Ana "The Hurricane" Julaton - Photo: Stefan Romare/MMAnytt

Exclusive Interview with Ana ‘The Hurricane’ Julaton Ahead of Bellator 194

Ana Julaton faces Heather Hardy on the main card of Bellator 194 in Uncasville, Connecticut - and later rematches her in the boxing ring.

Luciana Bonifacio Julaton (2-3 MMA, 14-4-3 Boxing) grew up in a martial arts family and started taekwondo at 10 years old. After getting her black belt she switched to kempo karate, where she met her coach Angelo Reyes, who helped her get to one of her two world boxing titles.

Julaton eventually got her black belt and started taching Bok-Fu, a type of karate. Teaching was a strong passion for Julaton and she loved showing her students how much more they were actually capable of. Julaton has had a great career in boxing with IBO and WBO titles in super bantamweight, and was one of the fighters that had the quickest routes to the a world title ever (just 5 fights).

In February she enters the Bellator cage at  Bellator 194: Nelson vs. Mitrioneand faces multiple time boxing world champion Heather “The Heat” Hardy (1-1 MMA, 20-0 Boxing). MMAnytt was lucky enough to get invited to the Mayweather Boxing Gym last december to watch Julaton prepare for Hardy in one of the most iconic gyms in the world.

Ana Julaton and Angelo Reyes – Photo by Stefan Romare/MMAnytt

“What most gyms and training rooms were lacking though was the championship boxing experience, the experience of working with a Freddie Roach or Roger Mayweather and shadowing fighters like Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather.”

– Ana Julaton about the difference between MMA and Boxing gyms.

What was it like training with legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach?

“On top on preparing for the fights it was also like a school of study for me [Training at Wild Card Gym]. It was tough. There was alot of A-list fighters there like Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan was there, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. was there, Sean Porter and alot of phenomenal fighters from all over the world who would travel just to get some time at Wild Card and get some information from Freddie Roach.

I would actually shadow Manny Pacquiao, I’d do the runs with him in the morning and see how he would carry on with his day. And I would meet with Freddie in the later mornings, do the work out there and as I’m hydrating and recovering Manny would come in and he would start doing his training session with Freddie.”

“He [Roach] only trained two women in his career, the first one being Lucia Rijker and I was just very fortunate that he had someone like her to open up the door to have Freddie training with me. I also had the honor of inducting her into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame.”

What has been most difficult about switching from boxing to MMA?

“Just figuring out my style. Since I am a boxing world champion everyone wants to give their input. As a martial artist I just had to bite my lip and keep an open mind to try to understand and learn the MMA game.

What most gyms and training rooms were lacking though was the championship boxing experience, the experience of working with a Freddie Roach or a Roger Mayweather, shadowing fighters like Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather.

In my MMA fights – and you can ask my coach – I haven’t really focused on boxing, because I’m still trying to figure out the MMA game.”

Angelo Reyes and Ana Julaton – Photo by Stefan Romare/MMAnytt

How Frank Mir helped her MMA game…

“It’s easy in my opinion to get pulled away into different ways how to fight, especially with people with different backgrounds and different experiences and I think that is the biggest challenge. I really lucked out where I have someone like Frank Mir, where we also share the same coach and we all share a Kempo Karate Blackbelt, which helps alot with the dialogue.”

“If Frank Mir is explaining something in the grappling department wether it’s wrestling or BJJ, there are some things I won’t get right away but since Frank has a background in something that is similar to me, he can say it in terms a kempo karate practitioner can understand right away. That is so useful I think the art of teaching is where it’s at when it come to MMA.

Being able to say something profound, where the person you teaching it to can utilize it and it will stick with them forever. I would say that has been the biggest challenge for me in terms of me figuring who i am as a MMA fighter.”

About her opponent Heather Hardy coming back from the bloody loss to Kristina Williams..

“I think it [the loss] will effect her as any other fighter. No fighter likes to go in there on a loss, especially like she had, 36 stitches and stuff. To come out of that and want to get back into the fire and go through the heat – it’s a lot of weight to carry.”

“For me Im just excited to have this particular matchup. Those who follow us in boxing we’ll have the interest of people there, also the people who are big MMA fans, we’re able to combine this large audience who can see this event where it hasn’t been any before.

Me and Heather will fight in the cage and then in the boxing ring. So it’s kinda of like the Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather fight, except you will be able to see both fighters in both arenas.”

Heather Hardy bloody after her last loss – Photo by MMAjunkie

In which sport she feels most confident in victory…

“For me personally I’d have to say both, you are asking me while im in the middle of camp. Today I had some hard rounds of sparring and had to hydrate and get back into the gym and do my work and then my road work, im in the trenches of all of it. If there is anything im looking at straight ahead is a win, on both sides, wethers its in the cage or in the ring. Thats my honest answer in that sense.

I’m not sure yet [if any titles are up for grabs in boxing]. I have a great team around me that keeps me focused, all I have to do is work, recover, repeat and get ready for February 16th.”

About Roy Nelson vs. Matt Mitrione…

” Its gonna be an explosive fight. Mitrione just won by KO over Fedor Emelianenko and Nelson from what ive seen in the past, he has a hammering right hand and I think it will be explosive. I noticed with the GP that all the heavyweights really only have to worry about 3×5 rounds, so its a sprint,they dont have to worry about championship rounds.”

“So I expect to see alot of explosiveness. Whoever will start first, get rocked first, i see someone going down. Which one? I dont know. I have no idea. I was there for the Chael Sonnen vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson fight and that was super competitive and I think its really gonna come down to that day, who is gonna have the better decision making that day.”

Ana Julaton warming up at Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas. – Photo by: Stefan Romare

Who she thinks will win the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix…

“Chaels fight was phenomenal, his footwork was a big factor in terms of moving around. He had a little bit more finesse and was able to utilize it to start taking Rampage down in the later rounds. But in terms of winning the whole thing, oh man. I gotta go with my guy Frank Mir.”

“We’re in the same team he’s training along side my coach Angelo Reyes and you know, the GP just looking at all of them, one of my good friends too is King Mo, he is great, Chael is also a great friend. There is alot of people in the tournament thats really gunning for it, but I have to go with my teammate Frank Mir.”


Publicerat av den 27 december 2017

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Stefan Romare is a reporter for MMAnytt and produces content in both English and Swedish.