I've spent the past couple of days figuring out how the fighting system at Nineveh Academy works. The school has thousands of children, so I needed to create a practical way for the judges and teachers to select and train them for fighting tournaments. Since these are the elite warriors of the school, the fights aren't free-for-alls like the trials. There are rules (i.e. no biting, hair-pulling, etc.) to ensure that the cream of the Yangvaadan crop don't get maimed. Also, the winners of these competitions get rewards which make survival much easier. That's why there is a lot of corruption, politics, and outright cheating involved, which will be covered in more detail in the novel.
I also wrote a little bit about Maxine Njalsdottir's notable opponents. If Nineveh was the UFC, then Maxine would be a female Anderson Silva. She is THE girl to beat and habitually humiliates all of her foes. Cassandra would be a female Jon Jones: a young, athletic phenom who no one can figure out. Will these two clash in their own superfight? We'll find out soon enough.