Ana Julaton returns to MMA cage

Former women’s boxing champion and current ONE Fighting Championship star Ana Julaton will travel to Dubai next month to compete in her second professional mixed martial arts (MMA) bout.

Nicknamed “The Hurricane,” the San Francisco-born slugger will face Malaysia’s Ann Osman at ONE FC’s “Reign of Champions” on Aug. 29 from Dubai’s World Trade Centre.

Known for fighting internationally throughout her boxing career, Julaton told SFBay she is excited to compete in Dubai, especially when she considers the Filipino population in the United Arab Emirates:

“I hear there is a huge contingency there. So to be featured in the only female bout in ONE FC 19 will be a unique experience.”

Julaton was unable to participate in a media tour in Dubai on July 22 after her flight was cancelled due to aircraft maintenance. But she will hold an open media workout at the House of Ryu in Las Vegas from 12-2:30 p.m. on Aug. 6.

In addition to the women’s bout, “Reign of Champions” will feature four world title fights, making it the biggest event in ONE FC history so far.

Julaton was originally scheduled to fight Irina Mazepa of Russia, but Osman was brought in after Mazepa dropped out due to injury.

Like her opponent, Osman – Malaysia’s first professional female mixed martial artist – will also be competing in only her second professional bout under ONE FC.

Osman left quite an impression in her pro debut this past October when she tangled with Singapore’s Sherilyn Lim in a back-and-forth scrap that Lim won via razor-thin split decision.

Julaton watched the Osman-Lim bout prior to signing with ONE FC so she could keep up to date with the competition.

In preparing for the Aug. 29 bout, Julaton remains focused on enhancing her fighting abilities because of how game opponents like Osman will be in future bouts:

“Although this is only my second professional MMA fight, I’ve been fighting in different disciplines all my life – taekwondo, kenpo karate, and of course, professional boxing. There is a reason why I wanted to be an MMA fighter. I know all my opponents will be targeting me and will show me their best because I’m someone they haven’t faced before. This drives my competitive edge and I’m ready to bring an explosive fight!”

Julaton – the first Filipino-American boxer to win the women’s IBA and WBO junior featherweight championships – exhibited her newfound MMA skills in her pro debut earlier this May by defeating Egyptian kickboxing champion Aya Saeid Saber via third-round technical knockout.

After escaping an excruciating guillotine choke that almost clenched the victory for Saber, Julaton got into a full mount position and hammered Saber with a barrage of punches and elbows until referee Oliver Coste stopped the bout with less than a minute remaining in the third.

Though she’s honed her fighting craft for most of her life, Julaton is aware that there’s always something new for her to learn, which she says is the best excuse for her to train up to eight hours a day at the gym:

“I spent a good period of my life teaching martial arts where I would be in the dojo from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., sometimes more. It’s fun! So I’m going back to my roots, implementing techniques that are conducive to me and honing my best weapons.”

Julaton recently traveled to New York City shortly after the Saber fight to participate in the 25th annual Philippine Independence Day parade.

She said the experience was incredible and offered thanks to members of the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. – including President Fe Martinez and Consul General Mario Lopez De Leon Jr. – for showing her around NYC:

“All of them value and are proud of the Philippine heritage and have established the community over there for 25 years. As a Filipina, it’s an experience I will never forget.”

Julaton also met with her promoter Allan Tremblay to discuss her boxing career. She said Tremblay has been in talks with Top Rank Boxing founder and CEO Bob Arum about having her compete at one of the company’s future events.

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