Lindsey VanZandt fights at Invicta FC 40 on Thursday, July 2. There, she takes on Alesha Zappitella at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas. The event will broadcast on UFC Fight Pass at 8:00 PM EST. With the card, the all women’s MMA promotion makes it’s return from dormancy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Damsel,” meanwhile, looks to get back in the win column as Zappitella attempts to rack up back-to-back victories.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an odd landscape for training, to say the least. But VanZandt has remained optimistic all throughout.
“It’s a little weird cause of classes and stuff. But I like one-on-one sessions and small groups anyways,” she told us recently. “So it’s all good. I’m lucky to have my training partners that come up to me and I go down to them. I’ve got a lot of guys that come up from Jersey. So I’m lucky that everybody’s really cool with traveling and putting in the work.”
It’s all about taking all proper cleaning and safety measures with fight camp ahead of this one. Though VanZandt had five fights last year and this is her first bout of 2020, there was some utility to the time off. “I always try to say positive and stay optimistic. But I also had an injury that I was healing up. So I wouldn’t have been able to fight by now anyway. So the scheduling worked out good for me.”
The freak accident, in training shortly after her last bout with Rena Kubota in RIZIN FF, resulted in an MCL tear. No surgery was required thankfully and the injury healed on it’s own.
Invicta FC 40
Alesha Zappitella is someone that VanZandt is familiar with but “Damsel” is not a fighter that dissects tape, per se. “I don’t like to watch too much. I usually let my coach do that,” she admitted. “They know what to work in. I’ve seen all her fights but I don’t really watch them, you know what I mean? I know about her. I know what she’s good at. But I don’t like to over-study people. I’m an over-thinker so I just chill out and let my coaches do that.”
Some coronavirus aspects have caused familiar teammates to temporarily not be in the picture. But there’s still a sense of camaraderie fighting on the same card as DeAnna Bennett, someone that VanZandt has a tremendous rapport with from past sessions.
“I haven’t got to work with her [DeAnna Bennett]. I love her. She’s a great wrestler too. So it would have been nice to be able to see her and pick her brain. I’m so excited we’re on the same card. We reached out and were like ‘oh my god! we’re on the same card. So excited.’ I haven’t seen her since literally before the New Year.”
VanZandt continued, adding that she “trained for my fight in Japan and that was the last time I saw her. I got an injury when I got back. Had to take time off then and then that whole pandemic happened. So forget trying to get to Renzo’s, you know? I haven’t seen her since 2019 so it sucks. But I’m excited to see her and catch up. I’m excited for her to do some work in there.”
Getting back to 105lbs is also a compelling aspect of this fight for Lindsey VanZandt. Though she is not averse to going to strawweight and taking on all comers, Atomweight is surely VanZandt’s optimal weight class.
“I’m excited. It’s my division. I’m even on the smaller end of the atomweights,” she noted. “Like I’m a small girl. When I’m training, I walk around like 111 or 112. I don’t get that big. I’m small. For me to go up is hard. But I like challenges so I don’t care. A fight’s a fight. But yeah, it’s nice to be in my weight class.”
VanZandt has several paths mapped out to actualize her potential. A rubber match with Rena, number one atomweight status in the world, and a world championship are but a few of her express goals. The pandemic and day-to-day uncertainty of the world has not impeded anything with those aspirations.
“My goals haven’t changed and I’m always looking towards them. I’m still climbing that ladder. I’m a co-main event now and hopefully, I’ll get a title shot next,” she stated. “Or they do a tournament. Whatever they want to do, I’m ready for it. I want to be the best; want to be number one. I want to be the number one atomweight in the world.”
As was mentioned, a one-night tournament is another goal for VanZandt with Invicta having done a few installments for their Phoenix Rising series so far.
In summation, Lindsey VanZandt stated, “It’s always been bucket list thing. I want to fight a couple of times in one night. It just seems like a fun time. After my fights, I’m always like ‘I want to go again.’ I’m all pumped up and want to go again…Definitely want to do that. The title is important and everything. Of course, you want to be champ. But I also want to be number one. I want to fight the best of the best in any organization.”
Peep my interview with Lindsey VanZandt in the video provided!