It’s been a magical year for former two-sport queen Stamp Fairtex, who went from a heartbreaking first defeat in mixed martial arts to ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix Champion.
The Thai sensation’s resurgence and subsequent winning streak have earned her the award for ONE’s 2021 Female MMA Fighter of the Year.
Fans have enjoyed watching the former ONE Atomweight Kickboxing and Muay Thai World Champion evolve in every contest, and that evolution has taken Stamp from a striker to an all-around fighter with elite skills in every range.
It looked like the Fairtex product was set to edge out a decision victory, but in the waning moments of the fight, the Ukrainian grappler jumped on a guillotine choke.
While trying to escape, the Thai seemingly tapped her opponent’s shoulder, which referee Olivier Coste viewed as a submission and a reason to stop the contest.
The bout’s controversial ending resulted in Stamp’s first loss in MMA competition.
However, the Pattaya resident got her redemption when she was booked against her rival in the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix quarterfinal round.
The rematch went down at ONE: EMPOWER on Friday, 3 September – and this time, there wasn’t any controversy.
It was a similar story to the first encounter. Rassohyna’s submission threat was always evident, but Stamp kept her cool until the end.
She defended the Ukrainian’s attacks, scored with her stand-up arsenal, and utilized ground-and-pound to claim a split-decision victory.
Stamp was then scheduled to face Ham Seo Hee in the Grand Prix semifinals at ONE: NEXTGEN on 29 October. But when an injury forced the South Korean veteran to withdraw from the field, Brazilian upstart Julie Mezabarba stepped into the fray as an alternate.
The bout saw the Muay Thai specialist facing off against a fellow striker, so Stamp used hard kicks to dictate the proceedings on the feet. That said, the Brazilian’s right hand did find a home at times, which kept the opening round interesting.
However, a dominant performance on the ground saw the 23-year-old pull ahead in the second frame. Mezabarba failed to regain composure in the final stanza, which earned Stamp the unanimous decision victory and a spot in the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship Final.
Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat booked her place in the tournament finale just before Stamp completed the lineup, and many expected the Indian wrestling sensation to be the Pattaya resident’s greatest challenge.
The ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship Final took place at ONE: WINTER WARRIORS on 3 December.
From the opening bell, Phogat tried to assert control by taking the action to the canvas, but she was quickly disheartened when Stamp didn’t comply and sprawled on the first two takedown attempts.
When “The Indian Tigress” did manage to drag things to the ground, Stamp quickly worked her way back to the feet, taking any threat out of her rival’s game plan.
Full of confidence in round two, Stamp landed with powerful strikes. But the Evolve representative continued with her wrestling-heavy strategy and eventually secured a single-leg takedown.
Then, in a shock to the world, Stamp locked up a triangle, showing Phogat that the ground wouldn’t be a respite for her.
Finally, she switched to an armbar, which caused the Indian Wrestling Champion to tap out, securing the win – and the tournament’s silver belt – for the Thai superstar.
With the victory, Stamp became the first athlete in history to claim belts in three sports on the global stage, and her next test is to complete the trio of World Titles against ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee in 2022.