ONE Champions Female Fighters on International Women’s Day

March 5, 2024
3 months

Women fight. Women fight for equality. Women fight for themselves and each other and for causes exterior to what a person has between their legs. ONE Championship supports the cause by hosting a female fight card on International Women’s Day.

Todd Wants to Upset the Locals

Anyone who follows women’s kickboxing will appreciate that this fight has to happen. Janet Todd, the atomweight champion, must fight the interim champ, Phetjeeja Lukjaoporongtom, which is why they are at the top of the ONE Fight Night 20 card. It’s America against Thailand in a gigantic clash to determine the unified championship. Todd will have her supporters in the crowd, but nowhere like the pop that Lukjaoporongtom will receive. 

The Thai fighter has become incredibly popular in recent years, having not lost a Muay Thai or Kickboxing fight since 2018 and gone undefeated during her boxing career’s infancy, now 6-0, making MMA news websites purr with excitement. If she’s unsuccessful against Todd, there will undoubtedly be a few disgruntled Thai fight fans in the audience.

Morales Looks to Restore Fighting Pride to Andalusia

Andalusia hasn’t had a combat sports world champion since Pedro Carrasco triumphed in his boxing career in the 1970s. Cristina Morales is looking to take the strawweight Muay Thai championship home to Córdoba and restore fighting pride to her region. She’s challenging the feisty Allycia Rodrigues, the current champion. Morales isn’t fighting just for her native Spain; she advocates for motherhood. Despite having two young children, she’s not left the cage and fights for them to prove that having a family is not a roadblock to success for women.

Her opponent is the Brazilian champion, Allycia Rodrigues. While she might have lost her last fight at flyweight, she has an impressive resume. She has previously defeated Janet Todd (the woman mentioned at the top of this article) and handed a loss to the ever-popular Stamp Fairtex. Rodrigues may, however, have the backing of the crowd, having relocated to Phuket to master her craft and decided to raise her family in her adopted homeland of Thailand.

Undefeated Sawada Returns to ONE Championship

Chihiro Sawada might be Japan’s best-kept atomweight secret. The 27-year-old from Tokyo is undefeated, with a 6-0-1 record across the atomweight and strawweight divisions. She’s not been tied down to singular promotions, having fought with Combate Global, Shooto and ONE Championship once before. She made Sanaz Fayazmanesh tap out in February 2023, the last time she was in Bangkok. Can she do the same against ‘Shadowcat’ Jihin Radzuan?

The Malaysian Radzuan is a significant acid test for Sawada. While Radzuan has lost three fights, she’s been fighting at a higher level of competition for much longer – and has a 9-3 overall record to show for it. All but one of her fights occurred within the confines of a ONE Championship structure as she signed with the company in 2018. Both fighters are known to favor a submission win, so this match could be a technical affair, with both looking to make the other tap out.

Kierczyńska Looks to Keep Pressure on Vandaryeva

This year, there might not be another match where the combatants enter with such stark momentum and form. Ekaterina Vandaryeva might only be the A-Side to this fight due to her longevity and previous appearances with ONE Championship. It’s certainly not because of her late Muay Thai performances, as she’s lost many fights, having not won a fight since 2016 – and that was a kickboxing match!

The woman looking to capitalize on her opponent’s poor form is Martyna Kierczyńska. The Polish fighter has had two amateur MMA fights, one kickboxing match and her last fight was in Muay Thai. She won all those and is 4-0 in her overall fight career. The only issue for her is that she fought on the One Fight Night 19 card just a few weeks ago when OFN 20 came around. Could she be exhausted from that prior fight?

You Look for Another Stoppage Win

Hong Kong might not be a country commonly associated with combat sports success, but that could all change with the rise of Muay Thai sensation Yu Yau Pui. The 31-year-old has now had six fights in ONE Championship and comprehensively cleared every opponent standing in her way. Three of those wins came early as she knocked out TheStar Sitcho and rendered both Zehra Dogan and Devina Martin unable to defend themselves.

Lara Fernandez is a step up in quality for Yu as the Spanish fighter has won multiple competitions hosted by IFMA, ISKA and Lion Fight. While her resume is stacked with certifications stating she’s been the best at one specific tournament, Fernandez has struggled to make an impact since joining ONE. She’s lost four of her five fights with the promotion to date, and that single win was only a split decision, too.

Does the Card Need More MMA?

While ONE Championship has always prided itself on being a platform for multiple combat sports with divisions in many different disciplines…MMA is the most popular. While it is fantastic to dive into Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Submission Grappling, etc., MMA is the company’s breadwinner and moves the needle. While other bouts could be announced, there are only two MMA fights now; this won’t get the purist MMA news sites too excited. For commercial success, the card could be predominantly MMA fights and be supplemented by minority sports, not the other way around like it is now.

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By Dean McHugh.