Ana Julaton to display improved wrestling skills, says coach
MANILA, Philippines – After tasting the first setback of her mixed martial arts (MMA) career four months ago, former boxing world champion Ana Julaton has acquired the services of wrestling coach Ricky Lundell to beef up her grappling pedigree.
Julaton (1-1) made a successful transition from boxing to MMA in May at ONE FC: Rise of Heroes, where she stopped Aya Saeid Saber via third-round technical knockout.
However, the 34-year-old “Hurricane” failed to repeat her triumphant MMA debut as she lost to Ann Osman by split decision at ONE FC: Reign of Champions in August.
Although Julaton had the clear stand-up advantage by rocking her Malaysian adversary on multiple occasions, Osman easily persuaded the cageside judges by scoring two legitimate takedowns in the bout and pacifying the 5-foot-5 Filipina on the ground.
The disappointing defeat compelled Julaton and head trainer Angelo Reyes to go back to the drawing board and tap the assistance of Lundell to branch out her arsenal with the ancient art of wrestling.
“Ricky Lundell is a master grappler and a phenomenal MMA coach. It's a lot of physical work and the mental pace is mind blowing,” Julaton told Rappler about her experience.
One week after the loss to Osman, Lundell took Julaton under his wing and trained her with his wrestling team at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“It's great to coach Ana Jualton. Not just because she's an elite level athlete, but also because she's an amazing person off the mat. She is truly humble and has all the makings of a future MMA world champion,” said Lundell, who worked with Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters such as Carlos Condit, Miesha Tate, Travis Browne and Frank Mir.
Even though it has been bantered that Julaton’s wrestling training was a crash course, Lundell stressed the camp’s focus on essential elements like attaining takedowns and defending both takedowns and submission attempts.
“There is no way to perfect an art over night, but the way to properly speed up the learning process is to only work on the things an athlete needs. What makes Ana different is that she's developing all the skill sets of a true MMA fighter,” he stated.
Lundell, a second-degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and former NCAA Division I wrestler, believes Julaton’s fighting standards were elevated by wrestling because it made her more capable of finishing her cage counterpart.
“Boxing has tactics just like wrestling, and because she has boxed and understands how to use those tactics while attacking under pressure, that will give her easier way to understand how to wrestle under pressure. Her job is to finish her opponent and wrestling is just going to give her more tools to do that,” he asserted.
Julaton is booked to face Egyptian kickboxer Walaa Abbas in a three-round flyweight tussle on the undercard of ONE FC: Warrior’s Way, which takes place at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila on Friday, December 5.
Lundell confidently pointed out that Julaton will get past her without intent to think any less of the Pinay pugilist’s opponent and added that ONE FC must grant the request for a rematch against Osman.
“Without question, Ann Osman should start preparing now for Ana because she is going to come avenge her loss with devastation, and Walaa is just a stepping stone leading to that moment,” he warned. - Rappler.com