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Natalia Diachkova Believes She’ll Beat Smilla Sundell with ‘Underrated’ Clinch Work



Natalia Diachkova believes her upcoming opponent, Smilla Sundell, has several holes in her game waiting to be exploited.

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Diachkova will challenge Sundell for the ONE Championship women’s muay thai 125-pound title at ONE Fight Night 22 on May 3. While Sundell’s achievements for a 19-year-old are certainly commendable, Diachkova, who won the Russian National Adult Championship at just 16 years of age, isn’t awed.

“Her age doesn't really matter. I won the National Adult Championship when I was 16 years old. But mentally, she is still a child,” Diachkova said.

While Sundell has seemed almost flawless in her career thus far, Diachkova notes that the 5’10” champ has enjoyed a significant height advantage over her latest opponents. Diachkova sees her 5’7” stature posing a problem for the relatively inexperienced Sundell, who will be unable to use her height advantage to the fullest when they cross paths.

“Yes, it will be a problem for her to fight me because her opponents were almost 20 centimeters shorter. This is an important factor in a fight if you don’t have enough experience and understanding on how to work with opposition of different heights.”

Additionally, Diachkova believes she has many advantages over Sundell which she hasn’t had the opportunity to showcase yet, including her “underrated” clinch game.

“There are many. I am underestimated in the clinch and, generally, in everything that I have not yet had time to show. It will be a fight in small gloves. I just do not see the point of messing around and fighting in the Thai boxing style, where you can miss one accurate punch and end up on the floor. My advantage is my hard punches and working with a series of combinations, as well as my experience in the ring.”

Asked about her road to victory against “The Hurricane,” Diachkova yet again mentioned the ostensible clinch advantage.

“She just uses her hands to get what she wants. I didn't see any cool clinch work from her. I've seen everyone [being] afraid of her, but I'm not afraid of her. I can win with strong punches, but anything can happen in the ring. Maybe I'll beat her by clinching for five rounds, who knows?”
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