MMA: Drex Zamboanga keeps head up despite narrow loss


Posted at Jun 08 2023 04:55 PM

Filipino MMA fighter Drex Zamboanga. Handout photo/file
Filipino MMA fighter Drex Zamboanga. Handout photo/file

Filipino bantamweight Drex “T-Rex” Zamboanga is still optimistic after absorbing his first loss in ONE Championship. 

Zamboanga lost a razor-thin split decision to “The Ghost” Chen Rui in a three-round MMA bout at ONE Friday Fights 19 on June 2 at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

It was a back-and-forth scrap, but perhaps the game changer was Chen’s body shot in the first round. It forced Zamboanga to change levels and the Chinese fighter landed blows from the top position while dropping knees to the Filipino’s midsection. 

Zamboanga managed to bounce back and force a fight out of it in the next two rounds. However, the near-finish in the first round was enough to convince two judges to give the nod to Chen. 

Despite losing a matchup that could’ve gone either way, Zamboanga remained gracious.

“It wasn’t my night, but I’m very grateful for the love and support I got from all of you,” he said.

“Thank you [Chen Rui] for sharing the ring with me, what a tough fighter. I did my best to showcase my skills, but just like every fight, there are two outcomes — either you win, or you learn. I will definitely bounce back stronger!”

Zamboanga barged into The Home of Martial Arts with two impressive finishes, submitting Detchadin Srosirisuphathin before knocking out Rahul Raju in a surprising move to lightweight. 

He then returned to bantamweight and rained down on ONE Warrior Series Philippines winner Adonis Sevilleno’s parade by beating the Team Lakay stalwart via decision in the Philippines. 

A win against Chen would’ve catapulted him higher up the rankings, but that will have to wait. Nonetheless, it’s a loss he’s already accepted. 

“If you win, be humble,” he said, “if you lose, be dignified.”