Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) – February 28, 2021 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino-American Jackie Buntan debuted in the ONE Championship with a bang as she brought down rising Thai star Wondergirl Fairtex in their strawweight ONE Super Series muay thai duel at the Singapore Indoor Stadium Friday night.

The 23-year-old Buntan, born in California to Filipino parents, unleashed a jarring left hook that sent Fairtex hitting the mat face first.

It looked like the fight ended right there but Fairtex forced herself up, wobbled and beat the count. She, however, was never the same as the smaller Buntan dominated the fight with her speed and cunning to earn the unanimous decision win.

“We didn’t come all the way from LA and do nothing,” said Buntan, who trained under atomweight kickboxing champion Janet Todd.

While Buntan nailed her first victory, the two-time national muay champion absorbed her first defeat after winning her first two fights at ONE.

Buntan came in as the underdog and gave several inches to Fairtex but the former neutralised her size disadvantage with her speed.

“I was definitely viewed as an underdog, which is fine and it didn’t offend me at all,” said Buntan. “We knew she’s extremely taller but I think my speed and timing gave her trouble.”

Buntan acknowledged her Filipino fans and vowed to fight in the Manila someday.

“I love you all my Filipino fans. Hopefully I’ll be able to fight there when all these craziness goes away,” she said.

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