As ONE Championship continues to grow its roster of world-class ground fighters, a pair of intriguing women's submission grappling matches are set for this weekend's doubleheader of events.
First on Friday at ONE on Prime Video 4, elite Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Danielle Kelly will take on four-time sambo world champion Mariia Molchanova in another installment of the budding rivalry between jiu-jitsu and sambo.
Then on Saturday morning at ONE 163, ADCC world champion Bianca Basilio will make her much-anticipated ONE Championship debut against Japanese-Brazilian black belt Milena Sakumoto.
Let's take a closer look at the ins and outs of each matchup.
Danielle Kelly vs. Mariia Molchanova at ONE on Prime Video 4
After Rodrigo Marello made quick work of Ruslan Bagdasarian at ONE 161, and Kade Ruotolo submitted Uali Kurzhev at ONE on Prime Video 3, Kelly aims to once again show the superiority of BJJ over sambo.
A black belt under Karel Pravec, the Philadelphia-bred grappler is a master technician with an entertaining, submission-hunting style.
And while she has high-level skills in all areas, Kelly tends to do her best work when attacking her opponent's legs; she holds wins by way of heel hook, kneebar, and straight ankle lock.
That leg-locking ability will clash with Molchanova's sambo skills.
With an emphasis on takedowns and fast submissions, the Russian martial art develops fighters – like Molchanova – who are incredibly well-conditioned and ultra-aggressive in their submission attacks.
It will be that relentless aggression and pacing that clashes with the nuanced and complex ground tactics and techniques of Kelly.
Look for the jiu-jitsu star to sit down early as she tries to pull Molchanova into her dangerous guard, with the ultimate goal of securing a leg lock or taking the back.
Molchanova, on the other hand, will undoubtedly try to impose her physicality and jump on any submission – particularly the armbar – that presents itself.
Bianca Basilio vs. Milena Sakumoto at ONE 163
A black belt since 2016, Basilio is one of the top pound-for-pound jiu-jitsu players on the planet.
Known for her scrappy, fierce approach to competition, the Brazilian is a superb takedown artist with some of the best guard passing of any woman in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
She complements that world-renowned top game with a variety of bone-snapping leg locks, and she's most feared for her vicious straight ankle locks and toeholds.
Sakumoto is still relatively new to the black belt ranks but was one of Asia's most promising young grapplers through her teenage years. The 21-year-old from Japan now faces the stiffest test of her young career.
Although she often starts matches by pulling guard, Sakumoto shines when in top position, where she can work her methodical, precise passing game, with the end goal of taking her opponent's back.
Coming into this contest as an underdog, Sakumoto can afford to go for broke.
Watch for her to pounce on any small opportunity as she tries to score an upset over one of grappling's finest.
This story first published at ONEFC.com.