SINGAPORE – As mixed martial arts in Asia continues to blossom, fans can expect to start seeing a few roses among the thorns.
One Fighting Championship will be debuting two Filipina boxers turned MMA fighters on their Rise of Heroes card on May 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Former WBO female super bantamweight champion Ana Julaton of Daly City, Calif., as well as former world title challenger Jujeath Nagaowa of La Trinidad, Benguet will both step inside the One FC cage next month.
Boxing is a vital part of MMA, as fights always start standing up. A handful of prominent MMA fighters today started off as boxers early in their fight careers, most notably Anderson Silva, widely considered to be the Michael Jordan of mixed martial arts, who had two professional boxing matches before crossing over to cage-fighting.
Julaton, who has held both the WBO and IBA junior featherweight titles, has a pro record of (13-4-1, 2 knockouts) and was trained by Hall of Fame coach Freddie Roach for a brief period. The 33-year-old surrendered her titles in a 2012 lopsided decision loss to Yesica Patricia Marcos in Mendoza, Argentina.
Since then, Julaton has continued to compete inside the squared circle, but had long mulled a crossover into MMA. She’s no stranger to martial arts however, holding black belts in Tae Kwon Do and Kenpo Karate and has been training since age 10, so her transition to a sport that makes full use of the arms and feet should be met with a level of familiarity.
Julaton, who has roots to the Pangasinan province, now lives in Las Vegas and will be fighting in the Philippines for the first time.
Nagaowa, who sports a record of 12 wins with 13 losses and a draw, trains out of La Trinidad, Benguet and has had a mostly pedestrian boxing career, having competed for world titles yet falling short of victory each time.
Nagaowa spent the majority of her boxing career competing overseas in Japan and South Korea, where an abundance of solid competition has kept her busy over the years. She will try her luck in MMA against Jeet Toshi (MMA Record: 2-1-0) of India. Nagaowa is currently in Manila preparing for her cage debut.
Ever since the UFC made waves by signing “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey and turning her into a worldwide star, women’s MMA has taken great strides into prominence.
The addition of Nagaowa and Julaton to One FC’s growing roster of quality fighters is another step forward for MMA in the Philippines. – Rappler.com