An entire nation’s hope will be on Ritu Phogat(25) when she makes her Mixed Martial Arts debut in the most established organization of Asia, One FC. There have been several athletes from India who have made their name in MMA, however, Ritu Phogat is going to be the biggest and most accomplished athlete from India to compete in MMA.
Ritu Phogat is going to make her debut against Korea’s Nam Hee Kim who will also be making her MMA debut. ONE FC has done an excellent job of not giving the toughest fight in the division to Phogat on her MMA debut. She might become one of the biggest stars in ONE FC women’s divisions considering her fan base and the fact that the Phogat sisters are household names in India when it comes to wrestling.
Ritu Phogat vs Nam Hee Kim:
The prelims of ONE: Age of Dragons will start at 2:30 PM IST. It will be live on ONE’s youtube channel. The entire event can be watched on Hotstar.
Ritu Phogat is an exceptional wrestler and considering her achievements it can be assumed that she might be one of the best wrestlers in the atom weight division of ONE FC or the strawweight division(52.2kgs/ 115 lbs). She has won a Gold medal in Commonwealth games, a Bronze in Asian Championships and a Silver in U-23 World Wrestling championship. SO she has the wrestling pedigree to take anyone in the strawweight division down, however, it would be interesting to see how she controls her opponent on the ground.
MMA wrestling is quite different from freestyle wrestling. We have seen athletes excelling in MMA grappling even without any accomplishments in wrestling championships. However, a fighter can do wonders in MMA if he or she has a strong wrestling base. Arguably the greatest MMA fighter of all time, George St Pierre came into the sport as a Karate specialist. However, he included wrestling to his arsenal and dominated the sports until the day he retired. Khabib Nurmagomedov, Henry Cejudo, Daniel Cormier, Kamaru Usman, and the list goes on. Most fo the best fighters in MMA at the moment have wrestling as their primary skills.
However, it would be intriguing to see how does Ritu Phogat uses her striking to complement her wrestling. If she goes on with a gameplan of securing takedowns and control her opponents on the ground then that might not work in every fight. She used to compete at 48kg division in wrestling, however, she will be competing in 52.2 kgs division in MMA and there will be a difference of power in her opponent and they might be able to defend some of her takedowns. If Phogat can use rudimentary boxing to keep her opponent guessing about what’s coming next and then level change to secure a takedown, it is going to be an easy win for Phogat on her MMA debut.
With that said, Ritu Phogat is likely to get her hands raised on her MMA debut. She can either take her opponent down and control her on the ground, winning the fight via decision or she will win via KO on the ground.
Prediction: Ritu Phogat Via Unanimous Decision