Barely five months since she was last seen in action, Filipina warrior Gina “Conviction” Iniong, 28, is raring to enter the ONE Championship cage once more with an attempt to put herself back on the winning track. Her most recent outing did not go her way as she suffered a unanimous decision loss to Japanese rival Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi, 35, in their rematch at “ONE: Immortal Pursuit” on November 24, 2017.
After dealing with Iniong’s signature right hand and takedowns in the first round, Yamaguchi turned the tide in the second round by resorting to her superb grappling pedigree. On the canvas, the Japanese fighter continuously pummeled her Filipino opponent with thudding strikes and tried to bring the bout to a close with savvy submissions attempts.
Yamaguchi punctuated the marquee match-up by grinding out Iniong in the third frame, steering the former world title contender to a unanimous decision victory. The latter recalled, “It was a tough loss.”
“I was prepared for that bout, but I didn’t perform the way I should against a veteran like Mei Yamaguchi,” the Team Lakay fighter added. “She did her homework against me.”
On November 10, 2017, Iniong knocked out Priscilla Lumban Gaol at “ONE: Legends of the World.” When reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela “Unstoppable” Lee was injured weeks before “ONE: Immortal Pursuit,” she was replaced Iniong as Yamaguchi’s opponent.
“I’ve taken the defeat in a good spirit,” Iniong stated. “It’s back to square one for me, but I am not afraid to start again. It’s not a defeat. I think of it as a beneficial lesson.”
With the drive to reinsert her name into the winner’s column, Iniong chose not to wallow over her setback to Yamaguchi as she jumps right back into action by squaring off with another ex-world title challenger in Jenny “Lady GoGo” Huang, 27, of Chinese Taipei on the undercard of “ONE: Heroes of Honor,” which takes place at the 20,000-seater SM Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines on April 20, 2018.
“ONE: Heroes of Honor” will be headlined by Andrew Leone of the United States and Iniong’s fellow Team Lakay fighter Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon. Meanwhile, here is a clip featuring the bout between Huang and Lee on March 11, 2017: