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ONE 157: What's next for Nat Jaroonsak after first mixed martial arts win?

Nat Jaroonsak (left) reacts after her victory over Zeba Bano at ONE 157

Nat "Wondergirl" Jaroonsak initially catapulted her name into the Muay Thai world by winning her first two fights in ONE Championship. But after losing to Jackie Buntan at ONE: FISTS OF FURY in February 2021, she shifted to mixed martial arts.

It was a surprising change for the 23-year-old fighter who also happens to be a two-time National Muay Thai Champion in Thailand.

But after switching sports, Jaroonsak found herself against India's Zeba Bano at ONE 157: Petchmorakot vs. Vienot, which was by no means an easy contest.

Nicknamed "Fighting Queen," the pride of Haryana won all her MMA contests, with more than half of them being early finishes. In fact, Bano's last four victories came by technical knockout in the first round. She is also a gold medalist in wushu and kickboxing at the national level.

Despite the formidable opponent, Wondergirl made her MMA debut look easy.

After some exchanges inside the clinch, the Thai competitor landed a knee on Bano's forehead before dragging her down and locking on the armbar. The Indian competitor tapped out, giving Jaroonsak her first MMA victory in 82 seconds.

That victory improved her combined record inside the Circle to 3-1 and was a perfect way to bounce back from her defeat to Buntan. After her win, she shared with ONE commentator Mitch Chilson that she wants to have more MMA fights before returning to ONE Super Series.

In that case, will she push for a fight with the top contenders in the women's strawweight division? Going up against Ayaka Miura or Dayane Cardoso, for example, would be a perfect test for her MMA skills. Other fighters like Michelle Nicolini or Tiffany Teo are also definitive litmus tests to determine if she's on the right track in the all-encompassing sport.

Moreover, Jaroonsak could be a few steps closer to challenging Xiong Jing Nan for the ONE Women's Strawweight World Championship if she continues to win. Or she can also avenge her loss to Buntan and face ONE Women's Strawweight Muay Thai World Champion Smilla Sundell if she defeats the Filipino-American.

Wondergirl is just getting started in ONE Championship. But her MMA victory should put the rest of the division on notice because there's a new warrior on the block.

ONE Championship returns to action with ONE 158 on 3 June at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Download the ONE Super App or visit ONEFC.com to stay updated with the latest news on another thrilling fight card.

Source: Media Release

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Story first published: Thursday, May 26, 2022, 11:01 [IST]
Other articles published on May 26, 2022