Next week’s ONE: ‘A New Tomorrow’ card consists mainly of Muay Thai bouts. But an intriguing MMA matchup will take place early in the evening when Ayaka Miura takes on Maira Mazar.

Miura has won two fights out of two for ONE Championship and comes into 2020 on the back of a five fight winning streak. The 29 year old is on the cusp of a title shot and another win would surely put her over the edge.

The Japanese strawweight is one of the best in the business when it comes to finishing opponents with arm or wrist locks. Both her previous wins for ONE Championship came by way of americana.

She holds a third degree black belt in judo and says this is where her love of martial arts began,

“I started judo in junior high school, what I love is the feeling of scoring a clean throw, an ippon, it’s beautiful.”

Ayaka miura throw

Chance encounter

Miura got into MMA after a chance encounter with Ryo Chonan and some of his Tribe Tokyo fighters at her place of work,

“I decided to get into mixed martial arts when I was working at a bone-setting clinic where Chonan-san and some of the Tribe Tokyo MMA athletes came for treatment. I was intrigued and wanted to go to their gym.”

She would go on to establish herself as one of the top strawweights on the Pancrase roster before signing with ONE Championship. Her record currently stands at 9-2-0-1 and she is clearly a leading contender to challenge champion Xiong Jing Nan in 2020.

First up comes a tough test in Bangkok next Friday. Miura has been matched with a Brazilian for the second fight in succession and is wary of Mazar’s stand up skills,

“I imagine she’ll come straight in with long jabs and crosses more than kicks. I have to be ready so I don’t get hit (and) I’ve been working with (Ryo) Chonan on improving my movement. I’ve been doing drills in anticipation of her attacks,” she said.

Ayaka Miura submission

Important fight

Miura’s judo gives her the ability to get opponents to the ground and she is a proven finisher. The 29 year old has six submission wins on her record, although one of them was changed to a no contest by Pancrase because she missed weight by 0.1kgs.

She is very up front about where her strengths and weaknesses lie and has been working hard on the latter,

“My strength is good thanks to heavy weightlifting but my movement is bad so I’ve been working on angles and reflexes to improve my quickness,” she said.

The Brazilian came to ONE Championship’s attention after being selected at the Evolve MMA tryouts last year. She has a 2016 loss to Weili Zhang on her record but Mazar is otherwise an unknown quantity to Asian fans.

But Miura has been studying her intently and will have a point to prove in Bangkok,

“I want to show the fans how I deal with her striking and how I can pull her into my game. This is a very important fight for me (because) I want everyone to see how I’ve evolved. I’m not just a grappler!”