Nobody knew who Angelie Sabanal was until she pulled off a major upset in her professional mixed martial arts debut against Rika Ishige on the undercard of ONE: IRON WILL this past March at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
Sabanal, 29, utilized her masterful Muay Thai for three five-minute rounds en route to a unanimous decision nod to topple a local favorite such as Ishige.
Tasked to lock horns with yet another local darling in Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol on ONE: WARRIOR'S DREAM this Saturday, 17 November at Stadium Istora in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sabanal looked back on her first win as a mixed martial artist before sharing the cage with the Indonesian SEA Games Wushu Bronze Medalist.
"I did not know what to do. Do I celebrate or do I cry? I was really surprised because I did not expect the outcome. I couldn’t explain the feeling at the exact moment my name was announced as the winner," shel shared.
"I could not believe it because people were telling me that I should compete in the local scene first before I get my chance in ONE Championship. Aside from that, my opponent was clearly more experienced than me. Getting the victory over Rika is like winning a world championship," Sabanal added.
Doing the seemingly impossible is not new for the Filipina striker. Before shifting her focus to mixed martial arts, Sabanal tried her wares in the local Muay Thai scene that saw her bag a silver medal despite having to go up in weight.
"I enrolled in Muay Thai classes purely for fitness and self-defense. It took me five years to finally try to compete in Muay Thai because it never crossed my mind to compete nor become a fighter," she said.
"I got silver, despite the fact that I am naturally a 49-kilogram competitor. I was supposed to fight in the 50-kilogram category, but unfortunately, I didn’t have any opponent. I decided to fight in a higher weight class. Fortunately, I finished the tourney with a silver medal in hand," Sabanal continued.
Sabanal's mindset is all about winning her second bout in ONE Championship. She dedicates her upcoming match to her team and country, citing it is what keeps her going in the world professional competition.
"I want to win again because I want to give back to my gym and the people who love and support me. I am competing for my country. Everything I do is for all of them and as long as I can do this, I will keep doing this," she explained.
Just like her mentality before she shared the ONE Championship cage with Ishige, Sabanal has little regard for fame ahead of her scheduled three-round atomweight tiff against Lumban Gaol.
According to Sabanal, all she wants is to make her mark to the audience before the night ends.
"I don’t mind if they have no idea who I am before the fight. What matters most is that the fans in Jakarta will remember me after the match. Surely, I will do my best in my upcoming bout this Saturday," she ended.
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