‘Confident I Can Get A Finish’ – New And Improved Itsuki Hirata Vows To Rebound Against Victoria Souza

Itsuki Hirata Ayaka Miura ONE 165 11

Itsuki “Android 18” Hirata is determined to right the ship and return to her winning ways in U.S. primetime this Friday, June 7, at ONE 167: Tawanchai vs. Nattawut II on Prime Video.

That night, the Japanese fan favorite will square off with Brazilian brawler Victoria “Vick” Souza in a pivotal atomweight MMA clash that offers her a chance to remind fans of her championship-caliber talent.

After posting a 5-1 record across her first six MMA bouts in the organization, the 24-year-old now finds herself in unfamiliar territory, riding a two-fight losing skid against a pair of former ONE World Title challengers.

Following those defeats, “Android 18” switched things up by relocating back from the United States to Japan, where she now trains under coach Kenji Osawa at Wajutsu Keishukai HEARTS.

The change of scenery has reinvigorated Hirata, who promises to showcase a new, more aggressive approach against Souza.

She spoke to onefc.com about her make-or-break matchup at the sold-out Impact Arena in Bangkok:

“I want to show my strengths and the determination to win no matter what. Instead of waiting, I’ll attack first. If I can win that way, I don’t have to fight a full 15 minutes.

“The sooner it ends, the better. I’ll go on the offensive from the start so I don’t have to fight for 15 minutes.”

Indeed, in her recent losses to Ayaka Miura and Ham Seo Hee, Hirata was uncharacteristically tentative and hesitant to pull the trigger.

If that timidity was due to a lack of confidence, she seems to have worked past those issues.

The Japanese star says that whether the fight takes place on the feet or the ground, she’ll have the advantage over “Vick”:

“Since I’m a bit bigger, my reach will be different, and if I can strike smartly, I think I’ll have opportunities in the stand-up.

“And in grappling, if I take her down, I think I can ground-and-pound from the top, so I’ll fight without losing focus for even a second.”

A supremely talented judoka with dangerous submission skills, Hirata knows that Souza is a skilled grappler in her own right.

But with her newfound confidence, “Android 18” plans to snap her losing streak and beat the Brazilian at her own game:

“I’m confident I can get a finish, and I want to get a finish. I want to beat a strong grappler with grappling.

“I’ll mix it up without overly sticking to one thing. But if I can get a submission, make her tap out, that would feel great.”

Hirata Details Key Lessons From Her Losing Streak

Back-to-back losses have been a tough pill for Itsuki Hirata to swallow, but those defeats have also inspired her current mindset.

Hirata says that her ultra-competitive nature used to get the better of her, as she’d try to win – rather than learn from – every single round in training.

“Android 18” explained:

“Before, I didn’t even want to get hit. I didn’t want to lose or fail in training. But after losing, I realized that training is a place to fail.

“I fail a lot. I get beaten by female fighters and amateur fighters too. Before, I was being stubborn, but I changed my mindset, and it became easier.”

Hirata credits much of the shift in her mindset to her training sessions with coach Osawa.

Now, instead of being hyper-focused on success, she’s able to accept that losses might happen, leading to a more relaxed and open mind.

And ultimately, she believes that attitude adjustment makes her a more dangerous fighter:

“Thanks to Coach Osawa, instead of just being tense, I can relax and do it. My thinking is completely different from when I was thinking about winning alone, like, ‘It’s okay to lose, just do what I can do.”

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