Fil-Kiwi Abelardo seeks to barge into win column against American foe

Published March 3, 2021, 7:04 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Photo from ONE Championship

Filipino-Kiwi fighter Mark Abelardo is looking to barge into the winning column of ONE Championship against American foe Emilio Urrutia on Friday, March 5.

Abelardo, who has lost three of his last four fights since May 2019, vowed to come back stronger with refined striking in the hopes of adding a glimmer of hope to his dismal showing in the bantamweight division recently.

The 29-year-old Abelardo, who was born and raised in New Zealand to Filipino parents, said he is feeling more confident and ready — both physically and mentally — ahead of  ONE: Fists of Fury II at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

“In my last fights, I wasn’t there a hundred percent. I wasn’t physically in the best condition that I can be. This time, I’ve made some adjustments, trained a lot harder, and I’ve had more time to prepare,” Abelardo told ONE Championship in a recent interview. “Preparation is key coming into this fight. I definitely feel ready. I’ve just been working a lot these past six weeks, getting my conditioning as good as I can.

“I’ve been doing a lot of roadwork, a lot of hard rounds with the top guys in the gym. They’ve just been pushing me to my breaking point and it’s something I’m going to bring into this fight. It’s going to take a lot to stop me.”

It was an unfortunate 2020 for Abelardo after losing to American Troy Worthen via unanimous decision in February before suffering another defeat at the hands of Brazilian opponent Fabricio Andrade by way of submission in July.

This time around, Abelardo, who holds a 19-8 record, will be facing another brawler in Urrutia.

Like Abelardo, the 34-year-old Urrutia, who has an 11-7 slate, is currently on a three-match losing streak since April 2018. He last saw action in February 2019 and suffered a third-round knockout loss against Yoshiki Nakahara of Japan.

“I want to be the one pushing the pace. I want to be controlling where the fight goes, and just look to break him down,” said Abelardo.

Both Abelardo and Urrutia are training in their respective camps in Thailand. The Fil-Kiwi warrior is holed up in Fairtex Training Center in Pattaya while the American striker is with the Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket.