Itsuki Hirata is known as a submission specialist but she was comprehensively outgrappled by Jihin Radzuan at ONE: ‘X’ recently. The Japanese star appears to have taken drastic action in order to improve her ground game.

She is currently in San Diego training at 10th Planet. Hirata plans to spend two weeks at Eddie Bravo’s facility:

First loss

The loss to Radzuan was the first of Hirata’s career. In previous fights she had been able to use her judo to take opponents down and, more often than not, submit them.

But the Malaysian proved to be superior on the ground. Even Hirata was surprised when the judges declared Radzuan had won by split decision, admitting she felt she had lost every round.

Hirata normally trains at Krazy Bee in Japan and Shinya Aoki has also helped her sharpen up her grappling game. But she obviously feels a trip to the US will help her take her game to the next level.

State of flux

The atomweight division is in a state of flux because all the top fighters, apart from Radzuan, upcoming challenger Seo Hee Ham and reigning champion Angela Lee, are coming off losses. There could only be one winner in the Grand Prix and Stamp Fairtex was eventually beaten in a title fight.

Hirata is no longer ranked. She lost her spot in the top five after losing to Radzuan but there are plenty of potential opponents out there for her.

Denice Zamboanga is coming off back to back losses but remains at #3 in the rankings. Ritu Phogat has dropped out of the top five completely despite reaching the final of the atomweight Grand Prix.

Meanwhile Stamp remains at #1 despite having lost to Lee in her most recent fight. Later this month Alyse Anderson, who Hirata eliminated from the Grand Prix, will be taking on Asha Roka at ONE 157.

Plenty of potential

Hirata is only 22 and still has plenty of potential to improve. She will be doing just that, training at one of the most renowned no gi grappling facilities in the world.

She only got two fights in last year after pulling out of her Grand Prix semi final with Ritu Phogat at the last minute. Hirata fell sick just days before the fight.

The Japanese atomweight will be hoping to compete more regularly this year. With so many fighters in the division and so much hype around the champion there should be plenty of fights for Hirata.

When she does return the 22 year old will be looking to show off some of the new tricks she will be learning at 10th Planet.