MMA: Back to drawing board for Sabanal after 2nd straight loss


Posted at Jun 16 2019 07:05 PM

Angelie Sabanal lost via submission to Japan's Itsuki Hirata. Handout

Angelie Sabanal left the ONE Championship ring in disappointed on Saturday night, having lost via submission to promotional newcomer Itsuki Hirata in the preliminary card of ONE: Legendary Quest at the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai, China.

As hard as she fought, Sabanal could not get over the hump and suffered her second straight loss after making her debut in mixed martial arts last year.

"Coming into the match, I could feel the nerves coming over me because it was time to go," Sabanal admitted.

"The majority of my previous bouts were against strikers, although I do have experience with grapplers as well. We knew about Itsuki [Hirata's] game and we did our best to prepare for her style. But sadly, we fell short," she added.

"I did everything I could, but Hirata is really good at what she does and she was able to get the submission."

After a feeling-out process to open the first round, Sabanal unleashed a few leg kicks to soften up the base of the Japanese fighter, but Hirata responded with a few leg kicks and a couple of punches of her own.

Halfway past the opening bell, Hirata took down the Filipina and slid to side control, where she opened Sabanal with a few punches to the head. Not long after, Hirata transitioned to an Americana, and Sabanal had no choice but to tap.

It was another disappointing result for Sabanal, who was successful in her ONE Championship debut in 2018 when she out-pointed fan favorite Rika "Tiny Doll" Ishige. She could not build on that victory, however, losing to Indonesia's Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol in her following bout.

Sabanal said her loss to Hirata will serve as a big lesson to her as she progresses in her career.

"Right now, we're headed back to the drawing board," she said. "We have to work more on my areas of improvement, especially in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, submission grappling, and wrestling. These skills will be essential to my career moving forward."

"Hopefully, my team and I will be able to fix the holes in my game and I can show the improvements in my next bout," she added.

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