On 13 October, the DEEP Jewels Featherweight World Champion will take her place alongside a collection of her compatriots and World Champions to compete at the biggest martial arts event in history.
The Japanese athlete will face China’s Jenny “Lady GoGo” Huang in a women’s atomweight showdown at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.
“It is amazing because I knew that a lot of Japanese fighters want to fight on that event, and I was assuming that I might not have the chance to fight this time because there are so many good fighters from Japan,” Yamaguchi explains.
“There are also so many superstars on that card, but when I heard that my fight was on that event, I was so excited. I’m happy I can fight in front of the Japanese fans again.”
The bout with Huang is a rematch of their June 2017 meeting at ONE: LIGHT OF A NATION.
On that night, Yamaguchi put on a dominant performance as she finished the Taiwan native with a second-round rear-naked choke, and the veteran competitor is still proud of her work on that night.
“My strategy was to take her down, take her back and choke her out,” she says.
“I was able to do what I needed to do in that cage. That was a good performance.”
Now, more than two years later, they will clash again in a match that has more obvious appeal for Huang as a chance to avenge the defeat.
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However, “V.V.” was happy to accept the challenge and go for her fourth win in a row as she attempts to secure another shot at a World Title.
“I was okay with this choice,” she says. “I think ONE Championship is telling me that I need to win this and I have to show the impact of how strong I am. That’s the mission for me this time.”
Because they have faced each other before, Yamaguchi recognizes that her opponent will know what to expect if she tries to take the action to the ground again.
That is why the 36-year-old has formulated a game plan to ensure she can surprise her rival.
“We fought once, and I know Jenny Huang knows my style, and she knows I’ve been working on my striking,” Yamaguchi adds. “I think she will not want to fight on the feet. I think she will try to take me down a lot – aggressively.
“I want to try my striking before she tries to take me down. That’s the biggest thing I need to adjust.”
Shortly before “V.V.” is set to face Huang, the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title will be on the line at ONE: CENTURY PART I as her former opponent “Unstoppable” Angela Lee defends the belt against ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan.
Yamaguchi will watch with interest to see whether the Singaporean holds onto the gold or her Chinese rival captures her second World Title because she hopes to face the winner next, and she does not mind who it is.
“If I can fight Xiong Jing Nan, that would be very interesting because I’d have to think of all new strategies,” she says.
“But, if I’m fighting Angela Lee for the third time, I have all the information. I know what happened in the first and the last one. I know a lot of people want to see that. That would be interesting, too.”
Before she can get lost in thoughts of battling for the ONE Atomweight World Championship, “V.V.” understands that just a win will not be enough to become the number one contender.
She believes she has to beat Huang in style to make a statement and secure her shot.
“I need to finish her,” she says.
“This win can’t be a normal win. It has to be very aggressive. It has to have a [big] impact so I can say I’m the challenger for the World Title.”
- 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.