Promotional debutante Laura “The Gladiadora” Balin, a South American contender with a 90 percent finishing rate, is planning to shock the world as she squares off with a rising Chinese martial arts superstar in her maiden assignment under ONE Championship.
Balin is slated to challenge China’s Xiong Jing Nan for the ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship in the main event of ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER, which takes place at the Studio City Event Center in Macau on June 23.
Both competitors are known for their striking prowess as well as their grappling savvy, guaranteeing a thrilling action-packed encounter between the two female strawweights.
“This will be a fight of two cobras taking very careful shots at each other,” Balin stated. “I am sure it will be a very intense and interesting fight. I am sure that I will surprise everyone in my debut.”
The 38-year-old Argentinian hopes to make a huge impact in her ONE Championship debut as she will enter enemy territory with a chance to capture world title gold in her first promotional appearance.
Balin, who has faced some stiff competition in South America, has emerged with one of the most impressive records in the Latin American region.
Known by the moniker “The Gladiadora” due to her never-say-die attitude, she will be bringing her skills across the globe to test herself against the first-ever Chinese mixed martial arts world champion.
Prior to becoming one of South America’s most successful female mixed martial artists, Balin was a kindergarten teacher at a local school in Argentina.
A mother to two sons, aged 18 and 14, Balin adored a simple kind of life but things changed when her husband, Guillermo, convinced her to give kickboxing a try and offered to be her trainer.
It did not take long for Balin to fall in love with the striking discipline, and she soon decided to leave her teaching career behind for a new adventure in combat sports.
“I started practicing kickboxing in 2008 or 2009. I made my debut when I was 30 years old in that discipline, and in 2011, I began competing in mixed martial arts,” she shared. “I did have to make some changes in my life because I was a teacher. I taught at a school, and I had to leave that job to commit to this as long as possible.”
Balin acknowledged that she got a late start in mixed martial arts, but her dedication to the craft eventually turned her into one of the most talented strawweights in South America.
“It is a feeling that few have, knowing what to do. Very few people get that feeling. But when I started this, I suddenly knew what I wanted to do all my life,” she bared. ”Martial arts is in my blood. I had learned so many techniques that I wanted to try it.”
“I enjoy every day of practice in the gym. I love the constant challenges that this sport brings to me, so when it came to pursuing mixed martial arts professionally, I simply wanted to see how far I could go. It is an amazing experience,” Balin added.
Balin has experienced success since making her professional mixed martial arts debut in October 2011, compiling an eye-catching 10-2 record.
Out of her 10 total victories, nine have come by spectacular finish, including five submissions and four knockouts.
Balin will now leave her home country and travel thousands of miles across the world to challenge Xiong for her ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship in Macau.
“Any goal that you want, you need to work towards it every day. Find that goal. Find that one thing that you are passionate about and hold on to it. You do not always need to get punched to follow your dream, but you do need to take a few blows with every goal that you really care about,” she said.
Even if she is setting foot on foreign soil for the first world title contest of her career, Balin assures that she is in no way intimidated with her opponent’s hometown advantage.
“It is not something I worry about really. It is more of an incentive. I do not really take into consideration if I am on the home side or the visitor side. I am going to give my best all the same,” she stressed.
Although Xiong may be riding a wave of momentum due to her impressive winning streak, Balin is not overly concerned about the opposition that is in front of her on 23 June.
“I see many ways that this fight could go,” she declared. “Fighters always need to be prepared for a variety of different outcomes. I have to get ready to beat her within five rounds. This will be a long fight, and I need to prepare for it.”
Balin may take a few blows from Xiong at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER, but she cares about achieving victory and is willing to eat a few punches to get her arm raised with a gold-plated strap draped over her shoulder.
“Whenever I step inside the cage or ring, nobody knows what is going to happen, so I am focusing on getting the win, and not on the pressure of getting it. I am ready to fight for the title and bring it home to Argentina,” she concluded.