Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.
It could not be more true for Team Lakay’s petite warrior Gina Iniong. Standing at just 5’2″, the Filipina atomweight, in almost all of her bouts, is greatly outweighed by her opponents. Nonetheless, she has amassed a 3-2 record prior to PXC 51.
Two years ago, Team Lakay’s Gina Iniong suffered a heartbreaking defeat against current UFC strawweight Cortney Casey in PXC 46.
Iniong, the darling of Philippine mixed martial arts, was overmatched by the strength of the American fighters eventually succumbing to a rear naked choke in the first round.
“Nung natalo ako nung PXC 46, nasa isip ko talaga nagkulang ako sa preparation ko,” “Conviction” reflected about it. “Nung natalo ako sa kanya, pinromise ko talaga sa sarili ko na babawi ako.”
During her long lay-off, Iniong shared that she worked on her ground game to counter the size disadvantage she has during the majority of her bouts. “Kasi nagtraitraning din kami ng ground, yun na rin yung tinututukan talaga namin sa training,” she disclosed.
Iniong was supposed to fight in Pacific Xtreme Combat’s golden show last December in Guam. However, due to visa issues according to some reports, the bout did not come into fruition. “Nagtraining na po ako para sa laban na yun sa Guam. Tapos hindi natuloy,” she said about it. Fortunately for her, the PXC officials vowed that she will be included in the promotion’s debut at the Solaire Resort and Casino.
“Sabi nila na may card dito sa Manila at ta-try nila na isingit nila ako doon. Tinuloy tuloy ka na yung training.”
The Team Lakay member went up against Spaniard Vanessa Fernandez. Compared to Casey, the Spaniard was of equal size to Iniong physically. However, as the bout started, it was evident that the Spaniard had the power advantage. After Iniong clipped Fernandez that brought her opponent down to one knee, the Spaniard was able to grab a leg and the neck of the Filipina and in one motion throw her with a fireman’s carry takedown. “Nagulat ako nun,” Iniong quipped about it. “Nasa isip ko parang ang gaan-gaan ko lang.”
As the two warriors stood up, Iniong was able to grab the foot of her opponent and secure a foot lock. “Nung una ang gameplan ko talaga is striking,” Iniong confessed. “Pero nung pumunta kami sa ground, nahawakan ko na yung paa niya kaya tinuloy ko na.”
The footlock was tight resulting to a tap out after 30 seconds. This was Iniong’s fourth win in six fights. “Sobrang saya kasi first time ko nagamit yung footlock dito sa PXC,” she said.
The Filipina though just wants to enjoy the moment first before thinking of anything else, including her bright future in the sport. “Wala pa kasi gusto ko muna i-enjoy itong panalo na ito,” she closed.
However, knowing the culture built by the Philippines’ premier camp, Iniong already has a plan and is ready for the tough journey ahead.
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