Itsuki Hirata aims for impressive win at ONE 167: “I’m confident I can get a finish”

By BJPENN.COM Staff - June 5, 2024

Itsuki Hirata vows to do everything in her power to return to her winning ways.

Itsuki Hirata

“Android 18” squares off with Victoria Souza in a women’s atomweight MMA bout at ONE 167 on Prime Video. This U.S. primetime card emanates live from the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday, June 7.

The Japanese standout finds herself in uncharted waters after amassing a 5-1 record to begin her ONE Championship tenure.

Currently, Hirata is on a two-fight losing skid. During this stretch, she sustained setbacks at the hands of Ayaka Miura and Ham Seo Hee.

However, the 24-year-old isn’t one to be deterred by defeats. Instead, she’s using this juncture as a catalyst to remind fans and critics alike of her caliber as a competitor.

“I want to show my strengths and the determination to win no matter what. Instead of waiting, I’ll attack first. If I can win that way, I don’t have to fight a full 15 minutes,” she said.

“The sooner it ends, the better. I’ll go on the offensive from the start so I don’t have to fight for 15 minutes.”

Recognized for her impeccable judo pedigree, Hirata acknowledges the challenge that Souza poses.

A skilled grappler in her own right, Souza commands respect inside the Circle.

Yet, Hirata exudes confidence as she prepares to face her opponent head-on.

“I’m confident I can get a finish, and I want to get a finish. I want to beat a strong grappler with grappling,” she said.

“I’ll mix it up without overly sticking to one thing. But if I can get a submission, make her tap out, that would feel great.”

Itsuki Hirata plans to go all-out against Victoria Souza

Reflecting on her recent losses, Itsuki Hirata acknowledges moments of hesitancy and tentativeness, traits that are uncharacteristic of her usual aggressive style.

For the Wajutsu Keishukai HEARTS member, if anything was holding her back, it was a temporary lapse in confidence — an issue she’s resolved to overcome

“Since I’m a bit bigger, my reach will be different, and if I can strike smartly, I think I’ll have opportunities in the stand-up,” she said.

“And in grappling, if I take her down, I think I can ground-and-pound from the top, so I’ll fight without losing focus for even a second.”

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


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