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Texas Teen Shows What It Really Means to ‘Fight Like a Girl'

Three hours a day, six days a week, 12-year-old Bella Nasser trains at Ohana Warrior ahead of her first national Muay Thai match.

Bella found out about the sport, which uses fists, elbows, knees and shins, sometime last year after she learned not all combat sports are ready to open the door to girls.

"She's always loved wrestling," Bella's mom Angela Harrison said.

For years, Bella spent at least a day out of the week curled up in bed watching wrestling on repeat. So when she asked to join, her mom agreed. Though it wasn't as easy as they expected.

"In my area they would only have a boys wrestling team, which was hard because, like, we're in the 21st century and I feel like women can do whatever they put their mind to," Nasser said.

Instead, she turned to boxing, though it didn't fill the void of the passion she'd hoped to pursue. That's when she found Muay Thai, along with a coach who knows a thing or two about breaking the status quo.

"For awhile there, I was the only girl coach," Monalutta Albiola said.

Albiola now has several girls on her team. Nasser is one of two under the age of 18 that she'll take to a national competition next month.

There, women will make up only a quarter or so of the competitors. In Nasser's age group, there's only one other girl to compete against in her weight division.

It's a fact she's used to, usually sparring against boys and even men at her gym. But she's never used it as an excuse, only a reason to fight harder.

"It's taught her that you can achieve absolutely anything. And that you can do anything that you put your heart to. And if you want something bad enough, you'll go and get it," Harrison said.

After all, fighting is something Bella's done from day one when she was born 10 weeks early, weighing in at just two pounds.

"She was so small that she didn't even open her eyes," Harrison said.

In the NICU, Bella fought several serious complications before she got strong enough to head home.

"I think God created her as a fighter. It's just what she's supposed to do," Harrison said.

Beyond her first national fight, Bella's setting her sights on the Olympics, which she hopes will soon include Muay Thai. She hopes her sport can take her all over the world to show everyone that girls can fight too. 

"Women, they can work just as hard as men do, and they just do so good. They're strong, they're independent, it just amazes me," Nasser said.

Nasser competes the last weekend of April in Arizona. 

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