Ekaterina Vandaryeva And Chihiro Sawada Sound Off After Pivotal Wins At ONE Fight Night 20

Ekaterina Vandaryeva Martyna Kierczynska ONE Fight Night 20 21

ONE Championship celebrated International Women’s Day 2024 with an epic all-female fight card at the legendary Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

ONE Fight Night 20: Todd vs. Phetjeeja on Prime Video took place in U.S. primetime on March 8 and featured 18 elite martial artists representing 13 countries – a true showcase of women warriors from around the globe.

Before the two headlining World Title contests got underway, Belarusian veteran Ekaterina “Barbie” Vandaryeva and Japanese prodigy Chihiro Sawada each picked up impressive victories in their respective bouts.

Afterward, both women spoke to the media about their performances.

Vandaryeva Unaffected By Kierczynska’s Hype

First, Vandaryeva abruptly halted the hype train of then-undefeated Polish phenom Martyna Kierczynska, scoring a hard-fought decision win in their strawweight Muay Thai clash.

For “Barbie,” the result marked her first victory in ONE after dropping narrow decisions to the division’s upper echelon.

Throughout the fast-paced, three-round tilt, the Belarusian displayed plenty of veteran savvy and top-flight fight IQ as she set traps for big counter-strikes and secured a second-round knockdown to seal the judges’ nod in her favor.

Following the battle, Vandaryeva spoke about the importance of beating one of the sport’s most promising rising stars:

“There was a lot of hype around Martyna before the fight, but at the same time, we can’t forget that this is martial arts. The hype doesn’t really matter.

“The fight matters because fights can go in a random direction. They can go in any direction, and sometimes when you have a fighter that’s not the strongest but has an awkward style, it can be hard to fight against.”

Beyond earning a pivotal win over a talented contender, Vandaryeva was elated to get her hand raised on the groundbreaking fight card.

She explained:

“In general, victory feels great, but to be able to get the victory on International Women’s Day feels amazing. I feel great. There are so many stereotypes, especially from males about female fighters.

“When it comes to men, they usually just train, but they don’t do anything else. When it comes to female fighters, we do so many things.”

Sawada Takes Big Step Toward World Title Shot

Former Shooto Champion Sawada shined in her highly anticipated U.S. primetime debut, employing a ferocious grappling and ground-and-pound attack to outpoint #5-ranked atomweight MMA contender Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan.

At just 26 years old and undefeated in her mixed martial arts career, the Japanese powerhouse is already making waves in the talent-laden division.

Still, Sawada was respectful after her win and quick to credit the Malaysian veteran for giving her such a big opportunity: 

“My victory means a lot to me. I think it’s because my opponent was Jihin herself. Jihin is a ranked athlete and has a lot of experience. She’s very good both in skills and physically.

“I very much from the bottom of my heart respect her. The fact that she went against me in my debut fight, I’m very grateful for that.” 

With her win over a top-five contender in Jihin, Sawada knows there will be no easy fights moving forward. 

But even though she showcased World Championship-caliber skills – particularly with her wrestling and relentless pacing – the AACC representative admits she’ll need more time under ONE’s bright lights before she can consider a crack at ONE Women’s Atomweight MMA World Champion Stamp Fairtex.

Sawada added:

Fom now on, I’m going to face nothing but strong opponents. I will keep an attitude as if I am an underdog so that I’m not overconfident. To challenge for the World Title, I think I need to gain more experience. I don’t think I can immediately challenge for the title yet, but I need to steadily improve.” 

Chihiro Sawada put the women's atomweight MMA division on notice in her hard-fought victory over Jihin Radzuan 👏👏👏

Chihiro Sawada put the women's atomweight MMA division on notice in her hard-fought victory over Jihin Radzuan 👏👏👏Watch the full ONE Fight Night 20 event replay in 🇺🇸🇨🇦 on�Prime 👉 amazon.com/ofn20 or around the 🌍 on Watch.ONEFC.com (geo-restrictions may apply).

Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, March 8, 2024

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