"I heard the pop," said Wessels. "I was surprised the ref didn't hear the pop in my leg. And it was so painful, but for some reason my body just didn't tap."
Cantuária entered the fight with a record of 9-3 and a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
It was expected that she'd be an expert grappler, and her knee bar quickly put Wessels in a tight spot in the first round.
"There was no way I was going to put in that much work and stuff and come there to tap in the first minute and a half, you know what I mean?" said Wessels. "I'd rather die. That's what it is — kill or be killed, right? And I wasn't ready to die."
Wessels would go on to fight two more rounds with the injury, eventually submitting Cantuária with a rear-naked choke in the third round.
As a result, the Squamish fighter not only won her debut in the LFA, but also became the reigning flyweight champion in that league.
This win at LFA 120, which occurred on Dec. 10, at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake, Minn., brings Wessels' professional MMA record to an undefeated 5-0.
Wessels said that the first round of the fight was all about feeling out her opponent. While she did sustain an injury from the kneebar, she found that she was physically stronger than Cantuária.
When she went to her corner after that round, the focus was still on winning — not on her knee.
"They just said OK, we're going to keep pushing her up against her cage, we're gonna take her down. They didn't give me an out either," Wessels said.
She then focused on getting her opponent to the ground and trying to finish the fight.
Wessels said that a big part of the win was a result of her conditioning.
For that, she'd been working with local CrossFit coach Jesse Bifano, who trained the winner of this year's CrossFit Games.
"I was in there twice a week and pretty much putting me in the darkest places he possibly could. So when I got to those places in my fight, it was like second nature," Wessels said.
While speaking to The Chief on the phone on Dec. 13, Wessels said she was going to have a doctor look at her knee and see what the next steps would be training-wise.
She said it's unclear where the future lies.
She still has ambitions for making it to the UFC, but she'll fight depending on what offers come her way.
Wessels has an offer of a year and three fights with LFA, with an escape clause that would allow her to fight in the UFC.
"We dove deep into this one and the payoff is huge," she said.
"I'm just so appreciative of getting that job done and sitting back and waiting and seeing what opportunities come up next."