Mei Yamaguchi used heavy top pressure and ground and pound to outwork Gina Iniong for three rounds at ONE: Immortal Pursuit in Singapore.
Iniong, who had taken on the task of battling Yamaguchi on short notice, looked like the more powerful of the two martial artists in the early stages of the contest. After being trapped against the cage by Iniong, who had secured double under hooks, Yamaguchi made the most of referee Olivier Coste’s decision to reset the contest in the middle of the cage. Once separated, it didn’t take long for Yamaguchi to impose her will.
She employed her wide karate stance and excellent timing to launch devastating strikes toward Iniong. As Iniong moved forward to clinch, Yamaguchi shifted levels and pulled guard. Once they hit the mat, Yamaguchi swept Iniong and landed in her full guard. This move proved dangerous, however. Iniong trapped one of Yamaguchi’s arms and attempted an armbar submission. Yamaguchi, aware of the danger, rained down heavy elbows with her other arm and forced Iniong to give up the submission attempt.
The second round was all Mei Yamaguchi. After securing a takedown and transitioning into half guard just 40 seconds into the round, she dominated the Team Lakay martial artist with heavy top pressure and consistent striking.
Yamaguchi constantly swapped between side control, full mount, and back control, while striking Iniong in the head and body. The strikes weren’t significant, but the accumulation was visibly frustrating for Iniong. The biggest moment of the contest was toward the end of round two. Yamaguchi secured head and arm control and passed over Iniong’s body with ease. Much like the contest just before, Yamaguchi attempted to submit Iniong with an arm-triangle choke.
However, Iniong managed to survive the submission attempt by turning her body toward the Japanese fighter. Unable to finish the submission, Yamaguchi took the back of her opponent and unloaded a series heavy strikes to finish the round.
The third and final round played out much the same as the earlier two. Yamaguchi, who was now aware of her significant advantage on the canvas, took Iniong down to the ground and outworked her there when possible.
By the end of the three rounds, the decision was clear; Mei Yamaguchi defeated Gina Iniong won the contest via unanimous decision.
In the post-fight interview Yamaguchi called for a rematch with Angela Lee:
“I want to fight Angela Lee to get my revenge. Rest up and recover, I want to rest too. When you’re ready, I will come to Singapore to win the belt.”
Jake is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief, based in Tasmania, Australia.