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Danielle Kelly Plans To Submit Yamaguchi In ‘Under Five Or Six Minutes’ At ONE X

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Among all of the glitz and glamor of ONE Championship’s extraordinary 10th-anniversary event will be the debut of a new, rising star to its ranks. American grappling sensation Danielle Kelly will walk onto the global stage for the first time on Saturday, March 26.

Danielle Kelly Plans to Submit Yamaguchi at ONE X

She will meet Mei Yamaguchi in an atomweight grappling match at ONE X: Part I.

At just 11-years-old, the Philadelphia native began her journey after suffering bullying in school. It was the start of a path that would ultimately lead her to this moment. Kelly had always been involved in sports such as softball and soccer, but her father’s influence would play a major role in finding her path toward the canvas.

“What led me to martial arts, in general, was my dad was involved in some martial arts. Well, he was in boxing, and we’re a pretty athletic family. And probably when I was like 11 years old, I was getting bullied a lot because I switched schools. I was the new kid,” said Kelly.

Once she hit the mat, a passion was born.

Kelly found success almost immediately, and it helped to light a fire that would burn bright enough to capture the attention of everyone around her. She competed against more experienced and older opponents but showed she was up to the task.

“The times when like, I would sign up for tournaments a lot, and I would be 13 or 14 years old. I’d go against these women who are like my age now or 30s or older,” said the American.

“I was probably like a yellow belt, or I think I was an orange belt competing. And I’d be going against these higher-level women, and I knew it was something that I wanted to be a part of for a while. I just like how it challenges me, whether it’s winning or losing. Even when I win matches, I still feel like I have a lot to improve on. I’m never satisfied.”

As for challenges, Yamaguchi will be her first in the American’s ONE debut.

The Japanese grappler has been a mainstay in the atomweight division for years. She brings in a strong, controlling grappling game to contend with inside the ONE Circle, where the fence may be a new factor for Kelly.

“I think she has a little bit more knowledge than the few fighters that I won against. I’ve seen her finish people, and obviously, I’ve been watching her fights because I’m going against her,” said the rising BJJ star.

“But I’ve seen her submit a lot of people, and I don’t think she’s ever gotten knocked out or submitted. So it would be really cool to be the first person to submit her.”

How does she plan to get it done? By choke, of course.

“I will submit her in under five or six minutes,” said Kelly.

And with her signing, there are expectations that she will transition into mixed martial arts in the future. While that may be a ways off at this point, Kelly has a hard time not imagining the future, especially with ONE X headlined by the ONE Atomweight World Championship.

“It’s too soon, but I mean, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t imagining myself against these girls in jiu-jitsu or fighting,” said the atomweight star.

“I like what ONE Championship represents. And over the years, I’ve been watching a lot of the female fighters. I like that they have a women’s atomweight division. I like how Chatri [Sityodtong] supports all the jiu-jitsu fighters.”

“I see a lot of good with this promotion. And when they came to me, about, I would say two years ago. I think it was just right before the pandemic or during. I wasn’t really sure at the time. So we were kind of in talks. We stayed connected for a little while. And this year, I decided, you know, if I want to have my first fight, it would be with ONE.”

Her first match on the global stage will be one of the highlights of the first portion of the epic event coming your way on Saturday.

ONE X airs live on Saturday, March 26, beginning with ONE X: Part I at 1:00 a.m. ET/10:00 p.m. PT on

ONE X: Part II begins at 5:00 a.m. ET/2:00 a.m. PT.

ONE X: Grand Finale concludes the evening on pay-per-view on at 8:00 a.m. ET/5:00 a.m. PT.

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Jeremy Brand is an experienced MMA writer and columnist. He is the founder of, and has represented the company with media credentials at many mixed martial arts fights. Jeremy is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training in BC, Canada.

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