Danielle Kelly has become one of the faces of submission grappling over the past year. Her exciting performances in ONE Championship have been a big reason why she has risen to stardom.
She will take that stardom against Jessa Khan for the inaugural ONE atomweight submission grappling championship on Friday, Sep. 29, at ONE Fight Night 14.
“There’s a lot of reactions. First things first, I feel really grateful and honored that I had the opportunity to be one of the first women’s grappling matches and going for the title,” Kelly said.
But it is not all sunshine and rainbows for the Philadelphia native.
After winning multiple bouts in ONE before getting the shot at the gold, Kelly has some resentment for Khan’s immediate title shot. However, she is remaining focused and believes her prior work inside the Circle will give her an advantage over her rival.
“So I really like to stay humble. I have experience for sure, but you know I don’t wanna be like, I have this advantage that I can do this and that. But I think partially, maybe a small percentage of this match I think is going to play a part of me being experienced in the cage,” Khan said.
In their lone prior meeting, Khan took a decision victory. But it is not a match that Kelly spends much time reflecting on ahead of their rematch in Singapore.
With her camp coming to a close, Kelly pulls no punches with her confidence for the title tilt.
“I haven’t really watched that match. My coaches have. We’re really studying her. Even her gi matches,” Kelly said.
“I feel like I know her game really well. My exchanges, my defense, my offense are gonna be way ahead of her as whatever she gives me. I’m gonna give her something back. I train with really tough people, really tough girls, who have had a past with her. So I don’t really need to name names, but I have an idea of what she’s gonna throw at me and I’ll be ready. I think she’s kind of the same as last time, so we’ll see.”
And Kelly is not coming into “The Lion City” to eek out a decision. She has aspirations to close the show with a history-making submission.
“I really want a twister because I know she got twistered before, so I’d really like to do that for the first grappling [title] match, to pull off a twister on her. Or take her back and choke her out. One of the two,” Kelly said.
ONE Fight Night 14 airs live on Prime Video on Friday, Sep. 29. The action begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and is free for all Amazon Prime members based in the U.S. and Canada.
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