Beaten but unbowed, Ramona Pascual vows to return a better fighter

Hong Kong fighter taps out after an arm bar in the third round against Jennifer Norris in their IMPI World Series women’s lightweight title fight

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 April, 2017, 12:02am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 April, 2017, 12:51pm

Ramona Pascual discovered just how brutal the mixed martial arts game can be when she struggled to find a way through the range of opponent Jennifer Norris, and then tapped out when the fighters finally hit the mat and she was caught in an arm bar late in the third round of their bout at Southorn Indoor Stadium on Saturday night.

It meant the IMPI World Series women’s lightweight title heads off to Singapore – and Pascual now goes back to the gym. She was beaten but unbowed as she vowed to return with more guns in her armoury.

“I’m disappointed but she was tough,” said the 28-year-old Hongkonger. “I couldn’t find a way through her range and she fought a very smart fight. I took her down and thought I could take her but there was no chance.”

The loss dropped Pascual’s record to 2-1 and will have her looking further afield in terms of both developing her skills set, and of future bouts.

The plan is to sound out the famed Kings MMA gym in West Hollywood, somewhat of a star factory when it comes to MMA and the preferred choice these days of her partner and one-time Hong Kong-based UFC star Alberto Mina.

UFC star Alberto Mina throws his weight behind Hong Kong’s Ramona Pascual

The Brazilian was looking on through the wire as Pascual set to work but it was evident from the early exchanges that Norris would be able to draw upon superior reach in both arms and legs. Pascual’s frustration grew, as did Norris’ confidence, despite the American wearing a few lefts to head late in the second round.

It became increasingly clear that the local’s only hope was to get down and dirty but Norris was wise to the plan and slipped the arm bar in within seconds of Pascual bringing her down.

There’s plenty of promise, but also plenty of work ahead for the Hong Kong hope.

‘Getting punched in the face is a walk in the park’: Hong Kong’s Ramona Pascual on training for her MMA title fight

The 12-fight card proved a resounding success for the fledgling IMPI organisation as it continues to champion the sport in Hong Kong.

The undercard was filled with a mixture of local and international fighters, of both professionals and those who aspire to be so.

Best of them all was locally based Brazilian super heavyweight Ederson Macedo (9-4), who took 26 seconds to leave mismatched South Korean Hong Ji-won (1-1) down and out, and wondering whether the flight here was really worth it.

Macedo put the icing on his win by proposing to his girlfriend Melina Juergens during his victory speech. She’d flown in all the way from England, and – thankfully – she accepted.

Norris moved to 3-0 with the title win and revealed she had poured over tapes of Pascual’s previous bouts with her coaches back at the Method MMA gym in the Mid-Atlantic US state of Maryland.

Norris splits her time between the US and Singapore, where she teaches art and trains out of the Juggernaut Fight Club.

A rising shiner above her right eye showed Pascual had found her mark at times, but Norris said she had never really been in trouble.

“I was working with mad people in the lead-up to this fight,” said Norris. “I came to Hong Kong looking for an upset. I didn’t feel she was stunned in the first round.

“I landed some good shots, but she kept pushing forward. I think she started to lose steam by the third round and she was going for takedowns, but I’m really confident on the ground.”