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Itsuki Hirata plans to counter Ham Seo Hee’s striking with grappling

Itsuki Hirata plans to put her wrestling skills to work when she squares off with No. 2 ranked atomweight contender Ham Seo Hee at ONE 163.

Going into the biggest fight of her mixed martial arts career against a more tenured and developed striker, ‘Android 18’ will attempt to move things to the ground where she has been dominant for much of her combat sports career. Discussing the bout in an interview with MMA Sucka, Hirata said:

“My opponent is a striker so I will put much more focus on wrestling training. That’s the key point.”

Winner of five of her six bouts inside the Circle, Hirata has routinely shown proficiency on the ground. She’s earned three straight finishes upon entering the promotion. Recognizing the holes in her striking game, ‘Android 18’ has traveled to the United States on multiple occasions, honing her stand-up skills at the famous Serra-Longo gym in New York.

While Itsuki Hirata is proud of her progress on her feet, standing toe-to-toe with a striker who holds 25 career victories could be an intimidating task. Instead, Hirata plans to intelligently focus on her wrestling to neutralize Ham Seo Hee’s striking. Whether or not she can muscle ‘Hamzzang’ to the ground is the real question.

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Itsuki Hirata credits her time training in the U.S. with her win at ONE on Prime Video 1

After suffering the first loss of her MMA career against Jihin ‘Shadow Cat’ Radzuan at the promotion’s 10th-anniversary showcase ONE X, Itsuki Hirata knew she had to do something different if she was going to compete in the incredibly stacked atomweight division. Venturing out of the familiar confines of Japan, ‘Android 18’ traveled to the United States to sharpen her skills. That time away from home paid off.

Hirata returned at ONE on Prime Video 1 in August, delivering a top-notch performance against Chinese standout Lin Heqin. Hirata earned a unanimous decision victory and, as a result, will get a big jump in competition when she faces Ham Seo Hee on November 19th. In regards to her training, she stated:

“I train with a lot of tough fighters in the USA and just do my best. When I train in Japan, I limit myself. But I saw the many limitless fighters here, I drive myself and be limitless too. Looking back on my last fight, I think I was able to beat her by training hard in the United States.”

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