Denice Zamboanga Plans To Press Grappling Advantage In World Title Challenge Of Stamp Fairtex

Denice Zamboanga

Denice “The Menace” Zamboanga is well aware of the massive challenge that lies ahead.

On June 7 in U.S. primetime, the Filipina standout will battle her former training partner Stamp Fairtex for the ONE Women’s Atomweight MMA World Title in the main event of ONE 167 on Prime Video at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.

The fight represents a monumental opportunity for Zamboanga to become the first-ever female MMA World Champion from the Philippines and take out one of combat sport’s biggest stars.

Now in her final preparations for that highly anticipated World Title showdown, the #2-ranked contender spoke to about how she plans to get the job done against Stamp.

The pair used to work together at Fairtex Training Center in Pattaya, Thailand, and Zamboanga says that experience showed her exactly where she will have the edge:

“I believe I can utilize my ground game as my advantage because I don’t think she can stop it. Ever since we started training together [at Fairtex], I’ve always been more knowledgeable in grappling, and I feel I can use that against her in this match.”

Indeed, the submission-savvy Zamboanga is an expert on the ground, combining suffocating top control with savage ground strikes and a potent submission game.

Stamp, on the other hand, is the division’s most dangerous striker. And while the former kickboxing and Muay Thai queen has shown marked improvements in her ground game, her grappling remains her weakest link.

To that end, the challenger says she’s devising a game plan to deal with the Thai’s venomous stand-up skills:

“Of course, her advantage will be her striking. No surprise there. She has beautiful striking, and we all know about that. However, I’m prepared for her. I just can’t rely on my ground game in this match.

“To get the match to the ground, I have to strike with her first, and that’s why I’m sharpening my striking for this match because I really have to get it to the ground.”

Even though she sees a clear path to victory on the ground, “The Menace” isn’t ready to lock in a prediction for how the contest will unfold.

Instead, she’ll simply be ready for whatever comes on fight day:

“I don’t really want to give any prediction, other than I’ll do everything to get the belt home to the Philippines. I respect Stamp. She’s such a good fighter, and I wouldn’t want to get ahead of myself. I expect the fight to start slow as we size each other up, and then the action will pick up from there.”

Zamboanga Says Stamp Is In For A Surprise

When Denice Zamboanga steps into the Circle against Stamp Fairtex, she’ll be squaring off with a former training partner and good friend.

But as much as Zamboanga respects her opponent, she says their friendly relationship will go out the window once the opening bell rings:

“We’re really good friends, but at the end of the day, this is where professionalism comes in. The moment we enter the ONE Circle, that friendship will have to be put aside, as we both have the same goals.

“We’re standing in front of each other’s dreams, and that’s what I’ll be thinking about when we face each other.”

Despite their history as training partners, “The Menace” also believes plenty is different at this point.

She’s confident that when the Circle door closes on June 7, she’ll shock Stamp with a new and improved version of herself:

“Sure, we trained together, and in a sense, we’re familiar with each other’s games, the strengths and weaknesses, and whatnot, but I believe a lot has changed since then.

“It’s been years since we last trained together, so as much as there’s still familiarity, I believe I’ll surprise her with how much I improved, and I expect Stamp to have improved a lot as well.”

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