Jessa Khan, the renowned American-born Cambodian jiu-jitsu star, failed in her quest to make history during the “One Fight Night 14”, losing to her long-time rival American Danielle Kelly on September 30, in Singapore.
The bout, for the One Championship Atomweight Submission Grappling World Title, was Khan’s first appearance at a One Championship event.
Khan, one of the Kingdom’s most popular athletes, who claimed gold for Cambodia at the ASIAN Games and SEA Games, accepted fault for the loss.
Posting on her Instagram, Jessa said: “I know my jiu-jitsu is better, she just had a good strategy keeping me pinned against the cage. I had some good moments like getting to the back. My fault for not capitalising on that,” she said, via social media.
“This gives me something to work on! That’s the fun thing about jiu-jitsu, you are constantly learning and seeing what areas you need to improve on to better your jiu-jitsu skills,” she added.
The battle for the title lasted ten minutes, with Khan pinning Kelly for about half of the match, but unable to lock on a submission hold.
Kelly was eventually able to use her strength to push Khan to the cage walls and attempt a series of holds. In a desperate last few seconds, she was able to fight off Khan’s attempts to secure a rear-naked choke.
Following the intense battle, the referees awarded the bout 2-1 to Kelly, with the majority of the judges believing Kelly had done more to take the title.
A tearful Kelly celebrated her narrow victory, perhaps recalling that the last time the two met on the mat – at the Who’s Number One organised by FloGrappling in Texas, the US in February 2021 – it was the Cambodian fighter who came out on top.