ONE Championship: Stamp Fairtex warns Ritu Phogat - ‘you better prepare, I’m gonna be even better next time’
Stamp Fairtex fired a warning to Ritu Phogat after the pair booked their places in ONE Championship’s atomweight grand prix final with unanimous decision wins on Friday night in Singapore.
“The Indian Tigress” Phogat (7-1) dominated late replacement Jenelyn Olsim (5-3), of the Philippines, while Thailand’s Stamp (7-1) showed off all her striking guile to shut down Brazilian alternate Julie Mezabarba (9-3-1).
“Well, you better prepare very well, because I’m gonna be even better next time,” Stamp said, when asked if she had a message for Phogat in her post-fight interview. “I have showed I have improved. My Muay Thai in MMA is not overrated.”
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The two then faced off inside the ONE Circle at Singapore Indoor Stadium, ahead of their showdown on December 3, where the winner will earn a shot against divisional champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee (10-2).
“I already know how good Ritu is at wrestling,” Stamp later said backstage. “I think I’ll try to keep the distance. I don’t want her to keep close to me. I’ll use my Muay Thai to keep a long range with her.
“I will try punches. I will try clinches. I will try to knee and kick her. Then I will have a chance to win.”
The victory over Mezabarba was perhaps Stamp’s most impressive to date since the former ONE atomweight Muay Thai and kick-boxing champ started dabbling in MMA in 2019.
Where once she looked vulnerable on the ground, the 24-year-old showed off the frightening improvements she has continued to make in that particular department, to go along with her world-class striking ” which makes her a terrifying problem for any woman in the division.
“Today’s fight is MMA, but Julie was trying to fight kick-boxing with me, so that’s why I was trying to do my Muay Thai skills with her, because I know I’m better than her. I already know she cannot compete with me and would lose.
“So that’s why she tried to take me down. I tried to defend her in the last round, that’s how I proved she’s wrong. She mentioned it a lot, she previously talked about my Muay Thai being overrated.
“Of course I trained my ground game, but more to defend against my opponent taking me down. This fight I prepared more on my striking,” added Stamp, who also displayed her growing grappling prowess in her quarter-final victory over Alyona Rassohyna.
That takedown defence will definitely be put to the test against 27-year-old former national wrestling champion Phogat, who controlled Team Lakay’s Olsim with ease on the ground.
“I watched her fight. Ritu is a big challenge,” Stamp said. “I need to try my best. I need to be better prepared to compete with her, because her ground game and wrestling are very good. I will need to be even more ready.”
This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia. For more SCMP stories, please download our mobile app, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.
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