Mei Yamaguchi takes on Denice Zamboanga at ONE King of the Jungle. The event goes on Friday, February 28th and emanates from Singapore Indoor Stadium. Yamaguchi is perhaps most known for a pair of riveting title fights with Angela Lee albeit in efforts she came up short both times. Since that second championship bid though, Yamaguchi has put together a four-fight win streak with a couple of armbar finishes in there. She is poised to secure yet another title fight this calendar year but she must impress against Zamboanga before any of that.
ONE King of the Jungle
Competing for zero live fans has created some mixed feelings among the mixed martial arts competitors set for ONE King of the Jungle. When I asked for Yamsguchi’s thoughts on the crowd dynamic, or lack thereof, she said “When I started to fight in MMA, it was normal to have not too big crowds. Kinda used to it. But it’s not like I didn’t have any of the audience. So it’s kind of curious how it’s going to go but for me, it’s not going to affect that much.”
Yamaguchi has made individual strides while being cognizant of what her undefeated adversary will be bringing to the table. Mei Yamaguchi stated, “Usually I check my opponent’s fights a little bit but I try to concentrate on how I move. So I can always control the fight. I know that she’s really aggressive. Very balanced in both Boxing and ground games. She’s always aggressive so that’s the only thing I need to be aware of.”
Mei Yamaguchi has made big strides in her cardio game this camp. High altitude gym work has Yamaguchi curious as to how her game will change overall.
Yamaguchi’s wealth of submission finishes couple with her Shoot Boxing experience really makes her a well rounded martial artist wherever the fight goes. But Mei Yamaguchi does have her preferences though. Yamaguchi remarked, “I’m always comfortable in any situation. But I believe it’s pretty easy to go for the ground game. So hopefully it will turn out like that.”
The growth that Mei Yamaguchi has been able to have alongside the promotion has certainly been a mutually beneficial partnership. The growth has been measurable and obvious on both ends.
Yamaguchi said, “When I first fought against Anglea Lee, there was like no poster in the town. I was really kind of worried. Is it really going on? That was my first impression but gradually it’s growing really really big. Now I see a lot of posters, taxis have ONE Championship picture on it, and now there’s a lot of Japanese fighters fighting in ONE Championship.”
The more things change the more they stay the same. Angela Lee was Mei Yamaguchi’s main focus, since her debut opponent was Lee, and the reigning ONE strawweight champion is sill in her crosshairs. Yamaguchi quipped, “ONE Championship is planning to do the big show in Japan in October. So hopefully I can fight on that card for the title against Angela Lee.”
In summation, Yamaguchi stated, “As a fighter, it’s really important to keep fighting. I’m really glad that ONE Championship is giving me that chance every time.”