That evening, the experienced Chinese striker will face a dominant grappler in Hirata when they throw down in an atomweight contest on the lead card of ONE on Prime Video 1: Moraes vs. Johnson II.
Their matchup will present a difficult challenge, but “MMA Sister” believes she is ready for any kind of opponent – and she looks forward to the test.
“I think every athlete in the ONE Championship has their own professional skills, so I will take every fight seriously. Hirata has a totally different style to me, but I think it will be an excellent match.”
Though she comes from a sanda background – also known as Chinese kickboxing – Lin has competed in professional MMA for the last seven years while working hard to improve her ground skills.
On the other side, Hirata is a former judoka who’s been trying to develop her stand-up game since entering mixed martial arts.
But while both competitors are hoping to become more well-rounded, they are stronger in different areas. And with that in mind, “MMA Sister” hopes to take advantage of the biggest perceived flaws in her opponent’s game and score her eighth career knockout.
Lin told ONE Championship:
“I think Hirata is good at grappling. She is regarded as one of the best grapplers of all the female athletes, but her striking is her weakness, as well as distance control.
“Her jiu-jitsu skills deserve the most praise, but I will let everyone know that I am the most dangerous opponent during the fight.”
Lin Heqin: ‘I Have Worked As Hard As Anyone’
Former top-five atomweight contender Itsuki Hirata suffered her only career MMA defeat at the hands of Jihin Radzuan in March, and Lin Heqin took note of that result.
After studying the fight in detail, the Chinese athlete thinks she can hand the Japanese star another defeat while winning her second straight contest in ONE Championship.
“I saw her weakness in that match. It was her first defeat, but I will show her by my actions that it will not be the last one.”
Hirata has gone to great lengths to improve since that setback. Above all, she traveled to hone her craft in the USA alongside some legendary coaches like Matt Serra, Ray Longo, and Muay Thai maestro Nestor Marte.
However, Lin isn’t fazed by any of that.
Knowing that she’s dedicated herself to training camp and cut no corners along the way, the woman with a 15-3-1 pro record expects to deliver another strong performance on August 26.
The Haosheng MMA representative added:
“I know [Hirata] has worked hard for this fight, and she continues to work on her jiu-jitsu skills, but I am not idle. I have worked as hard as anyone, so I am confident for the fight.”