UFC veteran Jenel Lausa finds new lease of life in boxing
Jenel Lausa was once at the top of the MMA world. The Filipino fighter had everything he ever wanted as an athlete in the sport, but lost it all after a three fight losing streak.
From 2014 to 2016 Lausa defeated every opponent that was thrown at him. That streak included a split decision win over Team Lakay’s Crisanto Pitpitunge that earned him the PXC flyweight title.
His remarkable run in the now-defunct Guam-based organization brought him to the attention of the UFC. In 2016 he was offered a multi fight deal, adding his name to the very short list of Filipinos to have fought for the promotion.
Lausa started off on the right foot, defeating Chinese foe Yao Zhikui via a lopsided unanimous decision in his promotional debut just two months after inking that exclusive UFC contract.
But after that three-round demolition of Yao things turned sour for Lausa. He suffered three consecutive defeats at the hands of foreign opposition.
The string of setbacks began in April 2017, where he dropped a unanimous decision to Russian prospect Magomed Bibulatov in front a passionate crowd in Buffalo, New York.
Lausa took another unanimous decision loss to American Top Team’s Eric Shelton, who cruised past him by using takedowns and dominance on the ground to comfortably beat the Filipino.
The final nail in the coffin for Lausa was in June 2018 when he succumbed to Ulka Sasaki’s rear-naked choke in the second round.
Following three-straight losses inside the Octagon, the UFC had no other choice but to hand him the dreaded pink slip.
“That’s life, and I had to move on,” the 31-year-old said.
“I did my best to at least get one win in my last three fights in the UFC, but it is what it is. There are winners and losers in the sport. I had to accept my fate,” he added.
Already having made it to the mecca of MMA the native of Iloilo, Philippines searched for another promotion. He did everything he could to explore the free-agent market but to no avail.
He couldn’t even get MMA promotions to return his calls. That’s when he decided to go back to boxing.
Lausa had moonlighted as a boxer to keep himself physically active while waiting for fight offers from his then-employer in MMA. He made his first boxing appearance in July 2014, having his hand raised by way of unanimous decision.
From then on, Lausa won six more bouts, including his split decision triumph over Jon Jon Estrada to clinch the interim PBF super bantamweight title.
His boxing career was temporarily shelved when he became part of the UFC roster as it contractually barred him from competing in other forms of combat sports.
When the UFC severed its ties with him, it allowed Lausa to once again lace up a pair of eight ounce boxing gloves.
“I love boxing. It is my first love and my first sport. A lot of promoters wanted me back in the boxing ring, so my wife and I talked about it. We came to a decision to compete in boxing again while weighing other options for me out there,” he said.
His comeback bout against former Philippine super bantamweight titlist Jhunriel Ramonal resulted in a majority decision win but Lausa saw that fight as a harsh lesson. It prompted him to acquire the services of former boxer Glenn Mondol as his new trainer.
In addition, he moved his residence to the Manila suburb of Makati to train at the MUMMA Fight Club. With a new team behind him, Lausa found further success winning three matches in a row.
In his most recent outing, Lausa knocked out Indonesian Carlos Lopez in the fifth round to capture the lightly regarded GBO Asia Pacific super featherweight title.
Owning an outstanding record of 10-0-1 with six knockouts, the future appears to be very bright for Lausa in boxing.
He might not be earning as much as he did during that UFC stint but Lausa is content to focus on his boxing career,
“I hope someday I can fight for a world title, but I am taking it one fight at a time. I am savoring each moment that I have in the sport of boxing. It’s not all about the money. My team and I are happy on how things are going, and it’s different if you do what you love and want most,” he said.
Lausa is not closing the door completely on MMA but feels more comfortable in the boxing ring for the time being,
“I am not retiring from MMA. I still can do both. But my focus is on boxing right now. I feel that I still have a lot to learn to be the best. It gives me a different type of challenge, and I am here to conquer that challenge and be successful for my family,” he declared.
Lausa’s next fight is scheduled to happen on October 19th in Hanoi, Vietnam. He is slated to lock horns with hometown favorite Nguyen Van Duong in a featherweight bout.