Ritu Phogat was initially scheduled to fight against Itsui Hirata, but the Japanese had to pull out of the fight following a high fever. Olsim was bought in as the replacement on four days’ notice.
Ritu has braved her way past more experienced peers and far more skilful opponents to earn her spot as the #4-ranked contender of the division. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but her courage to repeatedly display her best when it matters most is something that separates Phogat from her foes.
A win here could mean that Ritu Phogat will directly fight in the finals of the Grand Prix and then take on the ONE Strawweight champion Angela Lee.
How will the fight between Ritu Phogat and Jenelym Olsim go?
Ritu Phogat was mainly preparing for Itsuki Hirata, who has a wrestling base, but now she will have to come up with a new game plan to take on Olsim, who has a Muay Thai base. This will mean that the Filipina fighter will be looking to keep the fight on the feet and avoid the ground game as much as possible.
“My previous fight which was cancelled was against a wrestler and a grappler. I had prepared for that kind of game,” Ritu Phogat said in an interview with ESPN.
While Ritu’s striking is improving, Phogat has shown in her previous fights that her wrestling base is the one she can genuinely rely on to turn around the fight at any given moment. The striking shouldn’t be a problem for Phogat as just a month ago, she took on an elite striker in Meng Bo and defeated her via unanimous decision. In that fight, while she lost the striking early on, she implemented her wrestling heavy game plan and dominated the fight in the remainder of the two rounds.
While Olsim might be the underdog heading into this fight, it won’t be an easy fight for Ritu Phogat as the Pinoy fighter is coming off of a decision win over Bi Nguyen, who in turn as a decision win over Ritu Phogat, albeit a controversial one.
The key to victory for Ritu Phogat will be to implement her wrestling early on and grind it to a decision victory.