight at 145 pounds in May or June. She said she’s received multiple offers already stateside from “small promotions to larger established ones.”
However, Lucas said she would have to get “the right deal” before she would leave the Japanese promotion.
“It would be great to fight at home, but until Strikeforce, Bellator or another player comes along that is committed to women’s MMA, I am more than happy to travel the world and visit exciting places, meet new people and kick some of their asses,” she said.