(James Goyder is the owner/editor of AsianMMA.com)
The fight between Seo Hee Ham and Itsuki Hirata has been in the works for some time with the original bout postponed after the Japanese fighter missed weight. They finally got to face off at ONE Fight Night 8 with the Korean veteran claiming a comfortable decision win.
Ham is rated by many as the best atomweight in the world after winning titles with both Road FC and Rizin before signing with ONE Championship. She was looking to make it three wins in a row for the promotion at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Saturday morning (local time) and did so with relative ease.
It was clear from the outset that the Korean southpaw would look to find a home for the left hand but Hirata kept backing away in order to stay out of range. This brought a warning from the referee with the Japanese fighter showing no interest whatsoever in engaging in a striking battle.
Hirata did shoot for several takedowns in the opening round but couldn’t complete any of them. At the start of the second stanza Ham did land a solid looking left and scored a flash knockdown.
Hirata was back on her feet immediately and promptly shot for a takedown. A scramble ensued but it was Ham in the superior position even if there was no significant striking or submission attempts.
At the start of the third round Hirata was issued a yellow card for refusing to engage in a striking match with Ham. She continued to shoot for takedowns and a lengthy scramble ensued with Hirata spending several minutes with her hands wrapped around her seated opponent’s legs.
Ham was able to land a few elbows and hammer fists from this position. Hirata did manage to secure side control with ten seconds remaining but there was no time for her to capitalize.
The judges were left with an easy job as all three awarded the decision to Ham who improves to 26-8 and must surely be next in line for a title shot. Hirata drops to 5-2 but might feel that she has enhanced her reputation by going the distance with such an experienced opponent.
Seo Hee Ham beats Itsuki Hirata at ONE Fight Night 8