There’s no denying that Indian martial arts star Ritu Phogat possesses all the tools needed to become her country’s first women’s Mixed Martial Arts World Champion.
Ritu Phogat’s march towards the World Title will take a significant step forward should she defeat Japanese grappling sensation Itsuki Hirata in the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix semifinals.
The clash, voted by ONE Championship’s global fan base, will pair two grappling athletes from different disciplines. The Evolve MMA star boasts an exceptional wrestling game, while Hirata’s judoka skills have powered her to a perfect 5-0 record.
Ahead of their bout, we take a look at some key areas where Ritu Phogat shines the most.
#1 Cool And Calm On Her Feet
The first thing eagle-eyed fans or pundits will notice is how much more comfortable the Commonwealth Wrestling Gold Medalist looks on her feet.
Ritu Phogat looked flat-footed in her first two outings on the global stage against “Captain Marvel” Nam Hee Kim and “Miss Red” Wu Chiao Chen. Though she did very well in the striking department, better footwork could have opened the floodgates to more devastating attacks.
However, “The Indian Tigress” has put in loads of work at Evolve MMA in this department, and it clearly showed in her recent performances against Meng Bo and “MMA Sister” Lin Heqin.
She looked cool and calm on her feet, and in turn, that allowed her striking to flow more smoothly.
#2 With Great Wrestling Comes Greater Strength
A wrestler’s main asset is their strength. Technique matters too, and Phogat has repeatedly combined the two throughout her time in ONE.
Every time she’s secured a dominant position on the ground, the Indian martial artist provided very little room for her opponents to counter. Even when they tried, her grip and strength always gets the better of her foes.
This could be one of the few advantages she will have over Hirata when they lock horns in the semifinals.
Hirata hasn’t faced an athlete of Phogat’s repertoire on the canvas, and if Phogat can impose her strength and crafty wrestling once again, it could very well take her into the final against the winner of the clash between Stamp Fairtex and Julie Mezabarba.
#3 Ritu Phogat and her Unwavering Courage
Phogat’s bravery and willingness to fight regardless of the situation have kept Indian martial arts fans on the edge of their seats.
Wrestling may be her bread and butter, but she’s showed that she isn’t afraid to stand and bang even when the odds are against her.
If anything, her recent outing against Meng Bo has taught us that you can never count “The Indian Tigress” out. She may have taken a lot of damage from engaging in a stand-up war against Meng, but still, she left the Circle with a victory.
- Ritu Phogat next fight is against Itsuki Hirata
- She should be calm on her feet
- Use her wrestling to her advantage