INDIAN MIXED MARTIAL ARTIST Ritu Phogat is back in the ONE Championship Atomweight Grand Prix.
The former star wrestler turned professional MMA fighter was originally supposed to feature in the tournament, but due to delays to the start of the grand prix caused by COVID-19 pandemic, took an interim fight against Bi Nguyen on 28th April to stay active. But in the first setback of her career, Ritu lost the bout by a close split decision.
However, she made a quick turnaround to regain her lost ground. On 30th July, she faced a Chinese opponent Lin Heqin in her comeback fight and won the bout by unanimous decision.
The victory improved her record to 5-1 and got her back into the long awaited grand prix, which for the first time will give her a clear shot at facing the reigning ONE Atomweight Champion Angela Lee in a fight for the world title.
Ritu will finally begin her journey to clinch the gold belt on 3rd September, in the all-female event called ONE: Empower. There, Ritu will face another Chinese opponent, Meng Bo, in the quarter final round of the ONE Women's Atomweight Grand Prix.
Meng Bo is a significantly more experienced MMA fighter than Ritu Phogat. She has a Muau Thai background and has amassed a pro MMA record of 17-5. She joined ONE Championship in 2019, and has fought thrice in the promotion. All three bouts have resulted in a win for her. At present, Meng Bo is riding a massive 7 fight win streak and 5 of them came via stoppage (4 KO/TKO and 1 submission).
There is a good chance that Meng Bo may prove to be the toughest opponent that Ritu Phogat has faced in her MMA career yet. But being one of the top eight Atomweights in ONE Championship and participating in a tournament that promises a shot at the championship, she is going to have to face the best contenders the division has to offer.
The ONE: Empower card will feature all four quarter final bouts of the Atomweight Grand Prix, along with two alternate bouts where the winner can step in during latter rounds if any of the regular tournament participants are are unable to compete.
Headlining the card will be a Women's Strawweight Championship match-up between Xiong Jing Nan and Michelle Nicolini.