Ritu Phogat maintained her perfect record in her fledgling MMA career, beating Jomary Torres of the Philippines by technical knockout at the One Championship: Big Bang promotion on Friday. Phogat moves to 4-0 while Torres dropped to 4-5 following the contest that was stopped by the referee 3 minutes and 55 seconds into the first round of their fight in Singapore.
The win was her third stoppage in four contests - only her second fight against Chiao Chen Wu has gone the distance. Going into the atomweight (52.2kg) fight -- at least on paper -- Phogat was up against the toughest challenge of her career. Torres, although two years younger than the 26-year-old Indian, had eight fights under her belt compared to the three Phogat had fought ever since she switched from freestyle wrestling to the sport of MMA in February last year.
Phogat was also fighting on short notice, just over a month since her bout on October 30. The limited break might have been forced on her. Phogat would have probably wanted to space out her bouts, but those plans were likely cut short owing to the coronavirus pandemic that forced the cancellation of multiple ONE Championship events.
In an effort to negate Phogat's wrestling skills, Torres tried to maintain distance with an early kick. The Indian though responded with a sharp right hand and then took the Filipino fighter down one minute into the contest. While Torres tried to get onto her feet, Phogat worked her way into the half guard position. Much like in her career debut against Nam Hee Kim, Phogat secured complete control by forcing a crucifix position against Torres. The end came shortly afterwards with Torres in no position to defend the Indian's ground and pound attack and the referee halting the contest with 1 minute left in the first round.
It was a near flawless performance by the Indian, who announced as much following the bout. "I feel amazing," she said. The victory would be doubly satisfying for Phogat who had opted to skip the wedding of her sister Sangeeta last month, in order to be able to compete. Phogat would now hope her performance would boost her profile especially in light of ONE Championship's announcement that the women's atomweight (52.2 kg) belt would be up for grabs following reigning titleholder Angela Lee's announcement of her pregnancy. The belt will now be decided by way of an eight-person Grand Prix and Phogat would hope she could get a look in on the basis of her perfect run so far.