5 Things To Know About Sambo Star Mariia Molchanova Before She Fights Danielle Kelly

Mariia Molchanova

Mariia Molchanova is one of the latest additions to ONE Championship’s ever-growing submission grappling roster, and she can’t wait to announce herself to the promotion’s passionate fan base on Friday, November 18.

The Russian sambo star will debut against Danielle Kelly at ONE on Prime Video 4: Abbasov vs. Lee, where she’ll look to prove that her grappling style can overcome the American sensation’s BJJ skills.

Here are five things you need to know about Molchanova before she steps into the Circle at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

#1 She’s Achieved Greatness With The Same Coach Since Childhood

Molchanova was still a youngster when she took up sambo in her hometown of Krasnokamsk. She always liked to be active, but she began training in the Russian martial art without knowing much about it.

However, the physicality and intensity of the sport quickly captured her imagination, and she’s been doing it ever since.

Now 34, Molchanova has been with her coach, Rustam Mukhametshin, all those years on the road to success – and they’ve become a formidable team. 

#2 She’s A Decorated World Champion

Molchanova won the first of her eight Russian National Sambo Championships in 2010, and she’s been a dominant force on the world stage ever since that breakthrough.

In 2011, she earned the first of her four Sambo World Titles – claiming the others in 2013, 2017, and 2018 – and has medaled on another four occasions, adding to three European Sambo Titles. 

This incredible list of accolades earned Molchanova the revered Master of Sports honor for sambo in her home country. 

#3 She Loves To Prove That Women Are Tough

Through her success, Molchanova has been able to show that women can excel in martial arts, even when people doubt them.

In fact, the Russian’s own mother thought her daughter was too “fragile” until she took home a medal in her first-ever competition.

With the eyes of ONE’s global audience now on her, the sambo stylist is ready to prove it on the biggest martial arts platform of all.

#4 She Has Some Cool Hobbies

Outside of sambo, Molchanova’s favorite activities are also on the extreme end of the sports spectrum.

The 34-year-old loves to snowboard, and there are plenty of opportunities in her native Russia to hit the slopes and get her adrenaline pumping. 

However, not everything has to be intense. She’s also an avid painter and enjoys spending time with her cat.

#5 She’s Modeled For Major Magazines

Proving that not everyone has to be put into a single box, Molchanova has achieved massive success in the male-dominated combat sport of sambo, while also showing that she can embrace her feminine side.

The 5-foot-3 Russian has done plenty of modeling, including shoots for the famous Men’s Health magazine in her homeland.

November 18 | ONE on Prime Video 4: Abbasov vs. Lee | 8 p.m. ET | How To Watch

  • Fans in the U.S. and Canada can watch for free with an Amazon Prime subscription!

More in Features

Janet Todd throws a kick at Lara Fernandez at ONE 159
Superlek Kiatmoo9 wins the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Championship at ONE Fight Night 6
Superlek Kiatmoo9 wins the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Championship at ONE Fight Night 6
Rodtang Jitmuangnon vs. Jiduo Yibu at ONE Fight Night 6
Brazilian Muay Thai fighter Allycia Hellen Rodrigues defeats Stamp Fairtex to win ONE World Title gold
Regian Eersal clashes with Sinsamut Klinmee at ONE on Prime Video 3
Tammi Musumeci
Sinsamut Klinmee throws a kick on Regian Eersal at ONE on Prime Video 3
Tatsumitsu Wada stands in the Circle at ONE 158
Ryan Sheehan
Regian Eersal clashes with Sinsamut Klinmee at ONE on Prime Video 3
Petsukumvit Boi Bangna Petchmuangsri Tded99 ONE Friday Fights 8 40