Jackie Buntan has her sights set on Muay Thai gold in ONE Championship. But to score another title match with divisional queen Smilla Sundell, she first has to prove herself against Diandra Martin at ONE Fight Night 10: Johnson vs. Moraes III on Prime Video.
The strawweight Muay Thai matchup will kick off ONE’s U.S. debut event on Friday, May 5, at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo.
Buntan will enter this fight without much prior knowledge of Martin, as she has only watched her battles inside the Circle. But the Filipina-American star has gained a certain repect for her Aussie foe from studying what she has done in ONE.
“I only really heard of her when she joined ONE Championship, and those were the only fights I’ve watched from her, when she fought Smilla [Sundell] and also when she fought Amber [Kitchen]. I think after every loss, it depends on what you do with it, but I think she definitely came back better fighting Amber. She showed a lot more of her arsenal, her tool set,” Buntan said.
“She’s another tall girl. She has long legs. I think her strengths would be, it’s hard to tell because I’ll be honest, I haven’t even watched that Amber fight since it was live. I need to go back and just rewatch it, too. So I can’t tell you the exact strengths, but I would probably say maybe capitalizing her range. Those are the little things I remember from at least the Amber fight.”
A height and reach disadvantage is nothing new for the Boxing Works star. She has had to face it before and knows the issues that come along with it. Thus, she plans on finding new ways to get inside and land her incredible power strikes.
“It’s something I’ve dealt with my whole professional career and pretty much half of my amateur career. I’m not entirely too short, but I’m not tall, either. So I’ve always dealt with being the shorter person. And it’s really coming up with different ways of getting inside and staying inside. And I think I’ve done that in the past. Of course, Smilla is a different animal. Definitely, the tallest one I’ve fought before. But even with Ekaterina [Vandaryeva], my second fight in ONE Championship, I think she’s probably the same height as Diandra. I think they’re similar in height,” Buntan said.
The strawweight contender is adamant that the three-round bout will get the historic event started in style. Kicking off ONE’s first ever show in North America is a big responsibility, but Buntan believes it will spur her and Martin to come out ready to engage.
“It’s three rounds. You have to work from the get-go. How I think of it, how my coach has to think of it, of course, smartly, doesn’t mean you have to go in gungho, guns blazing, and run into shots you don’t have to run into. It’s just having that mindset. You got to be first. You got to be last. And while doing that, it’s implementing, even if I’m not striking. Implementing footwork to help me get closer in range and figure out how they respond to that,” she said.
The 25-year-old admits she is feeling the weight of carrying the banner for U.S. Muay Thai into ONE Fight Night 10. She knows she is playing a major role in helping the sport grow domestically but will not allow that to affect her performance in Colorado.
Buntan is confident she’ll stay true to her game and go hunting for a highlight-reel finish to restate her case for World Title contention.
“Of course, I see myself winning this fight. Whether it’s a stoppage or it goes all three rounds. I really want to be able to go out there and dominate and show a bigger arsenal, a bigger toolset that I’m able to do in training and just let that fly, let that happen, in real-time, when it matters most,” she said.
“I can’t give too many details about exactly what [I’ll attack with] because I’ll be working on various strategies for this camp, but an early night’s always nice. I think for any fighter in any discipline they’re in an early night is always a nice night.
ONE Fight Night 10 goes down from the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo. on Friday, May 5. The action gets underway at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Prime Video and is free for all U.S. and Canadian Amazon Prime subscribers.