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Boxing champ and MMA fighter Ana Julaton breaks down Ronda Rousey vs Holly Holm

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Boxing world champion turned MMA fighter, Ana Julaton discusses the upcoming UFC bout between Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Ronda Rousey's next title defense happens against Holly Holm, a former boxing world champion with a diverse kickboxing game. Although every opponent the champ faces will surely be a huge underdog in the books, this is probably the single most stylistically intriguing match-up they can put together currently.

To discuss the high profile match up, Bloody Elbow spoke to a person coming from a similar background in Ana Julaton, a former boxing champ currently 3-fights in her young MMA career. The 'Hurricane', who held WBO and IBA titles and also has black belts in traditional martial arts, spoke about the chances of the current challenger.

"It all depends on how Holm manages herself in a 25 minute title fight, or if her camp devised a plan to KO Rousey with strikes," Julaton told Bloody Elbow about the UFC 193 headliner. "With Holm's style, she is a natural mover, meaning she utilizes distance to set up her punches and kicks. Also, Holm is a southpaw, so her angles and positioning can be different than Rousey's other opponents who all fought conventional."

"In boxing, Holm fights from the first minute to the last, sticking to a gameplan of potshotting and movement, or catching a flat footed fighter with kicks in her MMA fights. Can she keep that up in the allotted time? Will Holm make Rousey work for her Judo throws and does she have counters for it?"

While Julaton suggested that their contrasting styles will play a factor, she believed that climbing that mountain and securing a win over the biggest star in the sport could all boil down to their mental approach.

"It depends if Holm uses such tactics and not fall to a 1-dimensional fighter because she was 'caught up' in the moment of the all the hype," Julaton explains. "It will be interesting to see how the fight will play out. Holm has some skill, experience, and is in tremendous shape, but I really think her performance will be dictated on her attitude towards the fight."

"Does she believe she is better than Rousey, or not? I think that's why Rousey is undefeated and is the champ -- she has that mental edge over everyone and it translates in her performances."

"It's important for any fighter who has an opportunity to fight on a big stage, to have an effective camp where the hype doesn't affect the fighter and the trainers. If Holm believes she is the best fighter in the world, her skills and physical talents will translate in the cage. In other words, technique and strategy won't work if she doesn't believe in herself. The same goes for her coaches. Can or did they create a solid camp where emotion doesn't affect strategy? At the end of the day, it's about who prepared better."

Julaton still competes in both boxing and MMA, and when talking about the UFC card expected to be a blockbuster hit, she notes that it is the kind of event that has the potential to be a catalyst for growing the market for women. She says it could be massive not only for MMA, but for female combative athletes in general.

"The Holm vs Rousey event is unique for all female fighters," Julaton said. "Given the stage and mainstream attention the fight has been receiving, it should open more opportunities for women fighters in other combat sports like boxing, Glory kickboxing, etc."

"If the PPV numbers continue to be significant, it should kindle the interest of boxing promoters and networks to incorporate female fighters in boxing events and promotions, since women boxers are not featured in any," she continued. "What MMA worldwide has done in making women fighters the main and co-main events of several events over the past year has shown the growth and brilliance of MMA as a mainstream sport -- something that boxing has been lacking for years."

"Hopefully this inspires changes for the better in the sport of boxing, otherwise you will see the trend continue of more athletes who begin boxing at a young age start to also learn other martial arts and shift into MMA because the sport provides more opportunities than Boxing overall whether male or female."

Photo via Ana Julaton

Ana Julaton training with Ricky Lundell (Photo via AnaJulaton.com)

As for her own career, Julaton is a boxing world champion with black belts in Kenpo Karate and Taekwondo. She's had 3 bouts in her young MMA career, and the Filipino-American constantly credits her coaches for the strides she's made in both sports.

Julaton trained under Freddie Roach from her pro-debut up until winning her WBO world boxing title, and was featured on the same stable as other Filipino boxing legends in Gerry Penalosa and Manny Pacquiao. She now hones her striking with Roach's protege in Angelo Reyes, and rounds out her MMA game working with Ricky Lundell and Frank Mir.

"(Lundell) is amazing and I'm truly grateful that they communicate and took the time to learn about each other's style and background," Julaton says about the chemistry between coaches. "Everyone in the team understands their roles and respects the hierarchy, which I think makes everyone's job easier, especially mine as the fighter. There's clarity and threads of continuity that makes sense and I think that's something a lot of fighters don't experience. It's easy to get caught up and learn so many different things from different coaches."

"Standup and grappling are two completely different worlds. It takes a lifetime to understand all the virtues of boxing and I feel the same about folkstyle wrestling and jiu-jitsu," Julaton said about transitioning to MMA and rounding out her game. "I'm thankful to learn from the likes of Ricky Lundell and Frank Mir, and as a student of the game, I look forward to getting better each day. My understanding of MMA has immensely changed from a year ago and I don't think I would have understood what I know now if I trained with someone else."

"I look forward to a great performance at the Mall of Asia Arena. My first three MMA fights are a wash, so anyone studying it won't have any idea of how I am as a fighter."

Ana was a world champion boxer at 122 lbs, and will next compete in Manila at the MMA flyweight division. If the UFC eventually comes calling, Julaton says she wouldn't mind competing at either division. She added that a drop to strawweight could be in the cards.

"For 125 lbs, I make a conscious effort to not (walk around) past 140 lbs," Julaton said about her weight. "115 lbs is a possibility. The reason why I fight at 125 lbs is because I am still active in boxing at 122 lbs."

"I think I have a great advantage whether I fight at flyweight or any UFC strawweight because no one has the knowledge and experience I've had in boxing. There's something that boxing teaches a fighter during adversity and there's something to be said about that. I know I bring something to the cage no one in my division has ever seen."

Follow me on twitter -- @antontabuena