‘I Can’t Have A Boring Match In Japan’ – Itsuki Hirata Vows To Provide Excitement For Home Fans At ONE 165

Ham Seo Hee Itsuki Hirata ONE Fight Night 8 16

Atomweight MMA star Itsuki “Android 18” Hirata is determined to entertain her compatriots when she returns to Tokyo, Japan on Sunday, January 28. 

Hirata will duke it out with Ayaka “Zombie” Miura in an all-Japanese clash at ONE 165: Superlek vs. Takeru, and after not competing in her native country for almost three years, the 24-year-old wants to deliver an impressive performance inside the Ariake Arena. 

“Android 18” will have plenty of fans during this homecoming battle – something she doesn’t take for granted. For that reason, she’s both excited and motivated to step into the ring and show off her skills. 

Hirata told onefc.com

“Every match is important so I will do my best, but especially because it will be held in Japan. Everyone will come to support me, so I want to win and have a party with everyone.  

“I didn’t expect to fight [Miura], but we have to make this Japan event an exciting one. Since we were offered to do this job, we both have to do our best to make our match exciting.” 

Miura is a former ONE Women’s Strawweight MMA World Title challenger who is dropping down for new opportunities, and she would be a big scalp for any opponent in the atomweight MMA division. 

However, Hirata wouldn’t be satisfied to earn a grinding decision victory in a forgettable bout.  

Instead, the former judoka is adamant that she will bring the fire with all her tools and put the Tokyo fans on the edge of their seats from the first bell:

“We both have a background in judo, and if we do the match just in a judo style, it would become the most boring match. I can’t have a boring match in Japan. [Miura] will come to get me in the same style as always, but I want to consider the audience first.  

“I will do real MMA. Doing real MMA has been always my theme, so this will be like an experiment. I’ve been practicing my all-around game, both standing and ground techniques, so that I can use them in the fight.” 

Itsuki Hirata Thinks Ayaka Miura Is A One-Trick Pony 

Both Itsuki Hirata and Ayaka Miura built their MMA games from judo foundations, but the latter has become a submission specialist who usually utilizes a specific route to victory.

Throughout her MMA career, Miura has finished eight opponents with her patented “Ayaka Lock” – a scarf-hold Americana – after throwing them to the canvas. 

With that in mind, Hirata thinks her 33-year-old foe will stick to her usual game plan, but that doesn’t mean she will base her own strategy around defending the submission.

“Android 18” explained: 

“Miura has been doing it for 10 years, so I don’t think it’s possible for her to try other things in this match. That’s the only thing she has.  

“I watched her other matches, and that’s the only thing you see from her. But if she makes me take measures against it, it will lead me to lose. That’s the match flow she’s expecting, so I will be careful about that.” 

For Hirata, this matchup is about imposing her will and finally showing the best of her abilities under the bright lights.  

She is very inspired to deliver an impressive performance in this high-stakes battle in front of her compatriots. Now, it’s all about producing the type of victory she is capable of rather than worrying about her opponent’s strengths. 

The Japanese sensation added:

“This is about if I can make it or not, fighting with myself. I want to see how well I can compose myself during this match. I practice for 100 percent, but in the real match, sometimes I can only perform at 50 percent of that. There have not been many matches where I could perform with 100 percent of my potential.” 

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