ONE Championship

ONE 159: Zeba Bano Promises To Unleash Her Best Form Against Lea Bivins

Zeba “Fighting Queen” Bano can attest that anyone fighting in ONE Championship must elevate their game because they will compete against some of the best combat sports practitioners globally. 

That’s why her 6-0 record meant little when she faced Nat “Wondergirl” Jaroonsak at ONE 157: Petchmorakot vs. Vienot two months ago.

Aside from trying to keep her perfect record, Bano would’ve liked to score a victory for India. However, things didn’t turn out according to plan as Wondergirl completed an armbar to win via submission in the first round.

“Yes, I was a bit nervous. It is normal for any fighter to be nervous before a fight. Reaching the global stage was a huge thing for me,” Bano said ahead of her fight against Lea Bivins at ONE 159: De Ridder vs. Bigdash on 22 July.

“Hence, I was anxious before the fight and kept telling myself that I had to give my best and fly the tricolor [Indian flag], but unfortunately, it didn’t happen.”

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She accepted that loss as a learning lesson and went back to training soon after. But aside from sustaining her typical training routine, falling short inspired her to improve aspects of her fighting style that will help with her next fight in ONE.

“No, I was not satisfied with my performance. I could not do what I had thought I would do. I watched the fight video multiple times and tried to find out my mistakes and how to overcome them in the future,” the Haryana-based competitor said.

Bano will have a chance to showcase her improvements against Bivins, and now it will be her opponent's turn to make her debut inside the ONE Circle. 

But though Bivins will be fighting at the Singapore Indoor Stadium for the first time, Bano cannot take her lightly because the American has trained with the Lee siblings at United MMA.

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The Indian fighter wants nothing more than a victory to jumpstart her career with the world’s largest martial arts organization. A win over Bivins will help sustain her quest to become India’s first female ONE World Champion.

“It will be crucial to win. Lots of people have high expectations of me, and I am confident about it. I was indeed a bit nervous in my debut, but now, I have to give my best, and my whole focus is on my game,” Bano said.

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