If all goes to plan then Itsuki Hirata knows exactly what she will be doing this Sunday night. The Japanese atomweight wants to beat compatriot Ayaka Miura at ONE 165 and then have a party in Tokyo afterwards,

“Every match is important so I will do my best but especially because it will be held in Japan. Everyone will come to support me, so I want to win and have a party with everyone,” she told ONEFC.com.

Things haven’t always gone according to plan for Hirata since signing for ONE Championship in 2019. She has missed weight three times, with one of those fights famously being postponed as a result.

She also came in for a lot of criticism after failing to produce any action at all in her decision loss to Seo Hee Ham at ONE Fight Night 8. Hirata knows she must make weight this weekend, is desperate to win and wants to provide plenty of entertainment in the process.

“I didn’t expect to fight (Miura) but we have to make this Japan event an exciting one. Since we were offered to do this job, we both have to do our best to make our match exciting.”

Boring match

It sounds like Hirata is concerned that Miura will not play her part. She is concerned that her opponent will come out with a low risk strategy,

“We both have a background in judo and if we do the match just in a judo style, it would become the most boring match. I can’t have a boring match in Japan. She will come to get me in the same style as always, but I want to consider the audience first.”

Hirata cannot see Miura changing her style at this stage of her career. She is concerned that her opponent will try and make it a judo match,

“Miura has been doing it for ten years, so I don’t think it’s possible for her to try other things in this match. That’s the only thing she has.”

Full potential

Hirata has always been known for her grappling. But she knows that this isn’t the most entertaining style and promises to experiment with some new techniques on Monday,

“I will do real MMA. Doing real MMA has been always my theme, so this will be like an experiment. I’ve been practicing my all-around game, both standing and ground techniques, so that I can use them in the fight.”

She is a veteran of eight ONE Championship fights and has won six of them. It is an impressive record but the 24 year old is adamant that the best is yet to come,

“This is about if I can make it or not, fighting with myself. I want to see how well I can compose myself during this match. I practice for 100 percent, but in the real match, sometimes I can only perform at 50 percent of that. There have not been many matches where I could perform with 100 percent of my potential.”