Former two-sport queen Stamp Fairtex may have a new opponent in the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix semifinals, but that hasn’t changed her approach to training.
If anything, it’s caused her to work even harder.
The Thai megastar was originally scheduled to meet tournament favorite Ham Seo Hee in the semifinal round at ONE: NEXTGEN on 29 October, but the South Korean veteran withdrew from the contest earlier this week due to injury.
As a result, Stamp will face Grand Prix alternate Julie Mezabarba, and she knows the Brazilian standout is a dangerous contender who has the ability to eliminate anyone from the biggest women’s mixed martial arts tournament in history.
“I’m expecting a very tough fight. I’m not taking her lightly at all,” the Fairtex representative says.
“After studying her style, looking at her strengths and weaknesses, I think this fight is going to be tactical, and I won’t be surprised if it goes the distance.”
Stamp caught a firsthand glimpse of Mezabarba’s skill set at the promotion’s all-female card, ONE: EMPOWER, on 3 September.
The Brazilian kicked off that event by soundly defeating former two-time ONE World Title challenger Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi in a ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix alternate bout.
Mezabarba kept the action upright throughout the fight, defended the Japanese star’s takedown attempts, and picked her apart with punches, elbows, and clinch knees to earn the unanimous decision.
It was a dominant performance that impressed Stamp, who is eager to test her talents against the Rio de Janeiro native.
“She’s an orthodox fighter and has good strong punches. She’s also quite fast. We have a lot of the same qualities. I think she’s a good fighter, and I’m excited to face her in the Circle,” the Thai says.
“She beat Mei Yamaguchi for a reason, and she’s dangerous. But I also think that’s partly because of her size advantage. She’s big for the division, but she definitely has good skills. If I were to gauge her, she’s an above-average fighter.”
That said, the Fairtex representative believes she holds a massive advantage in the stand-up department – and for good reason.
She’s a former ONE Atomweight Kickboxing and Muay Thai World Champion who’s hunting for three-sport glory, and she doesn’t think Mezabarba – or anyone else in the Grand Prix – can outstrike her.
“I think my kicks are much better and much more powerful. I know how to use distance to my advantage, and I have more experience in striking,” Stamp says.
“She has good boxing, but I am a better fighter. I don’t think anyone can match me in striking. At the same time, I just can’t underestimate her.”
Along with her own bout, the Thai megastar is eager to witness the other Grand Prix semifinal between wrestling sensation Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat and Japanese judoka Itsuki “Android 18” Hirata.
After all, the winner of her own clash with Mezabarba will face the winner of Phogat vs. Hirata in the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship Final.
With that in mind, Stamp will be paying close attention to the action.
“That fight is very interesting because you have two girls who are pretty well-rounded, but who are also both looking to take matters to the ground,” the Fairtex athlete says.
“I think Ritu needs the fight to come into close range, and she’s going to want to land a takedown early and get into top position, where she’s dominant.
“If Itsuki can keep her at distance, she has a good chance of being able to pick her apart from the outside. Although if it does go to the ground, Itsuki is dangerous there as well.
“It’s going to be a close fight, and it’s hard to pick a winner, but I’m going with Itsuki on this one.”
Later this month, fans will find out if Stamp’s prediction comes true.
But for now, the Thai isn’t looking any further into the future. She is getting ready for Mezabarba, her “very tough fight,” on 29 October.