Ramona Pascual ushering in fresh start after return victory and environmental changes

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Ramona Pascual continues to put Hong Kong on the map with her goal of reaching the UFC firmly in mind.

This past Friday saw the 32-year-old return from a two-year layoff at iKON 7. In doing so, Pascual put her opponent away in two minutes and 50 seconds with an Americana – her first submission win.

“I think there are so many different ways the fight could have gone,” Pascual told BJPenn.com. “I had options just because I had been so prepared. We’d been working on a lot of stuff on the ground, obviously, that top pressure, working on a lot of striking, footwork, head movement, and just some really simple combinations.

“I think the nature of this fight was just to get me back in there. My opponent was debuting, I’d seen a clip of her TKOing this other girl in an amateur bout. I never had any amateur fights so I was thinking maybe we had the same experience in terms of MMA fight experience. She could have fought maybe five times as an amateur and that would have been more or less the same as my pro career.”

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The action took place in hot Sinaloa, Mexico in the outdoor Benito Juarez Auditorium. A potentially rattling venue for some, Pascual found familiarity in the environment thanks to her Muay Thai background – alluding to the heat helping her get warmed up.

Pascual up and moved her life from Hong Kong to Las Vegas and joined the team at Syndicate MMA during her layoff. From a logistic point of view, the fight taking place in the States would have been “easier.”

However, Pascual noted that iKON was fantastic to work with and the event went smoothly so there are no complaints – especially after a triumphant outcome. Accompanied by roughly 30 people in the stands, it was about as pressure-relieving of a comeback fight that one could ask for.

“It was obviously not your typical Octagon/arena-type of deal,” Pascual said. “But I think the sort of casual nature ended up helping because then it’s just like less pressure in a way.”

For this matchup with Guadalupe Guzman, Pascual admits that she knew she was “supposed to win.” Therefore leading her to feel like she could take some risks and show off the toolbox a bit. Though, she still did want a quicker decisive win like what she got.

Aside from her teammates getting stuck at the border upon returning, things worked out great overall.

Pascual now intends to drop back down to bantamweight after this featherweight contest. Enjoying the process of being an MMA fighter to the fullest degree, her change of scenery has allowed her to eliminate any additional suffering that the job description can provide.

“I think our suffering and a lot of the overdoing it comes from a place of insecurity and thinking that we need to do more, that we haven’t done enough, this one extra session is gonna help us win the fight or whatever,” Pascual said. “It’s kind of in human nature, right? To think that more is more.

“Not saying that we’re resting all the time, we push really hard but it gets to the point where your training is the diminishing return. You’re hurting yourself more than you’re helping yourself. So finding that balance is different for everyone.”

Most notably alongside Pascual’s side in Vegas has been top-ranked UFC flyweight, Joanne Calderwood. Both fought this past weekend with mixed results, however, the assistance each provided each other with as not only training partners but friends has been supremely valuable.

“You judge these people by what you see in the Octagon, you don’t really see what they go through,” Pascual said. “It’s inspiring to see how far she’s come and the way that she’s able to handle such a high pressure. Like such a big-ticket fight and be at that level of her career. So it’s been nothing but beneficial.”

“The best thing is her sense of humor,” Calderwood said of Pascual at UFC 263 media day. “We can both banter between each other so it’s been a really fun camp but obviously the pros of her being bigger for me to deal with.”

Pascual expects her teammate to bounce back from her split decision loss to Lauren Murphy as she’s done time after time. As for herself, it’s just on to rolling with this renewed momentum and getting right back in there as soon as possible.

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM