Trista Loftus wins title fight via standing rear naked choke

RIVERSIDE A champion has been crowned in the Central Coast and her name is Trista Loftus.

Loftus is an Atascadero native, a varsity cheerleader and now a mixed martial arts fighting champion. She has been fighting girl after girl in the United States Fight League (USFL) Pankration 140 pound division this year, working her way toward a title. She has fought six times this year and has ended every fight via a submission except two, but those two came against the same girl.

Loftus was 6-1 going into her fight on Saturday, but her lone loss came at the hands of that same girl that took her the distance twice and gave her the only blemish on her record, Nahdia Barrientos.

It was Loftus versus Barrientos part three and this time for a title. Their first two meetings both went the distance, Loftus won the first fight and Barrientos won the second. Not only was Barrientos the only girl to defeat Loftus, she is also the only girl to take her through all four rounds.

Loftus has made a name for herself by finishing opponents early and in brutal fashion. She has won nearly all of her fights this season via an armbar or a rear naked choke submission, but her lone loss haunted her.

In preparation for the fight, Loftus went through the toughest training camp she has had yet.  

“It was intense,” she said. “It was a lot more hardcore. I was there every day for three hours and I was just wanting it more than I had in other fights.”

The chance to win a championship while simultaneously defeating your biggest rival is an opportunity often only extended to actresses in Hollywood blockbusters, not high school freshmen.

Coming into the fight, Loftus had a strategy and she planned to execute it.  

“I knew she would get gassed,” Loftus said. “She is always gassed by the end of the third round so I was just going to go out there and try to lengthen the fight as long as I could.”

However, just hours before the fight, things started going wrong for the female fighting phenom.  

“Everything was going wrong for this fight,” Loftus said. “I get texted the day of the fight that one of my coaches couldn't make it and I already knew one of my other coaches wasn't going to be able to be there, I was coming in underweight, it was just everything.”

Flustered and anxious, Loftus patiently waited for her turn to touch gloves. The promoters were forced to push the fight later than originally expected, forcing Loftus to wait even longer.

Once the girls entered the ring, all jitters were gone and Loftus began executing her strategy.

“I had the first three rounds but everyone kept telling me I didn't have the first three rounds because she was on top,” she said.

Three rounds went by, and Loftus still patiently waited for Barrientos to slip up as she continued to tire her out with a grueling grappling season on the mat.

Then she saw her opportunity and in a flash, the fight was over.  

Barrientos exposed her back just long enough for Loftus to execute a standing rear naked choke for the victory by way of tap out.

Just seconds after she was declared the winner, tears began streaming down her rosy cheeks, “Oh my gosh I was just crying and crying,” she said. “I wanted to show that she wasn't better than me, that she didn't actually beat me. So being able to do that and having everyone there just felt amazing.”

Loftus is hoping to set up her first title defense in early January.  


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