Mei Yamaguchi avenges past loss, remains focussed on Angela Lee

Mei Yamaguchi avenges past loss, remains focussed on Angela Lee
PHOTO: Mei Yamaguchi avenges past loss, remains focussed on Angela Lee

One of the most highly-anticipated bouts on Friday night took place between Japan’s Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi and the Philippines’ Gina “Conviction” Iniong. The two competitors had faced each other earlier on in their careers, with Iniong taking home a hard-earned split decision for her efforts.

Now, three and a half years later, the two ladies locked horns once again in a compelling three-round women’s atomweight bout at ONE: IMMORTAL PURSUIT, which took place on 24 November at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

This time, it was Yamaguchi who walked out of the cage with a tough win, as she earned the unanimous decision nod from all three judges at cageside.

Yamaguchi, a DEEP Jewels Featherweight Champion, showcased incredible improvement in both her striking and grappling, standing and exchanging her best offense with Iniong, who herself is a six-time national wushu champion in her native Philippines.

The first round saw the two female warriors open up by trading right hands. After a brief stint on the feet, Yamaguchi took matters to the ground, where she enjoyed the advantage. On the mat, Yamaguchi poured on the punishment, blasting Iniong with elbows and fists.

More of the same action ensued in the second round, as Yamaguchi looked to take the action back to where she had most success. Although “Conviction” was never completely out of the bout, it became evident by the middle of the frame that Yamaguchi was in full control of the matchup.

Things stayed the same until the end, with all three judges scoring the bout in favor of Yamaguchi to win by unanimous decision. A complete performance did it for the Japanese athlete, who showcased well-rounded striking and grappling skills, leaving Iniong absolutely no chance for three full rounds.

Keeping a close eye from cageside was reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee. Lee was originally scheduled to face Yamaguchi in the night’s main event, but was compelled to pull out of the bout so that she could recover from injuries due to an accident.

With the victory, Yamaguchi improves her record to 17-10-1, and remains on track for a second shot at Lee’s coveted world title. 

On the other hand, Iniong’s gamble to take the short notice bout backfired, as she suffers her first defeat in ONE Championship, and falls to 6-3 overall.