In a strange twist of fate Bi Nguyen has found herself training with someone very familiar with her opponent as she prepares for ONE: ‘Battleground’ Part III. The Vietnamese/American star has been at the same gym as Maira Mazar.

Nguyen is booked to face Jenelyn Olsim in a bout which is being broadcast next week. Maizar faced the same opponent in her most recent fight an they recently found themselves training together at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas,

“As of now, I am at Xtreme Couture, and I’m very happy with all the bodies. It’s great. It’s going well, and I really do think this is my prime, and I only think I’m getting better,” Nguyen explained.

The playbook

Mazar is one of the ‘bodies’ and Nguyen has been tapping into the Brazilian’s knowledge of Olsim,

“It’s like having the playbook. People can game plan and people can tell you what they’re going to do in these interviews but their tendencies, how they feel, and how they move is going to stay the same for a while. It’s hard to change those tendencies so having Maira tell me what it feels like, how she moves, and what her tendencies are is priceless.”

She is coming off a win over Ritu Phogat at ONE: ‘Dangal’ which has repeatedly been described as ‘controversial’. It was a close rather than controversial but Nguyen admits she was relieved to get the win,

“It was a lot of mixed emotions. But for me, honestly, in my career, I’ve had some weird things happen, some decisions not go my way. So I was just relieved, honestly, and excited, because I thought I won.”

Rightful winner

Nguyen’s reasons for believing she was the rightful winner are clear,

“ONE always favors damage. It was really close. It was basically her doing her game versus me doing my game, but my game just did way more damage. She was almost out in the third.”

This will be Olsim’s seventh fight. By contrast Nguyen has competed 12 times as a pro and six times as an amateur and thinks this experience will be a factor in her favour at the Singapore Indoor Stadium,

“I think her weakness is that she doesn’t have as much MMA experience as me. She’s such a strong striker that a lot of her fights haven’t gone to the ground at all. She has a really strong right hand.”

Heavy hands

Ten of Nguyen’s 12 fights have been the distance. Her fights tend to end up in the hands of the judges but the 31 year old believes she is capable of knocking Olsim out,

“Her strength is her heavy hands (but) I’ll be faster than her, I’ll strike smarter than her and if I clip her in the right place, she’ll go down so it’ll be a fun exchange. It’ll definitely be strength versus speed.”

Nguyen admits that Olsim will have size on her side as well as power. But she does not feel the odds are stacked against her and  believes she has more ways to win than the Filipina,

“She’s coming down from strawweight (and) she’s massive for this weight class.  She’s big, she has heavy hands and heavy kicks. I’m just faster and have more ways to win.”

The win over Phogat was the biggest of Nguyen’s ONE Championship career. She will be looking to build on that by scoring back to back victories for the first time since 2017.