MMA: S'pore's Tiffany Teo fighting for a shot at One Championship world title

SINGAPORE – Three weeks before her One Championship flyweight bout against Maira Mazar last November, Tiffany Teo received news that she would not be able to compete because of a slight tear in her retina.

While she did not feel any physical discomfort, the Singaporean fighter could not get medical clearance from the doctors, who recommended corrective surgery.

The 29-year-old said: “I was really bummed out because I had done the full preparation for the fight.

“I still wanted to fight but the doctor didn’t give clearance, but that is something that they have to do to make sure that athletes are healthy and safe.”

It was a frustrating time for Teo, but the gritty fighter went under the knife in November and trained through her recovery by taking precautions to avoid impact to her eyes.

Teo is now fully recovered and looking to make up for lost time. She will face Japan’s Ayaka Miura in the strawweight bout at One Championship’s King of the Jungle event, which will be held behind closed doors on Friday (Feb 28) due to the coronavirus outbreak.

There is much at stake for both fighters, as the winner of the contest will get a shot at the women’s strawweight world title next against China’s Xiong Jingnan.

Teo, who suffered her first-ever loss to Xiong in the strawweight title clash in Jakarta in January 2018, is ready for revenge.

“It has always been my goal to get a title shot and I’m really excited to know that after two years, I have this shot if I win this fight so I’m definitely going to give my 100 per cent going into this fight,” she said.

Despite it being nearly 1½years away from the ring, her coach Major Overall is confident of his charge’s ability. He said: “Preparations have been super smooth; mentally she’s there, physically she’s in great shape, weight management has been good, the strategy has been dialled in, it’s looking very positive and optimistic.”

Teo, who made a stunning comeback after her loss to Xiong by beating eight-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion Michelle Nicolini by unanimous decision in 2018, knows that overcoming Miura will not be easy.

The Japanese is on a six-bout wining streak, with her past three fights ending in a trademark scarf-hold Americana submission.

Teo, who has a fight record of eight wins and one loss, said: “It will be a really exciting bout. She’s a specialist in judo and she always has a certain takedown and I foresee her doing the same thing.

“Many people think I’ll just keep it standing but in fact I’ve been working a lot on my wrestling, judo and grappling.”

Thai fighter Stamp Fairtex headlines Friday’s show and will be defending her One atomweight kickboxing world title against Janet Todd. The co-main event will see One strawweight kickboxing world champion Sam-A Gaiyanghadao take on Australian Rocky Ogden for the inaugural One strawweight muay thai world championship.

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