Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol has dreamed of capturing the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship, and she could take a massive step toward those World Title ambitions in the coming days.
This exciting matchup is a battle between the top atomweights from both Indonesia and China – a battle that Lumban Gaol knows will be the most challenging test of her mixed martial arts career thus far.
“I know this is my strongest opponent to date, and it’s important for me to have faith in myself,” she says. “I am going to take a step forward and will be giving my best inside the Circle, and I’ll let God do the rest. I have done my part to prepare for this, so I am ready.”
Meng, who comes from a boxing and sanda background, is widely regarded as China’s top atomweight fighter for good reason.
The 24-year-old holds a 14-5 professional record, owns a 55 percent finishing rate, has won most of her fights in the first round, and has beaten the likes of MMA World Champion Zhang Weili.
Also, the Chinese star made a statement in her ONE debut last November, knocking out former ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title challenger Laura “La Gladiadora” Balin.
Lumban Gaol paid close attention to that battle, and she learned a few things about her upcoming opponent.
“Judging from her last fight, she is strong and tough,” she says of Meng. “She is tall and she is also the #2-ranked atomweight contender for a reason. But then again, she also comes with a weakness that I can capitalize on.”
Lumban Gaol would not reveal that weakness, but it’s clear she wants to play to her strengths and keep the bout upright.
The Indonesian, who owns the most atomweight victories in ONE Championship history, is a two-time Wushu World Championships Medalist who’s used her striking to great effect in mixed martial arts – especially against striking-based opponents.
That’s been evident in her current winning streak, as the 32-year-old Lumban Gaol recorded victories over Kun Khmer World Champion Nou Srey Pov and Myanmar National Boxing Champion Bozhena “Toto” Antoniyar.
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As she now prepares to face a sanda and boxing specialist in Meng, the Indonesian believes she has what it takes to score the hat trick in Singapore.
“I will focus on striking to take her down and will continue to exchange strikes in a stand-up position, since it is my desired area,” Lumban Gaol says.
“I won’t let her drag me down, but even if she manages to bring the fight to the canvas, I have prepared an escape plan. Besides, I have also trained hard on how to submit her on the ground. I will never waste that chance when I get the momentum.
“In every fight, my footwork and movement are never the same. The techniques deployed are also different, depending on my opponent.”
Lumban Gaol knows that taking out Meng, especially in impressive fashion, could earn her an invitation to the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix in 2021.
The winner of that prestigious tournament would get the silver ONE World Grand Prix belt and a direct shot at ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee – someone the Indonesian has dreamed about challenging for months.
“I’d be happy to earn that opportunity, and I’d love to have the opportunity to face Angela Lee. This World Grand Prix could pave the way and be a challenge for me. Hearing that gives me added motivation,” Lumban Gaol says.
“There are many newcomers in the atomweight division, and they have incredible skills. Definitely, everyone wants that belt and will work hard for it just like me, so I need to take this opportunity at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX II to prove my worth.”
It’s clear there is plenty at stake for Lumban Gaol this Friday.
She’d love to extend her atomweight wins record, earn a victory for Indonesia, enter ONE’s Athlete Rankings, and get an invite to the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix.
But that’s not all. This past August, Lumban Gaol married her longtime boyfriend and Siam Training Camp coach, Teguh Wartana, who is always in her corner during fight night.
At ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX II, it will be the first time the Jakarta native competes as a newlywed – an occasion she hopes to mark in highlight-reel fashion.
“I want a win as a gift for our wedding,” she says. “Hopefully, it brings a good luck charm. A win would be a wonderful gift for us. I want my first fight after marriage to end with a win.”