Julie Mezabarba has a kickboxing black belt. The Brazilian believes she is much better suited to MMA than her upcoming opponent Stamp Fairtex who comes from a Muay Thai background,

“I think her Muay Thai style is not good for MMA. For traditional Muay Thai, she is awesome. For MMA, she is too slow,” she said.

Mezabarba, who faces Stamp on Friday’s ONE: ‘NextGen’ card, thinks her kickboxing background will give her an edge,

“Being quicker is one of my advantages, and I train a lot of kickboxing, so my footwork is way better.”

Best test

Having only fought once for ONE Championship the Brazilian is relatively unknown in Asia. By contrast Stamp is a big name but Mezabarba says reputations count for nothing inside the cage,

“It makes no difference. It just motivates me to show people they are wrong,” she said.

She beat Mei Yamaguchi in the alternate bout, a fighter who came extremely close to winning the ONE Championship atomweight title. Mezabarba thinks it was the perfect way to introduce herself to fight fans in Asia,

“I’m in this sport to fight the best. Mei was the best test for me. It was tough, but I was very well trained, and I got great feedback with the victory. It was perfect,” she said.

Toe to toe

She faces Stamp in the semi final of the atomweight Grand Prix and sees it as a clash between her kickboxing and the Thai fighter’s Muay Thai,

“We’re both strikers, so the fight will be toe to toe, for sure. I think the fight will not be decided by decision. It will definitely be an aggressive and bloody fight,” he said.

She feels Stamp is ONE Championship’s ‘golden girl’ and is excited to be taking on an opponent with an established reputation. Having entered the tournament as an alternate, replacing the injured Seo Hee Ham, Mezabarba thinks she has a lot to prove.

Dark horse

The Brazilian knows the best way to establish her credentials would be with an emphatic win over the #3 ranked atomweight. Mezabarba would love nothing more than to become the first fighter to ever knock out Stamp,

“I can’t wait to beat Stamp. If she is the golden girl, my victory will be bigger. I want to knock her out, but a victory is a victory.”

Mezabarba comes into the penultimate stage of the tournament as the dark horse. Her win over Yamaguchi barely caused a ripple but beating Stamp and booking a spot in the final would firmly establish the Brazilian as a force to be reckoned with in the atomweight division.