Raquel Pa’aluhi will prove her heart is champion at Invicta FC 12


Raquel Pa’aluhi joined the Invicta FC ranks when she took a fight against Kaitlin Young on eight days notice in November of last year. She pulled off a hard-fought decision win, putting her on a two-fight winning streak. Early on in her career, she has already faced Sarah McMann, Amanda Nunes, and Raquel Pennington, all of who are now in the UFC. Now four and four, she looks to continue her winning streak when she takes on Edaine Gomes in Invicta 12 on April 24th in Kansas City, MO.

Raquel Pa’aluhi will prove her heart is champion at Invicta FC 12

Nicknamed “Lion Heart” by her father, Raquel was born into a fighting family with a bloodline tracing back to some of the strongest warriors from Hawaii. Her father is known as a pioneer of MMA in Hawaii. He boxed and was a state champion wrestler in high school, continuing on with karate as an adult. “When the UFC was created, naturally he started fighting MMA,” Raquel said proudly. She described how he won the first ever MMA event held in Hawaii in 1995 – an 8-man tournament with no rules, no time limit, no gloves, and a $1,000 prize for the winner.

“I was pretty much raised around the sport. We were always in the gym watching my dad train, and took class when he taught. I also did karate when I was younger, but I started taking fighting seriously when I started wrestling as a sophomore in high school.”

Raquel had big dreams of going to the 2012 Olympics, but they were foiled by a school transfer mess up. “So I started training at my Dad’s and Uncle’s gym to stay in shape. When I knew I wasn’t going back to school, my dad sat me down and pretty much told me that I’m not going back. I’ve always wanted to fight so I needed to make a decision right then so we could start moving forward with my career. Three months later I had my first amateur fight and I haven’t looked back since. ”

Her training has evolved a lot since she has started, as did the entire world of Mixed Martial Arts. “I came in at a time where Dana said women would NEVER be in the UFC. Look at where we are at now. One thing about this sport is that if you aren’t actively learning and growing, you’ll get left behind. My entire life revolves around becoming the best possible fighter I can be. My days are planned around training. My eating, my sleeping…everything.”
Pa’aluhi trains out of Drysdale Jiu-jitsu in Las Vegas under Robert Drysdale, who is a multiple-time BJJ world champion. She trains there six days a week, and for this fight camp, has been doing strength and conditioning three times a week at Omalza Fitness. She also trains her striking with coach Dewey Cooper three times a week. Nighttimes are reserved for her runs – a peaceful time to think and relax in addition to helping with weight management.

“My favorite training partner is Robert’s wife, Sophia Drysdale, a black belt in BJJ and multiple-time world champion. It is amazing to be the nail and not the hammer. I love the feeling of being able to just battle with someone, and that’s what I get with her.”

Raquel will have her hands full with Ediane Gomes, a tough, gritty fight-finisher from Brazil who has only gone to decision twice in her 13-fight career. She has seven submission wins, and was on a four fight winning streak before falling prey to Tonya Evinger’s armbar in Invicta 8 last September.

“Ediane is very tough!” Raquel said. “I know she’s going to bring the fight to me and I am preparing for a war. She is 10-3 for a reason and I am preparing hard every day for every situation. I am a fighter and this is what I was born to do. I don’t pick and choose my fights.”

Raquel shared that her favorite kind of training is in the jiu-jitsu gi. “It’s funny because at the end of 2012 I suffered back to back submission losses. My coach at the time told me I had to take a year off and only train in the gi. I was angry but I did it anyway. Jiu jitsu changed my life. It made my fighting better, yes. But it made me a much better person. I became calmer, mentally stronger, kinder, more understanding. Only those who take the jiu jitsu journey will understand what I mean. So for me, jiu jitsu is relaxing. It makes my mind go. It’s a never ending journey. There’s always something to learn.”

Her biggest personal victory came when, near the end of a hard, challenging year, she entered the No-Gi Worlds tournament last October. She ended up losing in the finals of her division, but entered the absolute division and won it by submission.

“I felt like I finally turned my year around. That day I won, I found something in myself that I had been looking for for a long time. Two weeks later I got the call for Invicta 9 and I found a way to win on 8 days notice against a very tough opponent. I feel like I’ve unlocked the key to success which was always right in my mind. ”

She said that her heart is her strength. “I was the third child of four. When we would get into fights, my oldest sister and brother would always beat me up,” she related. “But I’d stand there say things like, ‘I shall surely be brave!’ and just charge them with absolutely no fear. I am a fighter and I absolutely love to fight. There is nothing I love more than this. I have a huge heart and I always want to see other people happy.”

In her spare time, she loves being outdoors. “I’m a country girl at heart. I was born and raised just a five minute walk away from the beach so I was always there or in the mountains.” She also loves spending time with her family and binging on series on Netflix.

Follow her on social media: Twitter – @Raquelpaaluhi Instagram – Raquelpaaluhi

“I want to thank my sponsors, Armed and Dangerous (I wouldn’t be here in Vegas chasing this dream if it weren’t for you guys. Thank you Ali’i and Gursh!), Amaguin Law, ATH Organics, Nueve Salon. Ian at Omalza Fitness for getting me in the best shape of my life. My team at Drysdale Jiu Jitsu and last but not least, Dewey Cooper! He is bringing my striking to a whole different level.”

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