After the disappointment of losing via decision to Singapore’s Tiffany Teo last November at ONE: HEART OF THE LION, Brazil’s Michelle Nicolini made a vow. The eight-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion promised herself she would only return to the ONE Championship Circle once she had fixed the flaws in her game that she felt were hindering her development as a mixed martial artist.
“I went back to the gym from that contest with the mentality that I would only compete again if I had something different to show. I feel now I’m ready. We have worked on the issues that cost me the win in my last bout, “Nicolini said.
While there were never any doubts about her ground game, Nicolini’s ability to blend her grappling with her striking has been considered her Achilles’ heel. If she has ironed out these issues, then there could be no telling how far her talents could take her.
For her comeback bout, Nicolini could not have been given a more illustrious opponent than the one she will face on 12 July. The 37-year-old is set to square off against ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela “Unstoppable” Lee in a strawweight contest which will serve as the co-main event of ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY.
“I am super excited. Since my last outing have been training since my last bout, and I feel I have made improvements, and now I want to try out these improvements, “Nicolini said.
The matchup is a meeting between two of the best female grapplers on the planet. Both women are Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts who are well known for their ability to dominate their opponents once the bout hits the ground.
It will be the first time under the ONE banner that either athlete has faced a grappler of a similar pedigree. The two have even spent time together training when both of them were based in Singapore at Evolve MMA.
However, Nicolini may have an advantage when it comes to the grappling exchanges in that she is used to competing as a strawweight while this will only be Lee’s second outing in the division. This has led Nicolini and her team to predict that as good as Lee is off her feet for this bout she will want to keep the action standing.
“I believe she will try to avoid the ground game and I’m prepared for that,” Nicolini said.
The São Paulo native is at a point in her life where all the stars are aligning both inside and outside the ONE Circle, and she is ready for whatever the future brings.
“I want to compete in this bout and one more bout before the end of the year. Everything is going really smooth and flowing well both in my personal and professional life. It makes me happy and motivates me to keep doing what I love most, mix martial arts! “
After an eight-month layoff, there will be a lot of curiosity to see what developments Nicolini has made to her game and more importantly if these developments will be good enough for her to stop the ‘‘’Unstoppable” Lee.