There is only one flaw in Hannah Summers’ game plan against Sydney Ross.
But, it’s a big one.
Summers has been preparing to take on Ross, a Gorilla House Gym fighter from Altoona, Pa., at a 130-pound catchweight in the 247FC’s Brawl in the Burg 3 on March 14. Summers, who fights out of American Top Team Longwood in Orlando, Fla., has a background in striking and Muay Thai, and she has been working a lot on her ground game over the last year. She feels confident in her ability to counter Ross’ wrestling pedigree. Summers also knows that her standup game is her strong point. And, depending upon how her fight with Ross goes, Summers may soon make the jump from fighting as an amateur into the professional ranks.
In no short terms, Summers (4-2-1) has her path forward planned out—including exactly what she expects to happen after her bout with Ross (4-3), even if her affable nature lends itself to an oversimplified result.
As the 26-year-old Summers said, “I’m just looking forward to meeting another badass woman in this sport…The winner has to buy the first round.”
And this is where that flaw comes into play.
Said Ross, “I’m actually 20. So, I’m not actually of drinking age yet. But, I really respect [Summers] for saying that.”
That’s just the way that Summers is though. Her ability to celebrate with her opponents (once business has been concluded) comes from her upbringing in Oregon, and was developed through years of comradery in rugby.
Hannah Summers – Rugby to MMA
Born and raised in Portland, Summers started playing rugby on her high school club team when she was 15 years old. She then went on to stints with Oregon Rugby Sports Union in the Women’s Premiere League, as well as with a women’s senior team, the Portland Pigs. Summers played the Lock position. It was her job to win the ball, be a strong ball carrier, and support players on the attack. And, it was during her time with the Pigs that Summers found her most recent calling.
As Summers tells it, that’s when a local rugby legend (and Muay Thai fighter) Robin Valli Woods opened her own Mixed Martial Arts gym, and extended an invitation for Summers to give it a try. Summers accepted, and retired from rugby a year ago to focus exclusively on MMA. However, Summers’ experience on the pitch also helped to ease her transition into a cage.
“Because of [rugby] I know how to drive forward. And, I know how to bite my mouth guard and go for it when I need to.
“I was a natural at it,” Summers continued, speaking of her time at Valli Woods’ gym. “Hence, my standing game became killer.”
Sydney Ross – Rasslin’, BJJ and Judo
Summers’ striking will run up against an experienced wrestler in Ross, who grew up fluent in various martial arts, and who will simply do what she does best come the first bell.
“I just like doing things that are hard, and to push myself,” said Ross. “I like forcing myself to get better.
That is a path that Ross began walking very early on in her life. Around the age of five, Ross’ father began putting her into martial arts like Taekwondo to not only get her some exercise, but also to give her a base for self-defense later on in life. From that starting point, Ross then found her way into varsity wrestling at Hollidaysburg Area High School as a sophomore in 2015-2016. Ross wrestled at 132-pounds, and went 2-9 while competing against male wrestlers all season.
Adding to her grappling arsenal, Ross has picked up brown belts in both jiu-jitsu as well as judo. But, she has also worked to sharpen her all-around skill set at the Gorilla House Gym. Still, her strategy often centers itself around her ground abilities.
“I’ve fought girls of all different types of bases and backgrounds. I don’t try to change my game plan around the person.”
Ross vs Summers – Love the Tough Fights
Ross wants a hard fight. Like Summers, she want to test herself against the best women in the sport. Yet, that is a path that Summers has already been down in her amateur career, as she went up against Oregon’s first female jiu-jitsu black belt, Amanda Loewen, in March of 2019—lasting five rounds, and developing confidence in her ground game before finally giving up a rear naked choke to Loewen in the final minutes of their fight.
And that is why Summers values her matchup against Ross’ skill set so much. It gives Summers a chance to see just how much she has developed in the past year. And, it will serve as a litmus test on whether or not Summers is ready to turn pro.
“Every time [Loewen] took me down, it was because I threw a (expletive) kick,” Summers said. “If you can get me to the ground now, then hats off to you.”
Continued Summers, “I’m hoping [Ross will] help me with any tweaks that I need to make before taking that leap to the last level… This fight is going to really determine for me whether I take that step now. I’ve always wanted to be a professional athlete. And, maybe, this is my chance…I’m so close to making it a lifelong dream come true.”
Still, Summers concedes that with her strong points, as well as Ross’, passing that test could come down to the smallest margin of error.
“This is going to be an awesome matchup, “ Summers said. “It could be one miniscule thing that makes a difference.”
Added Ross, “If I see a takedown, I’ll take it. If [Summers is] coming in striking, I’ll stay there.…As long as I know my reads right and fight smart, I’ll put on a good performance.”
This IS going to be an awesome matchup! And it is certainly one that is a must-see! Get your tickets now right here!