Danielle Kelly has just had her next ONE Championship matchup announced and the BJJ star will be facing off against Russian Sambo champion Mariia Molchanova. This marks yet another BJJ v Sambo matchup in the ONE Championship cage, continuing a theme that the promotion has been developing lately. It all started with Rodrigo Marello taking on Ruslan Bagdasarian at ONE 161, where Marello stunned the crowd by locking up the fastest submission in ONE Championship submission grappling history. He managed to submit the Sambo specialist in just fifteen seconds, pulling guard and attacking the Caio Terra ankle lock immediately.
The following day, Mikey Musumeci became the inaugural ONE Championship Flyweight submission grappling world champion and he issued a challenge to Sambo world champion in his weightclass for his next fight, although that has yet to come to fruition. Kade Ruotolo was already a step ahead of him though, as he was matched up against Sambo world champion Uali Khurzev for his Lightweight title fight. It took him slightly longer, but Ruotolo managed the exact same feat in the end. He heelhooked Khurzev after a little over four minutes of their match and became the promotion’s first champion in the division.
Now the Sambo v BJJ rivalry will be taking place in the women’s Atomweight division as well. Mariia Molchanova is a highly accomplished and well-respected Sambo specialist who will present Danielle Kelly with a tough challenge, but she’s overcome plenty of them already in her BJJ career. She registered a draw against Mei Yamaguchi in her first match in the ONE Championship cage, but the promotion has since changed the rules to decide a winner even if the match does reach the end of the time-limit so that’s not going to happen again.
Danielle Kelly announced the news that she would be competing against Russian Sambo champion Mariia Molchanova in a recent post to her official Instagram account: