This Sunday, 13 October, the Chinese athlete will rematch Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi in Tokyo, Japan and try to even the score against a fellow former challenger for women’s atomweight gold.
It is a prospect that would excite the 28-year-old under any circumstance, but the fact that it will take place at the biggest martial arts event in history has her even more fired up.
“I feel very excited. There will be a lot of good fighters there. I am looking forward to it,” she says.
“I am really looking forward to fighting with Mei again, and I am really grateful to ONE for giving me this opportunity. I can’t wait for the fight.”
The last time these two athletes met at ONE: LIGHT OF A NATION in June 2017, fans were treated to an entertaining, back-and-forth striking battle in the first round, but the complexion changed after the restart.
In the second stanza, Yamaguchi hit a double-leg takedown inside a minute, and dominated from there until she secured a decisive rear-naked choke.
“The last time around, I focused too much on standing. I did not follow the strategy,” Huang admits.
“Mei is an all-round opponent – karate, jiu-jitsu, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts. I have to focus on an all-around fighting style – standing, wrestling, and Newaza (ground) skills.”
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Since their first meeting in Yangon, Myanmar, “Lady GoGo” has relocated to Pattaya, Thailand, where she has access to some of the best trainers in all of martial arts.
Huang is a judo black belt, so she has put a lot of focus on her striking, but she feels she has improved in all facets of the sport, so if she is put in a similar position to the last time, she can survive, and turn the tables.
“I have been training in Fairtex. They have good Thai boxing and mixed martial arts teams, so I feel that I have made progress on many levels.”
However, she also recognizes that her rival has made great strides in the gym. “V.V.” has worked hard with striking coaches to bring her stand-up game up to par with the rest of her skills.
The DEEP Jewels Featherweight World Champion is also more experienced than Huang, and she is enjoying a three-bout winning streak – the longest of her ONE career so far – so the Chinese Taipei native knows she will have a tough test at ONE: CENTURY.
“Mei is a very smart opponent, her strategy will be planned very well,” she says.
“I think she has improved most greatly in her standing attack, but her takedown and throwing skills are the best.”
The 36-year-old will also compete in her hometown, and Huang expects that will be a benefit to her, but she also believes she can block out the cheers from the Tokyo fans, put her rival to the test, and steal her momentum to jump into the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title picture again.
“She has a huge advantage when she competes in Tokyo. It’s her home, and she will have a large amount of support from the audience,” she adds.
“I believe we both will be able to give a wonderful fight. In her country, she will have more confidence, but I believe that no matter where we fight, I will try my best to break her confidence.
“Mei is a good opponent, she has a lot of experience. She never surrenders, so it will be my honor to win over her. It will also bring my career to another level.”
Tokyo | CENTURY | ONE Championship’s 100th Live Event | Tickets: Purchase here
- Watch PART I in USA on 12 October at 8pm EST and PART II on 13 October at 4am EST
- Watch PART I in India on 13 October at 5:30am IST and PART II at 1:30pm IST
- Watch PART I in Indonesia on 13 October at 7am WIB and PART II at 3pm WIB
- Watch PART I in Singapore on 13 October at 8am SGT and PART II at 4pm SGT
- Watch PART I in the Philippines on 13 October at 8am PHT and PART II at 4pm PHT
- Watch PART I in Japan on 13 October at 9am JST and PART II at 5pm JST
ONE: CENTURY is the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history with 28 World Champions featured across various martial arts. No organization has ever promoted two full-scale World Championship events on the same day.
The Home Of Martial Arts will break new ground as it brings multiple World Title bouts, a trio of World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and several World Champion versus World Champion matches to the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 13 October.