Gina “Conviction” Iniong is leaving her painful loss behind and tries to avoid a losing streak against a very formidable opponent when she steps back in the cage for the third time on April 20, 2018 at the SM mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City as part of the fight card for ONE: Heroes of Honor.
Barely five months ago, Iniong was at the wrong end of a decision when she established one of the shortest layoffs in MMA history.
She got back into the ONE cage in record time. She should be in line to own one of the shortest layoffs after winning against Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol on November 120, 2017, if not the shortest one, as she set her feet back in the ring on the 14th day after.
She, however, could not find an answer to Mei Yamaguchi’s ground assault as she was dominated whenever the fight goes to the canvass and yield to a unanimous decision defeat to the Japanese in their rematch bout during their ONE: Immortal Pursuit opening card at Singapore last November 25.
Before taking on this bout, she is coming off a rousing victory over Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol on November 10.
ONE Championship does not maintain records for the shortest layoff between bouts, but Iniong
Yamaguchi dealt with Iniong’s signature right hand and takedowns in the first round and turned the tide in the second stanza by resorting to her superb grappling pedigree.
On the canvas, Yamaguchi continuously pummeled Iniong with thudding strikes and tried to bring the bout to a close with savvy submissions attempts.
Yamaguchi punctuated the marquee match-up by grinding out Iniong in the third frame, steering the former world title contender to a unanimous decision victory.
Iniong narrated her well-preparedness for the bout despite her short preparation. “It was a tough loss. I was prepared for that bout, but I didn’t perform the way I should against a veteran like Mei Yamaguchi. She did her homework against me,” Iniong recalled.
With the drive to reinsert her name into the winner’s column, Iniong chose not to wallow over her setback, instead jumping right back into action by squaring off with another ex-world title challenger in Jenny “Lady GoGo” Huang of Chinese Taipei.
“I’ve taken the defeat in a good spirit. It’s back to square one for me, but I am not afraid to start again,” she stated. “It’s not a defeat. I think of it as a beneficial lesson.”
“It’s a privilege to compete with a talented martial artist like Jenny Huang. I am ready to give my countrymen an exciting bout,” said Iniong, who is brimming with pride and excitement as she wants to quickly bounce back from the loss.
Highly-regarded as one of the most skilled female talents in ONE Championship, Huang sports a professional record of five wins and two losses,
Her losses came from two respected opponents in Angela Lee and Yamaguchi, coming in her last two fights.
Of her five career victories, the 27-year-old Taiwanese owns three wins via impressive submission, including her gogoplata finish of Iniong’s Team Lakay comrade April Osenio in December 2016.
Huang, incidentally, is also seeking redemption after her two bout losing streak. Her match with was for the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship.
“I am not underestimating Jenny Huang by any means. To do so would be a terrible mistake, even if I am familiar with her style, I will bring my A-game on the 20th of April,” Iniong guaranteed.
Soft-spoken and generally reserved, Iniong is eager to get her career back on track, but the Team Lakay hard-hitter also knows what she has to do to get the job done.
“It’s time to move on from my defeat last November. The future is bright for me. I have a tough opposition in front of me this coming April 20. If I want to be the next contender for the title, winning impressively against Jenny Huang will be my best option,” she declared.
By: ARMANDO BOLISLIS.