‘Such An Important Fight’ – Denice Zamboanga Aims To Protect Ranking Against Julie Mezabarba
Denice Zamboanga is back on track and ready to resume her climb toward the top of ONE’s atomweight MMA division.
Following a pair of decision losses to Ham Seo Hee, “The Menace” defeated Lin Heqin in her last outing, earning another high-profile matchup at ONE Fight Night 9: Nong-O vs. Haggerty on Prime Video.
This Friday, April 21, Zamboanga will face tough Brazilian opponent Julie Mezarbarba at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
Still ranked #3 in the division, the Filipina phenom can’t wait to step inside the ring and fight live in U.S. primetime.
She told ONEFC.com:
“It’s always a good feeling when you get to return to ONE Championship. Sure there are always nerves, but I’m more excited.”
Though she’s now back training with her brother and fellow ONE athlete Drex Zamboanga at TREX MMA in the Philippines, the atomweight star is ecstatic to be competing in Thailand.
The 26-year-old lived and honed her craft at Pattaya’s Fairtex Training Center and Bangkok’s Marrok Force for a long time before moving home, and she still has a lot of affection for the “Land of Smiles.”
“This is special because I’ll be back in Thailand. I’ll see a lot of familiar places and friends who are in Thailand who will come out and support me.
“And of course, it’s always an honor competing in one of the most famous and respected stadiums when it comes to combat sports all over the world.”
Zamboanga Preparing For ‘Raw Strength’ Of Mezabarba
Denice Zamboanga and Julie Mezabarba were riding lengthy unbeaten streaks not that long ago, but with the tough competition in ONE Championship, they’ve each had their setbacks.
However, both athletes have shown their ability to hang with the atomweight elite, and it would only take some minor adjustments to turn decision losses into decision wins.
For her part, “The Menace” knows what her upcoming foe is capable of, but she believes in herself – and she won’t back down if the going gets tough on Friday.
“If there’s something that I have to watch out for against Julie Mezabarba, it’s her raw strength, her jiu-jitsu, and of course her heavy strikes. I have to look out for those.
“I think my main advantage will be my heart. We all know that Filipino fighting spirit. We’ll fight till the end, and we won’t allow ourselves to lose.”
Back when she owned an undefeated MMA record, Zamboanga was considered the likely next World Title challenger.
However, she ran into veteran superstar Ham Seo Hee in back-to-back matchups that temporarily slowed down her ascent.
Now 9-2 and with a fresh taste for victory after her win over Lin Heqin in December, “The Menace” knows this is a pivotal moment for her career as she resumes her chase for gold once again.
“This is such an important fight for me because I want to hold onto this third spot in the atomweight division, and one day, God willing, I’ll be back there on top and getting a World Title shot.
“Of course, the prediction is a victory!”