SINGAPORE: Local mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter May Ooi won a gold medal at Asia’s largest Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) tournament on Friday (Sep 8).
Competing at the Asian Championship sanctioned by the International BJJ Federation, 41-year-old Ooi topped a six-woman field in the blue-belt (one rank above novice white), Master (born in 1987 and before) and Light (64kg limit) category.
She pipped homeground Japanese fighters Yukari Sato and Miki Ishitsuka as well as Mongolia’s Sainjargal Batbaatar to second and joint-third place respectively.
Ooi was participating in her first BJJ competition, and grappling with heavier opponents having weighed in at just 58kg in the morning.
“I’m very excited to have won,” the former Olympic swimmer and trained doctor told Channel NewsAsia. “Plus, I was under a two-week medical suspension after ONE Championship, so I didn’t train for two weeks and just had this week to get back on the mats.”
This comes on the heels of Ooi’s stunning victory over Malaysia’s Ann Osman in her debut for the Asian MMA promotion ONE in mid-August. The Singaporean stormed back from a shaky start to sink in a rear-naked choke submission in their strawweight (56.7kg) bout which took place in Ann’s own Kuala Lumpur backyard.
“This (BJJ) win is awesome,” Ooi added. “It’s a nice little extra after I submitted Ann Osman. We’re on a roll."