Rika “Tinydoll” Ishige may have only competed in ONE Championship over the past year, but the atomweight combatant has already made a tremendous impact.
The 28-year-old Thai has displayed her personality, charisma, and, most importantly, her versatile skill set inside the ONE cage to great success. In fact, she has become one of the most popular female martial artists in the world today.
Now, after a whirlwind 2017, she looks to forge ahead, and make this year even greater. On Saturday, 24 March, she meets the Philippines’ Angelie Sabanal at ONE: IRON WILL, which emanates from the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
Before she takes to the cage, we take a look back at her winning performances.
An Unforgettable Debut
Ishige’s breakout moment took place in March 2017, when she made her professional debut at ONE: WARRIOR KINGDOM in front of her countrymen. She was going up against Malaysia’s Audreylaura “Ice Comet” Boniface, and though both atomweights were fresh faces in the promotion, they certainly entertained the crowd.
Boniface came out aggressively at the opening bell, landing a number of heavy right hands that wiped the smile right off the face of “Tinydoll.” The strikes led to a takedown, which found Boniface in top position. It did not last for long, however, as Ishige used her unsuspecting power to sweep, and transition to top position.
From there, it was all Ishige, as she attempted submission after submission. While fishing for different holds, she secured the full mount, and found a home for her punches and elbows. When it became apparent the Malaysian could not longer defend herself, the referee stopped the contest at the 4:32 mark of the first round.
“Tinydoll” had her first win, making her debut a momentous event.
Showing Off Her Submission Prowess
Ishige had an encore performance just two months later at ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES in Singapore, where she met Indonesian wushu and sanda champion Nita Dea.
Merely seconds following the opening bell, Dea landed a slew of right hands, which momentarily dazed the Thai starlet. Even though she was on the back foot, Ishige quickly secured the clinch. The match hit the ground, and the Indonesian scrambled to top position.
Dea connected with a few hammerfists, and grabbed onto a headlock, which she held for too long. That allowed Ishige to slide out, and take her rival’s back. “Tinydoll” started off hunting for a rear-naked choke, but soon transitioned into an armbar.
The Indonesian fought out of the armbar twice, and returned to the top position and her headlock. But again, Ishige slide out, secured the back, and locked in the rear-naked choke. This time, Dea could not escape, and the tap was forced halfway into the opening stanza.
Taking Out “The Rebel”
“Tinydoll” was looking to get back on track after suffering her first career loss to Filipino rising star Jomary Torres.
Ishige returned to her Bangkok stomping grounds last December with a little more muscle on her atomweight frame, and she met the Philippines’ Rome “The Rebel” Trinidad at ONE: WARRIORS OF THE WORLD.
The first round was full of great back and forth stand-up action between the two, as the hometown hero mixed up her strikes and landed hard low kicks, while Trinidad backed the Thai up with straight rights.
While the second stanza continued to see the duo exchange strikes, Ishige initiated the takedown, and started to frustrate “The Rebel” with her ground game.
Trinidad weathered the storm, and managed to escape and bring the action back to the feet. But after “Tinydoll” rocked her adversary with a left hook, she used grappling to once again take the back and clinch the match-ending rear-naked choke against the cage.
In doing so, Ishige showed her improved cardio, as well as the mental strength to move forward after suffering defeat.
Bangkok | 24 March | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onewill18