After three wins in ONE Championship via her signature move, Ayaka Miura is targeting a shot at the ONE Strawweight World Title.
It was another dominant performance from the 29-year-old, who says she has become more and more comfortable on the global stage after she traveled to Manila and Singapore last year to compete outside Japan for the first time.
That helped her to stay composed when she encountered far more resistance than she had experienced in The Home Of Martial Arts so far – including a hard right hand that shook her in the opening moments.
“In the first round I thought [Mazar] would come with more flurries, but I could see she was looking for counters,” she says.
“For some reason, I thought I shouldn’t grapple at first, but I was a bit nervous at the start and I tackled her from too far out. I took a blow and went down, but regarding that, I feel I recovered calmly.”
Mazar also survived a couple of tight submission attempts in the first round, but the second stanza was all Miura.
Once she made a couple of adjustments to her attack, there was no escape for the Brazilian athlete, who got trapped under the Tribe Tokyo MMA representative and was soon forced to tap to her trademark technique.
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“Once we tied up I felt confident, and in the second round, I was glad to get the finish,” she says.
“When I threw her in the first round, I felt good to go, but I got too confident and went for the arm triangle. My hips weren’t low enough so I couldn’t finish it. In the second round, I got the kesa gatame (scarf hold) and it felt secure, so I went for it and got the finish.”
Despite her confidence and composure in the ring, and that the result was “just as she expected, ” as usual, Miura could not hide her emotions when she had her hand raised.
“[Maira Mazar] is a really strong opponent and I was prepared for that,” she adds.
“I wasn’t very nervous during the match, but the moment it was over I felt relief and cried with the emotions.”
Of course, Miura was delighted with the victory, and is now back in Japan and looking forward to a quick turnaround and a win against a top contender that would set her up for a match with ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion, “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan.
The Chinese athlete may be undefeated in the weight class in ONE, but Miura believes she would suffer a similar fate as her previous opponents.
“Whether it’s Jing Nan or anyone else, I think it’ll go the same way,” she says.
“She’s a great, well-prepared athlete. I thought, ‘Ah, it really is the strong people who accept their losses’ when she lost to Angela Lee. She respects her opponents and I really think she’s a strong person and athlete.
“She really is a striking specialist and she’s been training at Evolve recently, so of course I think her ground game is getting stronger. She’s a strong all-rounder from every angle.
“[My preparation] would be the same as this time, but also watching her striking and training to get away from it, and being aware of the distance. Jing Nan is tall and has good reach, so [I’ll need to be] conscious of the distance and move non-stop.”
Read more: 5 Lessons We Learned At ONE: A NEW TOMORROW