Lady Lakay


JENELYN OLSIM, the smiling Lakay lady warrior who is all charm and friendliness when announced into the One Championship Circle before a fight, transforms into a relentless, unstoppable fighting machine the moment the bell rings to start hostilities.

Quite like a female Kevin Belingon, in my humble opinion.

Her first fight was as a strawweight against Maira Mazar, the Brazilian jiu jitsu expert who had made quite a name for herself since she turned professional in 2014. Jenelyn made her tap out with a guillotine choke in the third round of their match at One: Fists of Fury in March 2021.

Only on her second fight in One Championship, she had no qualms about moving from strawweight (115 lbs or 52.2 kgs) to atomweight (105 lbs or 48 kgs) to face perennial contender Bi “Killer Bi” Nguyen in One: Battleground last August.

The Team Lakay rising star convincingly dismantled “Killer Bee,” and made it look like she did not have any problems adjusting to a new weight class. Changing weight classes has been the undoing of many great fighters before.

But not Jenelyn Olsim. She takes ‘em as they come. Not one to play diva or find excuses, she seems game for any challenge that her fighting career throws her way.

“I only try to do my best. That has been our mantra from the moment I started training with coach Mark [Sangiao] and Team Lakay,” said the 30th Southeast Asian Games muay thai silver medalist.

The win against Nguyen could have earned Olsim a chance to be an alternate in the One Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix at the historic all-female One: Empower card last September, but her original opponent Grace Cleveland had to pull out of the card.

She had so looked forward to it, the chance of competing in the bright lights of the Grand Prix. But that’s the way the cookie crumbled, and Jenelyn, raised to accept realities in the philosophical way that people look at life, just moved on and in her own unique way, smiled.

Luckily, she is getting another crack at earning her place in the Grand Prix.

After staging successful events like One: Empower and the super-stacked One: Revolution, One’s next treat is a trilogy of MMA events that features its Next Gen gems. Jenelyn’s golden chance comes in an alternate bout at One: Next Gen II which happens on November 12 in Singapore. Her opponent is Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan, a Malaysian hometown hero.

“I’m very excited to earn my spot in the Grand Prix. I know Jihin is a very good technical fighter and she’s very dangerous on the ground, so it’s something I will have to be wary about,” she said.

It’s a surprise, even for Olsim, to say the least. But the 24-year-old has prepared herself for any eventualities here in One Championship, so much so that she has kept a close look at her potential opponents if ever she makes it to the Grand Prix.
When asked who she wants to face in the future, Jenelyn without hesitation says, “I am excited to take on Ritu Phogat. I saw that she is really good at wrestling and it’s a skill that I really want to test myself against in my next matches.”

Phogat, who has had a string of losses before she again showed her true worth in One: Empower is riding high in the Grand Prix, pursuing a new trajectory.
Thinking about Phogat this early doesn’t mean that Jenelyn is already looking past The Shadow Cat at this point. For her, it’s all about making the most of the chances given to her.

“I’m really happy to get this opportunity again even if I’m only considered as an alternate. This is one of the main reasons why I moved weight classes, because I really wanted to be part of the Grand Prix,” she said.

And even if there is some concern from those in the know that changing weight classes can be disadvantageous or even dangerous for fighters, Jenelyn has no qualms about transitioning into the lightest weight class widely recognized within MMA.

In fact she feels comfortable being an atomweight already. It’s not the weight or the girth of the fighter that matters, she’ll tell you. It’s the size of her heart.

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