As one of ONE Championship’s five breakout stars for the year 2019, grappling specialist Ayaka Miura has quickly made her name known in the women’s atomweight division.
The 29-year-old Japanese athlete will be tested by the Evolve trained Maira Mazar on 10 January at ONE: A NEW TOMORROW from the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
This bout is of great significance to Miura as a mixed martial artist as wishes to display her newly acquired skills.
“This [bout] is a very important fight for me,” Miura shares.
“I want everyone to see how I’ve evolved. I’m not just a grappler!”
Her judo-heavy style along with her grappling remains Miura’s base skillset. Her five years of professional martial arts experience has taught her that she needs to acquire and integrate new disciplines to be successful in mixed martial arts.
Miura also has a commendable level of fight IQ as displayed in her previous ONE bouts with Laura “La Gladiadora” Balin and Samara “Marituba” Santos. Miura’s ability to read situations and adjust accordingly has allowed her to defeat the two former title contenders.
On Friday, Miura will have to whip out those new skills of hers as she faces a dangerous striker in Mazar who is known for her knockout power.
“This time I’ve especially been working with [head coach, Ryo] Chonan and my conditioning coach, Mr. Horie, on improving my movement,” Miura said.
“I’ve been doing drills in anticipation of her attacks. My strength is good thanks to heavy weightlifting, but my movement is bad, so I’ve been working on angles and reflexes to improve my quickness.”
Miura has studied her opponent well along with her team from Tribe Tokyo MMA. They came up with possible scenarios where the Brazilian would make use of her height and reach advantage coupled with her striking skills in the bout.
“I imagine she’ll come straight in with long jabs and crosses more than kicks,” Miura said.
“I have to be ready to slip [the punches] so I don’t get hit. Certainly, [Mazar] is a strong fighter, so I want to show the fans how I deal with her striking, and how I can pull her into my game.”
Taking down Mazar to the ground would give the highest chances of winning, but her determination to show how much she has evolved as an athlete may give us a performance from a more well-rounded Miura.
ONE: A NEW TOMORROW will be headlined by Rodtang Jitmuangnon in a much-anticipated rematch with Jonathan Haggerty for the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Title. In the co-main event, Stamp Fairtex aims for a fourth consecutive victory in mixed martial arts with Puja Tomar set to foil the two-sport champion’s plans.