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Lea Bivins, ONE Championship’s Next Big Star, Talks ONE 159 Debut

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ONE Championship may have found the next big thing in young MMA prospect Lea Bivins.

Signed by the promotion recently, Bivins will make her ONE Circle debut at ONE 159 on July 22nd when she faces Indian fighter Zeba Bano. Coming off of a loss to Nat ‘Wondergirl’ Jaroonsak at ONE 157 in May, Bano will look to get back into the win column at the expense of the 19-year-old debutant.

Bivins, who trains out of UMMAF member club House Of Moons gym in Orangevale, California, transitioned into MMA in 2021 winning three straight bouts in the IMMAF World Championships Pankration. Now she looks to carry that success onto the biggest global stage, ONE Championship.

In an exclusive interview with GiveMeSport, Bivins discussed her debut against a tough opponent and was asked if she felt any nervousness fighting an opponent with more experience on such a big platform.

“Honestly it doesn’t concern me too much,” Bivins explained. “I have a really good camp, coaches and teammates. We’ve all been watching footage, going over the footage of her last bout at ONE FC. I like to use my nerves for excitement and everything towards the fight…with my wrestling background, it’s just another day and another competition for me.”

At 19 Years Old, Lea Bivins Has a Lifetime’s Worth of Accomplishments

Bivins will most certainly look to utilize her wrestling to control the pace against Bano. At just 19, Bivins has a laundry list of achievements including being a 2016 Regional, State, and National wrestling champion, a four-time NAGA champion, a 2019 United States Fight League Champion, and a 2019 Youth World Champion. Bivins is also the youngest Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt under Jamie Jara.

Despite all of her accomplishments, Bivins is by no means looking past Bano who also possesses proficiency in grappling.

“I think it’s a really good fight stylistically,” said Bivins. “The matchmakers definitely knew what they were doing! She has really good striking, she’s really strong and her ground game looks really good as well. So I think it’ll be a really good fight and everybody should be excited to watch it!”

Knowing that her opponent is skilled both on the mat and on the feet, Bivins was asked about her training and the game plan she hopes to implement when the two square off on July 22nd.

“I’m focusing on all aspects (of MMA) in my fight camp, I’m not leaving one or the other out. I have three to four practices a day in every main style of MMA just to be prepared. I would say that I’m focusing a lot on cardio and explosion, that type of thing. Because of the five-minute rounds that we will be going into, I just want to be in the best shape cardio-wise that I can be.”

Featured image credit to Leah Bivins’ Instagram

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