History will be made this Saturday night (Feb. 26, 2022) when Ramona Pascual becomes the first female fighter from Hong Kong to compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Pascual — a mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran since 2016 — has fought the majority of her career overseas and has accumulated a 6-2 record in the process as a Bantamweight and Featherweight. She made her U.S. debut at Invicta Fighting Championship 45 on Jan. 12, 2022, with a flawless one-minute technical knockout against Shamir Peshewa.
A change-up led to Peshewa entering in on short notice for the co-main event slot against Pascual, and now, coincidentally enough, Pascual’s UFC debut is coming in the same fashion. With Jennifer Gonzalez forced out of her scheduled matchup opposite Josiane Nunes at UFC Vegas 49, it provided the fateful opening Pascual was long awaiting.
“I’ve waited for this opportunity for so long and I’ve cornered teammates, I’ve been at the Apex. Just been amongst it all, I guess,” Pascual told MMAMania.com. “Being at the P.I. (Performance Institute) in Shanghai, everything’s sort of been set up and the ball’s been rolling since 2019 so it’s definitely gonna be surreal when I’m in there in the Venum gear and all that, but I’ve also visualized this moment for so long and so many times that it’s somewhat familiar.”
After spending the first half of her career in Hong Kong, Pascual would make the move to Las Vegas where she found a home at Syndicate MMA. Also competing this weekend is South Korea’s Ji Yeon Kim who trains alongside Pascual. Thus providing some extra comfort to what is ultimately new territory despite the decent familiarity with the organization.
The 33-year-old Pascual had hopes of fighting again in March so she’s remained in shape since the last time out and feels short notice can actually provide some anxiety relief and limit nerves.
“Oh, I’m ready,” Pascual said of her Nunes bout. “She’s aggressive, she’s a banger, gonna come out swinging. She’s gonna pressure forward and I’m definitely ready for that kind of challenge. Honestly, I can’t wait. I think the pressure is exciting and I really love that I’ll be able to do this.
“She’s only had one fight in UFC so not super experienced as far as Octagon fights go, so it’s kind of a good time and a good way for me to test myself as well.”
While the UFC debut will be contested in the 145-pound Featherweight class, Pascual intends to drop back down to 135-pounds long-term. This has been the plan prior to reaching the UFC, but now things have fast-tracked in a way and perhaps for the best.
“It’s a very competitive division and I am so excited to be a part of it,” she said. “I think there are a lot of great fighters in that division, a lot of veterans in that division, people that I’ve looked up to or just watched and followed for so long. It’ll be awesome for me to get in the mix and see how I measure up to them.”
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 49 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 7 p.m. ET.
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