‘She Won’t Back Down Easily’ – Smilla Sundell Expects ‘Toughest’ Battle To Date Against Allycia Hellen Rodrigues

Smilla Sundell Milana Bjelogrlic ONE Friday Fights 18 29

Smilla Sundell can’t wait to defend her gold against a fellow ONE World Champion at ONE Fight Night 14: Stamp vs. Ham on Prime Video.

Following Jackie Buntan’s withdrawal from the fight, the Swedish phenom now puts her ONE Women’s Strawweight Muay Thai World Title on the line against atomweight queen Allycia Hellen Rodrigues on Friday, September 29.

“The Hurricane” was in the midst of preparing for a rematch with Buntan at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, but she’s thrilled to get such a strong replacement in the first defense of the belt she won in April 2022.

The 18-year-old phenom said ahead of her fight that airs live in U.S. primetime:

“I was excited [when I heard about the replacement] because I know Allycia is a very strong fighter. I’ve got much respect for her coming up in weight to come and face me. She’s a nice girl too. I’ve seen her around before.”

After a lengthy layoff due to the birth of her first child in 2021, Rodrigues returned to the world’s largest martial arts organization in March of this year – and she looked better than ever.

The Brazilian star defeated Janet Todd to defend her ONE Women’s Atomweight Muay Thai World Title and never missed a beat despite two-and-a-half years out of the ring.

Sundell watched that victory and believes she’ll get an even more potent version of Rodrigues now that the latter will add some muscle to compete in the new weight class.

She said:

“I think she did very good [when she returned]. She looked very strong in that fight. I think she got better in that fight compared to her last fight. Overall, she looked more powerful and everything.

“So, I think she’s going to be even better now because she can bulk up and be strong.”

Smilla Sundell Expects Intense Battle With Allycia Hellen Rodrigues

Like Smilla Sundell, Allycia Hellen Rodrigues lives and trains in Thailand – the birthplace of Muay Thai.

Sundell sees the effect of that in her rival’s style, and she expects a hard-fought contest when their World Champion vs. World Champion clash gets underway on September 29.

However, she thinks her preparation and previous victory over Buntan have set her in good stead for the change of opponent.

Sundell said:

“I think she’s got that Thai style, overall. She’s got everything. She likes her elbows, and she’s like a Thai fighter. She’s fought so many times. She’s going to be one of my toughest opponents yet.

“She’s the same height as Jackie, so it will be close [to how I dealt with her]. I’ve got the height for sure. I’ve got the reach. So I hope to use that.”

That’s not to say Sundell is underestimating Rodrigues. She knows the Brazilian is a fearless competitor who will come at her with an intensity unlike many other potential opponents.

With both athletes keen to engage on the front foot, “The Hurricane” anticipates an exciting fight that could go all five World Championship rounds.

Sundell said:

“I think it’ll be a tough matchup because she also likes to go forward. I don’t feel like she wants to run away. She wants to be in there and really fight.

“I know she has a big heart and she won’t back down easily. So it might [go five rounds].”

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