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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Grandjean sees gruelling fight vs. Zamboanga

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WHEN Noelle “Lil Monkey” Grandjean was training at Fairtex Training Center in Pattaya, Thailand, she knew that a clash between former teammates Stamp Fairtex and Denice Zamboanga would eventually happen.

Little did Grandjean know that she’d get a crack at one of them before the two ever had the chance to fight—but that is exactly what has happened.

Because ONE Atomweight MMA World Champion Stamp tore her meniscus last week, Grandjean is stepping in to take on Zamboanga at ONE 167: Tawanchai vs. Nattawut II on 8 June at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.

“Lil Monkey” recalled her time training with the pair, and while there will be no love lost when she squares off with Zamboanga, she still considers the Filipina a good friend.

“It will be an interesting fight. We were training partners before. I started my journey in Fairtex with Stamp, Denice, [Nat “Wondergirl” Jaroonsak]. We were all there training together,” she said.

“We know each other and we’re friends. It’s kind of the same story with Stamp and Denice, so it’s cool.”

Grandjean acknowledged that she’s coming in as a heavy underdog in this fight, considering that Zamboanga is the #2-ranked atomweight contender.

She also knows Zamboanga’s desire to become a ONE World Champion someday, and while this match won’t be for the gold, she expects the Filipina to compete as if the belt is still on the line.

“Her [strength] is her cardio. She’s been preparing for a fight for months, maybe a year, maybe more,”  Grandjean said.

“Since Fairtex, I think this was in her head. I saw Stamp and Denice training together and I was looking forward to seeing this match like four years ago. I think she’s been preparing for this for a long long time. She prepared for five rounds, so she’s in shape.”

That said, Grandjean knows anything can happen in an MMA match, and she plans to prove it come fight night.

“It could go anyway honestly. I don’t really know what’s gonna happen. It’s a big surprise,” she said. “Beating [the #2 contender] will be big for me, 100 percent.”

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