Jenelyn Olsim burst onto the ONE Championship scene with a hunger to prove herself worthy of a spot on the main roster. Now, she plans to send a message that she means business.
The Team Lakay standout will look to make it two wins in a row when she takes on Bi “Killer Bee” Nguyen in a crucial atomweight tussle at ONE: BATTLEGROUND III, which airs from the Singapore Indoor Stadium this Friday, 27 August.
Olsim – who is currently the #5-ranked women’s strawweight contender – is fresh off an impressive third-round submission win over Maira Mazar this past March, but she is dropping down a weight class in order to test herself once more.
“This will be huge, considering that this is the start of my journey in the atomweight [division],” the Filipina says of the matchup with Nguyen.
“Even though she’s not in the rankings, that’s okay, mainly because I know she’s a tough customer and a win over her would announce my arrival in the division.”
While earning a place on ONE’s first all-women’s martial arts card – and a potential route to the World Grand Prix – is motivating enough, the Filipina upstart isn’t looking past “Killer Bee” for good reason.
In her last fight, Nguyen scored a hard-earned split decision over Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat. She is brimming with confidence that she can beat Olsim wherever the match goes, even in the striking department, where many feel the Filipina has the edge.
Olsim is impressed with Nguyen’s self-belief, but she has just as much faith in her own abilities.
“I love Bi Nguyen’s fighting spirit and confidence. I really admire that,” the 24-year-old states.
“But I believe in our game plan. If she believes she can frustrate me on the feet, then let’s make it happen. Why not, right? If she’s confident with her skills on the feet, then for sure I am confident too, and we can keep it there.
“I think if [the match] stays on the feet, then I’m very confident in my chances. I come from a striking background, I competed in Muay Thai for the national team, so if she wants to strike with me, then by all means, I welcome her.”
While it is clear that Olsim wouldn’t say no to an all-striking battle, she appears to have other plans for this match.
The former national Muay Thai athlete has been enjoying her time on the ground as of late, and she’s been focusing on that aspect of her game since joining Team Lakay.
With that in mind, it will not be a surprise if she decides to take the fight to the mat.
“I got so much confidence from that match when it comes to grappling,” Olsim says of the victory over Mazar. “Before that match, you wouldn’t normally see me going for takedowns. But the moment we hit the ground, I realized I’m comfortable in it.”
“[I found out] that I can hang with some of the best grapplers. It also made my mentality tougher, particularly when the going gets tough,” she adds.
That newfound confidence on the mat just might be the key for Olsim against Nguyen, as she and her camp believe the Vietnamese-American tends to fade against stronger opponents when the fight turns into a grappling battle.
“One of her weaknesses is that she tends to get overpowered, especially when the match hits the ground. That’s why I believe we’re also at an advantage when we hit the ground. I wouldn’t want to be complacent, because this is MMA, anything can happen. One thing I can promise is I will be at my best,” Olsim says.
“I expect Bi to be confident cause she’s coming off a win. But I’m coming off a win myself, and I’m confident with my skills. I expect this to be a grind. Let’s see who blinks first.”
Ultimately, the Filipina phenom is hoping to further showcase the fruits of her labor and earn a win on the canvas — by any means.
“I want to finish this match on the ground, whether it be submission or TKO via ground-and-pound because that feels good,” she adds.