Debut on a Global Stage
One Championships Friday Fights 5 has largely flown under the radar, with the line-up for tomorrow’s event only finalised very recently. There is a compelling array of matches to look forward to, broadcast live on Abema.TV from the iconic Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok. Kicking off the evening’s action will be one MMA match in particular that could prove a vital moment for the future of the women’s Atomweight division.
Wrestling phenom turned MMA fighter Chihiro Sawada will lock horns with Sanaz Fayazmanesh, an Iranian powerhouse with Thai Boxing and BJJ experience. It will prove both a tough test and a perfect opportunity for the stand out Japanese Atomweight. Expect Sawada to announce herself to a global audience with nothing less than another sensational performance!
Undefeated in 4 outings, Sawada ran roughshod through Shooto’s Atomweight tournament. Crushing the opposition with her signature wrestling heavy game, the 25 year old blended effortless, textbook takedowns, punishing ground and pound and opportunistic submissions to lay claim to the inaugural Shooto Atomweight title. Going from strength to strength, the dynamic wrestler has appeared unstoppable of late and it was only a matter of time before the global players in the industry came calling.
A Fighting Family
Fight fans may recognize the name Sawada, as well they should. Chihiro is following in the footsteps of her elder brother, ex-Shooto champion and One top contender Ryuto Sawada. Just short of 18 years old “Dragon Boy” sported an almost identical record over 4 fights before tasting the upper echelons of the division. Suffering a setback loss to future champion Ryohei “Ken Asuka” Kurosawa, Sawada would face his nemesis one more time, losing in his bid to become Shooto champion. Scouted for One Championships then developing 125lb division, “Dragon Boy” has racked up a respectful 5-3 record against some of the worlds very best.
Chihiro Sawada, it would appear has the tools and mentality to emulate her brother’s success and the potential to go even further. With the Shooto belt wrapped around her waist, can the decorated wrestler also claim the One Championship title that eluded her brother? One thing is for sure, the fiercely competitive warrior will have her sights set for the top from the get-go!
Not Just a Wrestler
Brimming with confidence and enthusiasm from her debut match, Sawada was a world class wrestler with raw talent and the right ingredients to become a champion. Hailing from AACC, a gym synonymous with women’s MMA, the wrestling prodigy joins the ranks of female fighters continuing the legacy carved out by trailblazing pioneer Megumi Fujii.
A product of the gyms highly successful youth wrestling program. Under the tutelage of renowned coach Hiroyuki “Abe Ani” Abe, Sawada wrestled in the junior, senior and cadet classes, compiling a stack of medals. After her her quest to represent Japan in the Olympics slipped through her fingers, Sawada transitioned to MMA. While the top prospect falls back on her formidable wrestling backbone it would be a big mistake to write the Shooto champion off as “just a wrestler”. A grueling work ethic, unbreakable spirit and natural athleticism, Sawada has rapidly honed her skills in all facets of MMA. Something she will be eager to show as she starts her ascent to the top at One Friday Fights 5!