Ayaka Miura sees certain advantages over Danielle Kelly ahead of ONE submission grappling match

Ayaka Miura breaks down her advantages over Danielle Kelly ahead of their submission grappling match at ONE Fight Night 7.

On Friday, February 24, at ONE Fight Night 7: Andrade vs. Lineker II, Japanese MMA fighter Ayaka “Zombie” Miura will take on Danielle Kelly in a 10-minute submission grappling match.

For Kelly, that contest will be a chance to extend her ONE unbeaten streak to three and build off of a quick submission win over Sambo world champion Mariia Molchanova in her last outing. 

For Miura, the match will be her first appearance in ONE’s submission grappling division and an opportunity to knock off one of the promotion’s fastest-rising stars.

The Japanese mixed martial artist recently spoke to the media about her upcoming showdown with Kelly.

According to Miura, the American grappler has skills in all areas. And while that makes Kelly a constant threat to finish the match, it also means that she doesn’t have one unique, unbeatable technique:

“Danielle Kelly is a great fighter, and is an all-rounder in this submission grappling match. Still, at the same time, Danielle Kelly doesn’t have any special techniques because all her skill is at a high level, but that means she doesn’t have a specialty. I think my physical strength and the judo skills I use in MMA are better than Danielle’s, and I can show it in this grappling match.”

Miura would be wise to lean on her judo and physicality. A judo black belt, “Zombie” has proven to be an excellent takedown and submission artist across her 17 professional MMA fights.

And while Kelly might not be a specialist in any one particular area of grappling, Miura surely is. 

Of her 11 career MMA wins, seven have come via submission, and of those seven, she earned all but one by way of scarf-hold Americana, including all four of her ONE victories.

Knowing that Kelly will certainly be prepared to defend this specific technique, Miura says she’s been rounding out her game to offer other submission attacks:

“I will see if I can finish Danielle Kelly. Danielle Kelly will watch out for my lock – the one that everyone saw in the past fights. But you know, I’m training other techniques and other finishing techniques, or maybe I will showcase another side of Ayaka. I just want everyone to enjoy this fight. That’s it.”

Ayaka Miura Remains Focused On MMA

While Miura is looking forward to the opportunity to test the waters of submission grappling, she is ultimately still focused on MMA.

After winning four of five to open her ONE Championship tenure, “Zombie” now finds herself on a two-fight losing skid, which includes an unsuccessful bid for the ONE strawweight world title.

Miura says that her grappling match against Kelly could kickstart her path to redemption in MMA. But the real value of competing in submission grappling, she says, is the improvement to her grappling, which she can then use when she returns to MMA:

“But the meaning of this grappling match for me is because of this fight camp. I am able to focus on my ground game. This is a huge improvement for me in MMA as well. So, for now, I really want to enjoy this grappling match. I just want to take it as something positive.”

How to watch: ONE Fight Night 7: Lineker vs. Andrade II takes place on Friday, February 24 and will air live on Prime Video beginning at 8:00 PM ET (free with Amazon Prime subscription).

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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