Indian MMA

ONE Battleground: Ritu Phogat gets a decision win against Lin Heqin of China

Ritu Phogat made her return to the ONE Championship circle today when she fought Lin Heqin of China in an Atomweight contest. 

Lin Heqin was making use of her reach advantage and long-distance striking in the opening minutes of the first round. Ritu shot for a takedown midway through the round but failed to get anything productive from the attempt as Heqin showed exceptional takedown defense. Ritu finally managed to takedown Heqin with two minutes to go in the round but Heqin managed to escape before any damage. 

Ritu got a takedown a minute into the second round after exchanging some punches with Heqin. She managed to remain in the top position for the rest of the round and even landed some ground and pound. Heqin had success with her punches in the opening minute of the third round. Ritu then pushed for a takedown and ended up getting one which landed her in top position. Ritu then wrestled her way through the round to secure a decision win in the match. 

Ritu stepped into the circle for the first time after her showdown with Bi Nguyen at ONE: Dangal and was looking to make a statement. Earlier, she had expressed her interest in re-entering the ONE Atomweight Grand Prix and said that her next fight [with Lin Heqin] will be the key for the same.

“Right now, I am focusing and preparing for my next match. I want to win my next match and book a place in Atomweight Grand Prix. If I get my next match as soon as possible and perform well or finish my opponent, I will let [ONE Championship] know that I deserve to be a part of the Grand Prix. If I can be a part of the Grand Prix after defeating [my next opponent], I will do that,” Ritu had said.

The Indian was on an impressive four-fight winning streak prior to her defeat against Bi Nguyen at ONE: Dangal. Lin Heqin on the other hand came into the fight with a record of 14-2-1 to her name.

Heqin was also riding high on an 11-fight winnings streak with her last win coming against Jomary Torres in ONE Championship back in 2019. The Chinese fighter had 7 TKO/KO finishes in her resume along with 6 decision wins. Her last defeat prior to the showdown with Ritu came back in 2016 and her only other defeat in her professional MMA career came against Meng Bo in 2015.

Interestingly, Ritu was not the first Indian opponent for Heqin as she had earlier faced one of the most promising names in the Indian MMA circuit, Akshata Khadtare at the WMMA World Championships in Russia back in 2017. It was Heqin that came out on top in the fight via a decision after three rounds in that match.

ONE Battleground was headlined by the Muay-Thai Strawweight World Championship fight between Sam-A-Gaiyanghadao and Prajanchai PK Saenchai Muay Thai Gym. Also on the card was the return of former two-division champion Aung La N Sang who went up against Leonardo Ataides of Brazil in a Middleweight bout. In the opening bout of the event, Victoria Lee returned with a strong first-round win when the promotional debut of Jeremy Pacatiw saw the Team Lakay star picking up a win against Chen Rui of China. 

Let us know your thoughts on the result in the comment section below.

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