It is rare for two female debutants to steal the show on a night when two of the world’s best mixed martial artists were headlining the card, but that is exactly what female mixed martial artists Sherilyn Lim and Ann Osman did. Despite pound-for-pound kings Shinya Aoki and Bibiano Fernandes competing on the same night, October 18 in Singapore belonged to Lim and Osman as they pitted their pugilistic skills against each other for three rounds. Both fighters exchanged periods of dominance and brawled for three rounds, and 12,000 fans in the Singapore Indoor Stadium erupted in cheers at the conclusion of their contest. Two judges awarded the fight to Sherilyn Lim while one awarded the bout to Ann Osman, giving Lim a split decision victory. The decision has stoked intense controversy on both sides of the borders, and a rematch seemed inevitable.
The bout captured the hearts and minds of fans across the world and reinforced the mindset that female mixed martial arts are more than capable of putting on world-class matches and competing alongside their male counterparts. Sportswomen have constantly faced an uphill battle to gain equal standing in every sport, and it is no different in mixed martial arts. Female mixed martial artists have struggled to find a platform to showcase their craft till recent years. The bout between Osman and Lim exceeded expectations and have resulted in emerging popularity among females.
As arguably the best female mixed martial arts talent to emerge from Singapore, Sherilyn Lim has the weight of a nation on her shoulders. She is only the second female from Singapore to compete under the ONE FC banner. There have been other famous sportswomen in Singapore, but Lim was the first to shine through a combat sport. She proudly represents the rapid evolution of female empowerment in Singapore, where as recent as three decades ago, were expected to adopt homemaker roles after marriage in traditional Asian culture.
Her martial arts journey began in Singapore Polytechnic, where despite already being a varsity competitor in table tennis, decided to try a new sport. She felt fat and unhealthy at more than 60kg. Sherilyn, along with a a group of her friends, started SP Muay Thai club, the first Muay Thai club in a polytechnic. She served as club secretary, as the club took off and managed to gather more than 100 students in their first batch. That sparked her interest in combat sports. She approached Fight G, Singapore’s oldest mixed martial arts gym, for instructors to assist with coaching the Muay Thai team. She met MMA pioneer and Fight G owner, Darren De Silva.
She began training in Muay Thai at Fight G after graduation, and was eventually exposed to mixed martial arts. It was love at first sight as Sherilyn took to it with ease. De Silva took her under his wing and through his guidedance, she improved by leaps and bounds. She even held her own against guys with significant weight and experience advantage.
She eventually left the gym as she pursued a career in advertising. She also worked as a wine and cigar sommelier and bartender at a private cigar club. She bumped into De Silva one day, who urged her to return to Fight G to work and train.
In early last year, Sherilyn elected to return to Fight G to train and work as the gym’s operations manager. Now a svelte 54kg, she was unleashed upon the MMA world last year, proving that local competition is too easy for her as she dismantled her opponent in amateur competition. She then entered the ONE FC cage, where she put on one of the best fights of the year against Osman.
The raucous partisan crowd roared in agreement when ONE FC announcer Anthony Sunthay announce Lim’s name as the winner of the tightly-contested affair. Lim will now enter enemy territory and it is highly expected the crowd will be on her opponent’s side for the rematch. The duo will forever be tied together with the legacy of the first bout. The ongoing saga between the rivals concludes on 14 March, and Lim wants to defeat Osman definitively to cement her position as the most talented female mixed martial artist in Asia.
Priority sales of tickets for ONE FC: WAR OF NATIONS, presented by Tune Talk. Fans can enjoy 30% off tickets during priority sales which end on 1 February. Pre-sale packages such as the “Ann Osman Fan Package”, which includes a limited edition T-shirt for only MYR78, are also available now. Log on to www.AirAsiaRedTix.com for further details.
Tickets are priced at RM348 for the complete VIP experience that includes exclusive red carpet entrance, access to the VIP lounge and premium cage-side seating. The categories that follow are priced at RM248, RM148, RM98 and RM48 respectively. Booking fees and service charges apply.