The Chavez sisters – Angelica and Margarita, daughters of Grandmaster and Peggy Chavez, of Chavez Martial Arts Academy (Chavez Karate), located in the South Valley of Albuquerque, NM. Both girls have been training since they could walk, under the expert instruction of their father, Grandmaster Chavez, and both are now professional mixed martial artists, whose father, as well as being their teacher, is also their agent.
Angelica (4-1) began competing in karate tournaments from the time she was 3-years-old, and in kickboxing tournaments from the time she was in 2nd grade. In 2009, she had her first professional cagefight, against Stephanie Palmer at GFC 1 (Global Fury Cagefighting), which she won by key lock at 1:37 of the 2nd round. Although at that time, she had no formal grappling training in wrestling or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, she was experienced in judo and jiu jitsu as part of her father’s teaching. At that fight, she met Professor Rafael “Barata” Freitas, who invited her to train with him at Gracie-Barra. She agreed and the two actually made an arrangement, which still stands, whereby Grandmaster Chavez works with him on his striking, and Freitas works with the Chavez girls on their BJJ.
Since that time, she has gone on to win 3 of the last four fights, with two wins at Duke City MMA Series and the other at Evolution Combat Sports Championships – Friday Night Fights 2 against Jennifer Berg. However, she lost her most recent bout by split decision, against the super tough, Diana Rael at MMA Fight Pit – Genesis, a match which had been sought by both sides. In a way, she related, she’s glad to have had that experience. “Not that anyone wants to lose, but I’m glad that all the young people who came to see me, were able to see me experience that loss, and how to be classy whether you win or lose.” She went on to say that the young girls at her gym are the greatest influence on her career: “They inspire me to inspire them.” She wants to show them, that “you can be from South Valley and still be a strong independent woman.”
At 24-years-old, Angelica Chavez is the epitome of that kind of woman, having had a barber shop for almost six years, Associates Degrees in Integrated Studies and Fire Science, and, with a license for Cosmetology, she also works at a shop called Hot Heads and Cool Claws. Although she loves fighting; “it’s fun to me,” her dream career is to be a firefighter for the City ofAlbuquerque. In the meantime, however, she wants to continue to fight, although sometimes it’s difficult to find matches at her weight class, 105-lbs. She hopes to fight as soon as possible, hopefully inJapan, where there are many more professional female fighters at the lighter weights, including 98-lbs, a weight which she feels she could achieve without considerable difficulty. She does love to fight in her home state, though, and no wonder. As her ring name indicates, “SouthValley’s Own” has one of the largest fan contingencies around the state; “I really feel the support from my fans every time I fight.”
Margarita (1-1) is also a professional fighter; although she is the older sister (at 27), she has not fought as a pro quite as long. She lived for a couple years in Hawaii, during which time she did not train or fight, but when she came back, she jumped right back into it. Now she trains harder than ever, and she had her first professional match in May 2010, which was a 3-round war, ending in a split decision for her opponent. Her other match, at Evolution: Friday Night Fights 3 – was another 3-round battle, which resulted in her win by split decision. That match was particularly difficult, when, in the first round of action, she twisted her ankle. She went through the remaining 2-1/2 rounds so hard, that few realized she had injured herself until she was carried out of the cage, draped in the lei bestowed by her father. “Margarita has always been mentally tough, with an incredible will and tolerance for pain,” related her sister, Angelica. “Since Margarita had taken a couple years off in Hawaii, she had to work to everything back in order, but we help each other. I help her sharpen the skills she already has, and she helps me learn to be tough.” Margarita holds a degree in community health and is currently in grad school. However, she continues to train as much as possible, when not at work or in school, both at Chavez and Gracie Barra.