MANILA, Philippines—Jenelyn Olsim’s loss to wrestling savant Ritu Phogat in the ONE Atomweight Grand Prix exposed the cracks in her still-developing armor, but the Team Lakay prodigy is one who would rather look at the silver lining.
The 24-year-old student-athlete took the loss in stride, saying her defeat taught her that she still has to get better as a mixed martial artist if she wants to get to the superstar territory in the promotion.
“I feel great. I am very happy to be part of this historic moment. This is a life-changing bout for me because it shows that I have reached this far, and I have performed at my best even though I lost. It shows that I need to train more and gain more experience,” said Olsim in the post-fight interview Friday.
Olsim wasn’t even supposed to be in the Grand Prix but was inserted as a replacement in four days’ notice after Itsuki Hirata pulled out of the NextGen card due to non-COVID sickness.
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) November 1, 2021
“I am proud of my performance. It was like four days of notice. My opponent changed so some of our game plan changed, but I was very excited because this is the Grand Prix. I thought it’s a big opportunity for me so why not accept it even though I have to change an opponent.”
Olsim (5-2) was carrying two straight wins, and three victories from the last four bouts, into Singapore Indoor Stadium but Phogat was an all too different fighter.
Phogat (6-1), part of the famed Phogat sisters of India, was quick to take the fight to the ground easily negating Olsim’s stand-up game and it was on the mat that the Team Evolve dictated the outcome.
Olsim tried to submit Phogat with a triangle choke then an omoplata but the latter’s mastery of the ground proved too much for the University of Baguio student.
“Her wrestling was really good and she was really strong. Watching her fights I didn’t think that she was that strong. She’s a very experienced wrestler. I believe that I really need to gain more experience and I can be better than this,” said Phogat. “There’s no doubt that Ritu is strong and experienced.”
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