Despite being late replacement, Jenelyn Olsim prepared for Ritu Phogat’s wrestling

Published October 26, 2021, 3:53 PM

by Manila Bulletin Sports

Photo from ONE Championship

Jenelyn Olsim might be an alternate in the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix semifinals, but she’s planning to go all the way. 

Olsim takes on Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat in the upcoming ONE: NEXTGEN set for this Friday, October 29, in Singapore, and the Filipina is out to prove that she means business come fight night. 

“I believe wrestling is her biggest asset, but I think I can handle her wrestling,” Olsim said. 

“I want to prove that I am not some alternate in this match. When it comes to wrestling, I think I can also grapple with her.” 

The 24-year-old got a slot in the Grand Prix after Itsuki “Android 18” Hirata withdrew because of a non-COVID  related fever this week. 

Olsim didn’t just get lucky, though. She earned the spot after scoring a big win over Bi “Killer Bee” Nguyen in her debut in the atomweight division. 

She was supposed to face Grace “Thai Kitten” Cleveland in an alternate bout at ONE: EMPOWER, but the Thai-American also pulled out leading up to that bout. The good thing for Olsim was that her preparation for Cleveland, who’s also a grappler, primed her for this clash against Phogat. 

“My previous fight (against Cleveland), which was cancelled, was against a wrestler and a grappler too, so I’m very confident with that training,” she said. 

“I’m prepared for that kind of game. We trained at the gym not just on one aspect, but on everything.” 

If there’s one thing that she has over Phogat, it’s her striking, as she’s confident that she’s better than the Indian on the feet. 

She’s not sleeping on Phogat, however, especially after seeing how “The Indian Tigress” survived Meng Bo, but the Baguio City star is much more comfortable keeping this fight standing. 

“I don’t underestimate Ritu on the feet, but I know I can outstrike her when it comes to that,” Olsim said. 

“Her biggest strength is wrestling, so I’m not gonna allow her to pin me down.” 

And when given the chance, she plans to become the first ever fighter to finish the seemingly invincible Phogat when they meet this Friday. 

“I believe in the saying ‘not to leave it to the hands of the judges.’ I will give everything I have, I will do everything to finish the game – it’s either a submission or knockout.” 

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