Ritu Phogat might have suffered a loss against Stamp Fairtex in the final of the ONE Atomweight Grand Prix but her run in the tournament has been memorable, to say the least. Reigning ONE Championship Atomweight Champion Angela Lee believes the same.
During her recent interview with ONE Championship, Lee noted that this is not the end of the road for Ritu.
“This is not the end of the road. It’s just the beginning for her. It was a great opportunity, and to be in the final of the [ONE Women’s Atomweight World] Grand Prix Championship. That’s impressive on its own. So, she should be proud of herself and how far she made it. And I think that after this match, she’s just got to go back to the gym, keep training, and keep working on evolving her game,” Lee said.
The champion further stated that she had expected such as result but added that she was shocked to see a submission win for Stamp.
“It was a great fight. I think every one must be shocked that Stamp won via armbar, but I’m actually not too surprised. I did expect Stamp to have a more well-rounded MMA game, and in the fight, you could see that. You could see that Stamp had the more well-rounded MMA game, and I think her team had a really smart strategy for her,” Lee added.
The Indian Tigress was one of the first eight names to be confirmed for the ONE Atomweight Grand Prix but lost her place in the tournament after a close defeat to Bi Nguyen. After this controversial loss, Ritu had to earn her spot back in the Grand Prix and she did just that by dominating Lin Heqin.
The win over Lin Heqin not only earned Ritu her spot back in the Grand Prix but also ended a long winning streak of the Chinese fighter. It was another Chinese name that waited for Ritu in the opening round of the Grand Prix as she went up against the experienced Meng Bo.
A veteran in the MMA circuit with a record of 17-5 and wins over some huge names, Meng was clearly the favorite heading into the fight with Ritu. However, the Indian MMA star had plans of her own and outclassed Meng to progress into the semi-finals. A dominant win over Jenelyn Olsim in the semi-finals won her a spot in the finals and a fight with Stamp Fairtex.
Despite the second-round submission loss to Stamp, Ritu was clearly the dark horse in the tournament and indeed has a long journey ahead in ONE Championship.
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