Friday, February 24 will see two explosive submission grappling matches on the ONE Fight Night 7 card. The main card features a catchweight submission grappling showdown between Silver Fox ace Danielle Kelly, thus far undefeated in the ONE Circle, and expert judoka turned MMA star Ayaka Miura.
Ayaka Miura on Facing Danielle Kelly
Kelly’s toughest ONE match thus far was arguably her first, against MMA veteran Mei Yamaguchi, which ended in a draw. While Miura sees stylistic differences between herself and Yamaguchi, she’s also trained with Yamaguchi in order to prepare for Danielle. “Mei Yamaguchi is an MMA fighter, but she’s also very good at jiujitsu,” observed Miura during a ONE media event. “I think I’m a bit different from Mei Yamaguchi, but I also trained with Mei for this upcoming fight. And then I got some advice from her. But the style is different.”
“I want to enjoy [this match] as much as possible,” Miura added. For the judo queen, the chance to return to her grappling roots is a chance to have some fun and put on a show — a sentiment echoed by ONE’s current submission grappling flyweight champ Mikey Musumeci in a recent interview with us.
However, that doesn’t mean Ayaka won’t be bringing the heat. “Danielle Kelly is a great fighter,” she admitted, describing the jiu-jitsu black belt as a an “all-rounder.”
By the same token, though, Miura believes that Kelly’s well-roundedness might also prove her downfall if Miura can exploit a gap in the jiu-jitsu specialist’s skills. “Danielle Kelly doesn’t have any special techniques because all her skill is at a high level, but that means she doesn’t have a specialty,” Miura elaborated. “I think my physical strength and the judo skills I use in MMA are better than Danielle’s, and I can show it in this grappling match.”
While Miura will no doubt be looking for her patented “Ayaka-lock,” she’s also keen to “showcase another side of Ayaka.” At the end of the day, though, she simply wants the match to be successful. “I just want everyone to enjoy this fight,” said Miura. “That’s it.”
Uali Kurzhev Talks Showdown Against Tommy Langaker
Also slated for ONE Fight Night 7, sambo champ Uali Kurzhev, last seen getting submitted by ADCC champ and ONE lightweight king Kade Ruotolo, seeks redemption in a match against Ruotolo’s fellow ADCC veteran Tommy Langaker.
Kurzhev’s taken some key lessons on dealing with elite jiu-jitsu players from losing to Kade. “After our fight with Kade I concentrated more on grappling and jiu-jitsu,” said the sambo champ. “I started to work on that every day, and I mixed these trainings with sambo. My technique is better now, and if we meet up with Kade again one day, at least the result of the bout will be a bit more favorable to me.”
According to Kurzhev, though, nothing Kade did really surprised him. “I fought on his turf – the bout was under grappling rules, and he’s the ADCC champion. I came into the fight with one month of training. The only thing he could have done was a heel hook, so well done. He’s without a doubt a very strong athlete, but he didn’t surprise me with anything. As for my new rival, I can’t say much, it is just different this time. He is a professional jiu-jitsu artist, not just a grappler. So, there will be a different approach to this fight from my side.”
To that end, Kurzhev refuses to underestimate Tommy Langaker — a formidable jiu-jitsu specialist in his own right. “The timing of the fight is good and the opponent is great,” said Kurzhev. “I watched his fights even though I wasn’t very familiar with jiu-jitsu. I was told that he is the best in Europe, so I will treat my preparation seriously.”
“I think the main task for me as a a sambo wrestler in this situation is to almost retrain myself in certain areas and make adjustments to jiu-jitsu style,” added Kurzhev, who will no doubt be looking to apply the lessons he learned from taking on Kade.
Catch both of these submission grappling showdowns on Friday, February 24, starting at 8 PM EST on ONE Fight Night 7, streaming from Amazon Prime.