MMA: Zamboanga begins comeback with decision win vs Chinese foe

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 03 2022 09:56 AM | Updated as of Dec 03 2022 01:14 PM

Denice Zamboanga during her Atomweight MMA match against Lin Heqin of China for ONE Championship held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on December 3, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Denice Zamboanga during her Atomweight MMA match against Lin Heqin of China for ONE Championship held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on December 3, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

(UPDATED) MANILA - Number 3-ranked women's atomweight Denice Zamboanga squeezed out a tough decision win against a taller opponent in Lin Heqin on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Zamboanga, who slugged it out with Lin in the lead card of ONE Prime 5, walked away with a split decision.

It was a welcome verdict for Zamboanga, who came off two straight defeats at the hands of South Korean opponent Seo Hee Ham.

Unlike her previous bouts, the Filipina chose to stick to her stand up game against the longer, taller Lin.

Despite getting tagged with successive left hooks that left a large welt in the right side of her face, Zamboanga did damage with her right hands as she barreled her way past Lin's defenses. 
 
"Even though they know I wrestle, I did it with striking. I want to show I have striking, too," said Zamboanga during the post fight interview.

Jackie Buntan during her Catchweight Muay Thai fight against Amber Kitchen for ONE Championship held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on December 3, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Jackie Buntan during her Catchweight Muay Thai fight against Amber Kitchen for ONE Championship held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on December 3, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

"I know she has advantage with her longer reach so I kept attacking."

Zamboanga is now hoping to climb the atomweight ranks, possibly fighting her friend Stamp Fairtex, the ONE Grand Prix atomweight champion and current number 1 ranked atomweight.

Meanwhile, Filipino-American Jackie Buntan nabbed a decision win over Amber Kitchen in their women's muay thai fight.

Buntan, a former title contender, was quick on her toes and packed a lot of speed in her hands, stifling Kitchen with crisp punching and well-timed kicks.

In the end, Buntan walked away with a unanimous decision.