CAN Ana Julaton give glory to the country through her foray into mixed martial arts (MMA) and score victories in spectacular fashion similar to what Manny Pacquiao is doing now in boxing?
MMA fans will get the answer on May 2 when she makes her debut in ONE Fighting Championship (ONE FC) at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in the card featuring the world bantamweight title fight between Brazilian Bibiano Fernandes and Japanese Masakatsu Ueda.
The Fil-American fighter will be battling former Egyptian kickboxing champion Aya Saeid Saber, who holds an MMA record of 2-3 and has been competing in professional MMA since 2012.
Julaton may be a first-timer in MMA, but she can count on her boxing skills and experience being the former WBO and the IBA women's super bantamweight champion. She is also into martial arts since she was a kid and has black belts in Tae Kwon Do and Kenpo Karate.
These skills plus the new ones she has learned as an MMA fighter will be initially on display when Julaton conducts an open workout for the media and interested fans on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at World Muay Thai Team USA at 4008 Yague St, cor. Chino Roces, Makati City.
Julaton’s entry into MMA is generating growing interest as fans are curious on whether she can duplicate her success in boxing in the ONE FC cage.
She admitted that the transition to MMA has been physically tough but enjoyable just the same, adding she is used to the pressure of top competition. She is also aware that in MMA a fighter has to use the hands and the feet, the elbows and the knees.
Other Filipinos on the ONE FC card are Eduard Folayang, Jujeath Nagaowa, Rey Docyogen, and Eugene Toquero.
Folayang (13-4), who won an exciting match just last December against Dutch-Indonesian Vincent Latoel, will face a former champion in Japanese Kotetsu Boku, who is also coming off a TKO win over Arnauld Lepont last March.
Former WBC Asia Atomweight Champion Nagaowa will take on seven-time kickboxing champ Jeet Toshi of India; former URCC champion Docyogen takes on Joshua Alvarez while Toquero (4-1) will face undefeated Malaysian-American Gianna Subba (3-0).