SINGAPORE - Mixed martial arts (MMA) exponent Tiffany Teo has earned herself a shot at the vacant One Championship women's strawweight title, after beating India's Puja Tomar in One's Immortal Pursuit on Friday night (Nov 24).
Singaporean Teo, 27, submitted Tomar by triangle armbar in about four minutes in the first round to enhance her professional record to seven wins and no losses.
In her ringside interview after the win, Teo said: "I want a shot at the strawweight world title; it's currently vacant and I have been saying this for some time.
"I hope to get a shot next year."
One chairman Chatri Sityodtong told The Straits Times earlier in the week that Teo would get a title shot if she beat Tomar on Friday.
He said then: "She is a very well-rounded martial artist and she has that X-factor - the real killer instinct, that hunger and that desire to win."
Teo will be the first Singaporean to get a title bout in the Asia-focused One Championship; atomweight world champion Angela Lee is an American citizen but fights under the Singapore flag for One, as her father Ken was born in Singapore.
Teo, a psychology graduate, was a self-professed "nerd" in her younger days, but picked up muay thai after finishing her junior college studies. She had planned to do her masters and her doctorate after receiving her bachelor's degree, but decided to become a professional MMA fighter instead.
Details for Teo's next bout have not been confirmed, although ST understands that One has already lined up an opponent for her.
Meanwhile, atomweight champion Lee made a tearful appearance at the Indoor Stadium on Friday night. Carrying her championship belt and wearing a cap, she wiped away tears as she walked down the aisle that fighters take to get to the ring, but she did not address the crowd.
Lee had been due to fight Japan's Mei Yamaguchi on Friday night but was forced to withdraw following a car accident several weeks ago.
In the co-main event, Singapore's MMA exponent Amir Khan beat Australian Adrian Pang in an unanimous decision in a lightweight bout.
Pang, 40, was more defensive from the get-go, with Amir, 23, looking for openings to land his shots. The difference in their ages showed - Pang was less agile, and could not capitalise on his advantage after he slammed the more nifty Amir onto the canvas in the second round.
Amir managed to remain patient as the clock wound down, and was declared the winner by unanimous decision as time ran out. He said: "It feels pretty good, I thank Adrian for the fight; he may be old, but he has the heart of a young lion."
In the other co-main event, One Championship welterweight world champion Ben Askren won the last fight of his professional career, beating Japan's Shinya Aoki in 57 seconds in a title bout.
Aoki, 34, initiated his own downfall soon after the opening bell when he hooked his legs around Askren's waist for a takedown. The 33-year-old Askren slammed his opponent onto the canvas instead and started pounding him before the referee put an end to the fight.