MMA: I'm ready for title tilt, says Tiffany Teo

The One Championship women's strawweight bout between Tiffany Teo (left) and India's Puja Tomar last night lasted barely five minutes when Teo found her opening and locked Tomar in an armbar submission for the win.
The One Championship women's strawweight bout between Tiffany Teo (left) and India's Puja Tomar last night lasted barely five minutes when Teo found her opening and locked Tomar in an armbar submission for the win.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Singapore fighter Teo earns shot at vacant strawweight belt following win

On a high after winning her One Championship women's straw-weight bout against India's Puja Tomar at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last night, local hope Tiffany Teo declared herself ready to hit the summit by fighting for the vacant women's title in that division.

"I am ready for anyone. I am ready to take on the challenge," the 27-year-old said after her win in the 52.3-56.7kg class at One Championship's Immortal Pursuit event.

One's chairman Chatri Sityodtong had told The Straits Times earlier this week that Teo would get a title shot if she beat Tomar and the Team Highlight Reel athlete duly obliged, stretching her professional record to seven wins and no losses.

In front of an estimated crowd of 10,000, the fight started tentatively as both fighters danced around the ring to suss each other out.

Teo said: "I thought she was going to rush in, but she was quite composed and I was quite surprised she took her time, so in the first two minutes, we were just trying to feel each other out."

With just under a minute left in the first five-minute round, Teo found her opening and locked Tomar in an armbar submission for the win.

"I grapple a lot, so when I transition into certain positions, I have certain go-to submission moves, and that was one of them," said Teo, whose last two fights went to a decision. "For this fight, I was hoping to end it in the first round, or second round at the most, and I did it."

It was a night to remember for Singapore's mixed martial arts exponents as May Ooi won her catchweight bout against Cambodia's Vy Srey Khouch via a rear-naked chokehold about four minutes into the first round. Former swimmer Ooi, who usually fights in the strawweight division, has four wins and two losses.

Another Singaporean Amir Khan, 23, beat 40-year-old Australian Adrian Pang in a unanimous decision in a lightweight bout.

The last fight of the night saw One welterweight world champion Ben Askren beat Japan's Shinya Aoki in 57 seconds in the championship bout, also the last fight of his professional career.

The 34-year-old Japanese initiated his own downfall soon after the opening bell when he hooked his legs around the American's waist for a takedown. Askren, 33, slammed his opponent onto the canvas instead and started pounding him before the referee put an end to the fight.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2017, with the headline ''I'm ready for title tilt''. Print Edition | Subscribe