MMA: Singapore duo Khan, Teo inch closer to big fight

Singapore MMA fighter Tiffany Teo during Tuesday's training session at Juggernaut Fight Club's new gym on Syed Alwi Road. She will be looking to extend her perfect 5-0 career record when she takes on American Rebecca Heintzman- Rozewski tomorrow at O
Singapore MMA fighter Tiffany Teo during Tuesday's training session at Juggernaut Fight Club's new gym on Syed Alwi Road. She will be looking to extend her perfect 5-0 career record when she takes on American Rebecca Heintzman- Rozewski tomorrow at One Championship's Dynasty of Heroes event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

S'poreans Khan and Teo seek to extend win streak, on course for One C'ship title shot

At least one homegrown Singaporean mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter is not too far away from a One Championship title shot now.

Both Amir Khan and Tiffany Teo enter tomorrow's Dynasty of Heroes show at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on the undercard for two main title fights.

Khan will look to claim his fourth consecutive victory when he takes on Rajinder Singh Meena of India in a lightweight contest. Teo will put her perfect 5-0 career record on the line as she goes up against American Rebecca Heintzman-Rozewski in their strawweight bout.

While the local fighters are focused on stretching their winning streaks, clinching the MMA promotion's top prize - a title shot - is a goal that is within their sights.

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Evolve MMA gym's Khan, 22, said: "Initially, when I first came in (to MMA), I wasn't confident that I could be a world champion.

"I knew then that I had what it takes to become a champion one day, yet I also knew that would take a couple of years. But right now, I feel that I've got the skills and the attributes to become a world champion. Maybe it'll take one or two fights more but I believe I'm one step closer."

Likewise, Teo hopes to take bigger strides. The 27-year-old has won both her bouts since making her One Championship debut last November.

ALMOST THERE

I feel that I've got the skills and the attributes to become a world champion. Maybe it'll take one or two fights more but I believe I'm one step closer.

AMIR KHAN, on how ready he is to be challenging for a One Championship title.

Teo said: "I want a shot at the belt. I feel that it's within my reach now and I'm eyeing the belt.

"There are a lot of female contenders like Michelle Nicolini who are going to fight for the vacant title. Hopefully by early next year and one or two more fights later, I'll be able to get a shot at that title."

A One Championship representative said: "Amir is inching closer and closer to earning himself a title shot, while for Tiffany, she continues to impress everyone.

"If they continue to win, they will put themselves in a better position to get a title shot in the future."

To prepare for tomorrow's bout, Teo spent five weeks at a training camp in Bali last month. In March, she left her job as a therapist for children with special needs, and she is currently training full time.

Teo split with Juggernaut Fight Club owner and coach Arvind Lalwani in March, but she has continued to train under American Luke Adams at the gym.

Teo added that she has beefed up her wrestling and defensive skills, which will come in handy tomorrow against her opponent, who is a grappler.

She said: "It is the first time someone will be trying to take me down. All my opponents in past fights were strikers. She's comfortable on the ground, but she's not that comfortable fighting. I'm going to use my striking against her and I want to dominate her.

"I feel that I have improved with every fight. During my first fight, I was quite overwhelmed by my emotions inside the cage. There were some parts I rushed when I should have paced myself.

"Now, I feel more relaxed, confident, and I'm a more well-rounded fighter."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2017, with the headline 'Inching closer to the big fight'. Print Edition | Subscribe