Jihin Survives Tough Test, Earns Decision Win Over Yamaguchi
The rising Malaysian star showed skill and durability to take a unanimous decision victory in their 53.5-kilogram catchweight bout at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday, 11 February.
Jihin utilized her reach advantage with long jabs and inside low kicks to fend off her Japanese rival at the start of round one. Conversely, Yamaguchi looked for opportunities to counter with her trademark overhand right.
“Shadow Cat” was landing more frequently than her rival, but that changed when the veteran caught the Malaysian’s kick. Yamaguchi ultimately freed her leg and came out of the exchange with a takedown, and then she controlled the remainder of the round from top position.
The 23-year-old Malaysian tried to stick to her tactic of jabs and low kicks in round two, but Yamaguchi wasn’t prepared to stay on the outside and wait. She blasted her foe with overhand rights – and one of them caused “Shadow Cat” to stumble back and hold on for some respite.
Once they were in close, it was a battle of inches on the Circle Wall with both athletes looking for a dominant position. Jihin searched for a guillotine, but the savvy Japanese athlete worked her way out, and neither could secure any real dominance from there.
The action in the third frame mostly played out against the Circle Wall with each athlete jockeying for position.
Yamaguchi scored a double-leg takedown when they briefly separated, but Jihin immediately tried to threaten with submissions. The Ultimate MMA Academy product managed to scramble up, which led to more tit-for-tat on the Circle Wall until the final bell sounded.
There wasn’t much to separate the two in the end, but the judges sided with Jihin, who pushed her record to 7-2 and earned a huge win over her most experienced opponent to date.