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Ritu Phogat aims to combine striking and wrestling against Bi Nguyen as crucial 2021 calendar starts-Sports News , Happy Easterday

Ritu Phogat goals to mix hanging and wrestling towards Bi Nguyen as essential 2021 calendar starts-Sports activities Information , Joyful Easterday

Recognized for her grappling energy, Ritu Phogat goals to steadiness it with hanging towards Vietnamese-American Bi Nguyen at One: Dangal.

It was in 2019 that Ritu Phogat shocked everybody together with her choice to give up wrestling in favour of blended martial arts (MMA). Hailing from the famend Phogat household, who had their well-liked and provoking story working in theatres close to us in 2016 with the film Dangal, Ritu was anticipated to observe in her elder sister Geeta and Babita’s footsteps.

However ‘The Indian Tigress’ had different concepts. Geeta and Babita made India proud on the wrestling mats of the Commonwealth Video games, the Khabib Nurmagomedov-inspired Ritu desires to do it in an MMA ring.

Her journey has been thus far so good. In 2019, Ritu defeated Kim Nam-hee within the first spherical of the atom-weight (52 kg) contest on the One Championship occasion. In 2020, she received all three bouts. The honeymoon interval, if there’s any in a sport the place fighters spit blood after receiving punches and bruises keep contemporary lengthy sufficient to remind them in regards to the beating they endure, is about to recover from for the Indian.

Ritu has been named as one of many eight rivals for the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix which kicks off on 28 Might. The winner of the Grand Prix will earn the proper to problem reigning world champion Angela Lee in November this 12 months for the title. Issues are going to get very severe in 2021 and Ritu is the least skilled within the group of the eight fighters.

Luckily, she has a useful alternative upcoming to soar her expertise and develop her confidence. However for that, she has to struggle a ‘Dangal’ of her personal. On 15 Might, Ritu is scheduled to tackle Vietnamese-American Bi ‘Killer Bee’ Nguyen at One: Dangal.

“I need to begin this new 12 months with a win. I’ll attempt my greatest to stay as much as the expectations of my followers,” Ritu instructed Indian media throughout a digital interplay from Singapore.

In contrast to Ritu, Nguyen will take the ring on Saturday on the again of three consecutive defeats. Nevertheless, the 31-year-old fighter has an extended historical past of MMA and Muay Thai. An skilled on the “artwork of eight limbs”, Nguyen made her beginner MMA debut in 2014 and turned skilled in 2016.

Given her expertise of martial arts, Nguyen has a robust stand-up recreation the place she seems to be to put on down her opponents with the continual hammering of punches and kicks.

Ritu, given her lengthy affiliation with wrestling, has a robust grappling recreation the place she prefers taking down her rivals as quickly as potential earlier than bringing down ending punches on them. However this transition from hanging to takedown is the place the opponent may sniff a chance. The shortage of sting in hanging may enable Nguyen to dictate phrases early.

However the 27-year-old Indian will not be flustered in regards to the potential challenges. Although she reveals little or no about her recreation plan for the upcoming bout, she is assured her wrestling heritage will assist her trump Nguyen.

“Bi Nguyen is extra skilled than me and her standing recreation is healthier than mine. However I’ve confidence in my coaching,” says the 2016 Commonwealth Wrestling Championship gold medallist. “You will notice within the match how wrestling overpowers hanging. I’ll attempt to take full benefit of my energy that’s wrestling.”

And if it isn’t sufficient, Ritu will hope her hanging, one thing on which she has labored usually at Evolve MMA the martial arts academy, withstands the Nguyen take a look at.

“In atom-weight, no fighter has a solution to my wrestling however I’ll prefer to have a mixture of hanging and wrestling within the upcoming match,” says Ritu.

“The fifteenth Might struggle goes to be very thrilling as a result of a top-level puncher and a top-level wrestler are going to collide.”

Unbeaten in 4 bouts thus far, Ritu will even be defending her excellent report towards Nguyen, however that has had no bearing on her psyche.

“I do not take any strain as a result of I’m undefeated. I prepare and provides my 110 % within the ring. And I need to proceed my unbeaten streak,” she added.

Psychological toughness is one other facet of Ritu which has enhanced since she made the change to MMA. Her dream to win a world title in MMA and the pursuit of it took her away from residence to Singapore. The COVID-19 pandemic then made the gap between household and her a lot wider. Attributable to visa restrictions and strict quarantine guidelines, Ritu hasn’t been in a position to go to residence since February final 12 months.

“The final time I visited India was in February final 12 months and after that lockdown was applied right here. I’m mentally very robust however the lockdown has made me stronger as a result of I missed so many issues, I missed my sister’s wedding ceremony, my different sister had a toddler, so these items have made me stronger mentally,” says Ritu.

“Each time I communicate to my Papa on the cellphone, he provides me a number of motivation. He at all times tells me to remember the explanation for which I’ve come right here (Singapore). In order that’s at all times in my thoughts.”

The One: Dangal has a particular concentrate on Indian MMA fighters. Aside from Ritu, India’s Arjan Bhullar will struggle for the belt towards One heavyweight world Champion Brandon Vera. India’s Roshan Mainam will tackle Canadian-Indian Gurdarshan Mangat.

“Everyone has educated properly, they’re right here to win, So I’m assured they are going to give their greatest. Arjan Singh Bhullar goes to struggle for the belt, so the entire of India is hoping he’ll win the belt and I’m additionally very assured,” added the previous wrestler.

Whereas Ritu prepares for an additional punishing MMA bout, India is experiencing the second wave of the lethal coronavirus .

“It is a tough interval however we have to keep robust. This will even move, do not lose your coronary heart. All the things will change into regular, so we have to keep constructive. Keep secure, keep at residence,” mentioned Ritu.

Amid the pandemic, Ritu solely has phrases of consolation to supply but when she wins her upcoming bout she would be capable of provide one thing to rejoice to her fellow Indians.

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Updated: May 13, 2021 — 1:29 am

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