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Julaton excited to finally meet Mazepa

One Championship (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Filipino boxing star turned MMA fighter Ana Julaton expressed her excitement that she will finally lock horns with Irina Mazepa.

Mazepa was the original pick as Julaton's opponent at One: Reign of Champions last year in Dubai but had to be replaced following an injury.

"It was the fight that was supposed to happen last year, but she wasn’t to pull it off because of an injury down when I had to fight in Dubai. That was when Ann Osman stepped in. It was a fight that was ready to be made and I’m glad it is happening in Manila. I am looking forward to this fight, I’m pumped!" Julaton said.

Julaton and Mazepa will finally fight each other in One's early Christmas offering to the Filipino MMA fans, the Spirit of Champions event at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Mazepa recently knocked out Ann Osman, who happens to be the replacement fighter One fielded in for Julaton's much-anticipated MMA debut, and Julaton, who won a world boxing title, is expecting their fight on Dec. 11 to be a battle of strikes, although she is also aware that Mazepa can silence a hostile crowd like how she did to the people in Kuala Lumpur in the Osman fight.

Julaton evaluated, "Irina Mazepa is a powerful striker for sure. To see what she did to Osman in Malaysia in front of a sold-out hometown crowd was spectacular and proved Mazepa can fight and has no pressure as the visitor. But even when she won the fight, my heart didn’t skip a beat. I mean I was looking for it anyhow, she has really good game."

While a knockout finish is expected, Julaton said that her improved ground game can be an advantage for her.

"I know that she’s strong, she’s experienced in the stand-up but I also know too that she’s limited in certain areas and I see that as an advantage on my side. I’ve stayed busy at at Bishop Gorman, training four times a week to integrate grappling techniques to my overall game. I worked hard with my coach, Ricky Lundell, who has helped me improve my ground game," Julaton continued.

On the other hand, Lundell now considers Julaton as a different fighter from her first three fights, where she won two of those, both happening in front of her fellow Filipinos at the said Pasay venue.

The grappling mentor flaunted, "[The Julaton you will see] is an entirely different fighter; it’s not just a boxer out there that has a little bit of understanding of the ground. This is a world class boxer who’s been working on world class takedowns and submissions abilities, so this is gonna be a different fight."

The Julaton-Mazepa fight is expected to give the Mall of Asia Arena crowd some entertainment as they await for the One heavyweight championship fight between Brandon Vera and Chi-Lewis Parry.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno