Anabel Ortiz ended her 2022 campaign with a second straight win after a year to forget in 2021.

The former WBA strawweight titlist earned an eight-round, unanimous decision victory over Guatemala’s Maria Santizo, who often trains and fights in Mexico. Scores 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75 were in favor of Ortiz in their DAZN-aired junior flyweight bout Thursday evening from Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.

Both fighters shared a bond in suffering defeats to two-division champ and pound-for-pound entrant Seniesa Estrada (22-0, 9KOs) in 2021. Ortiz saw her lengthy WBA strawweight title reign come to an end last March in Fort Worth, Texas following a lopsided points loss to the East Los Angeles phenom, who knocked out Santizo in the fourth round of a title defense last December 19 in San Antonio.

Ortiz went on to drop a lopsided decision to Marlen Esparza in a failed WBC flyweight title bid on that same San Antonio show, before returning to the win column just 40 days ago in Mexico. The 36-year-old from Mexico City picked up her most significant victory in years following Thursday’s feat, consistently outworking Santizo in every round and impressing the judges with combination punches and effective aggression.

Santizo was able to beat Ortiz to the punch in round two. The 37-year-old from Guatemala City landed straight right hands on the shorter and stockier Ortiz, who returned to basics in round three as every combination and exchange began with a stiff jab.

Ortiz was able to slip or block most of the incoming, causing Santizo to expend energy after missing wide left hooks. Santizo went on the attack but was largely ineffective. Ortiz hit the deck late in the round, though accurately ruled a push by referee Thomas Taylor.

Instructions from both corners in the final round told the story of where things stood on the card. Ortiz was instructed to stick and move, while Santizo was urged to empty her gas tank and avoid ‘going home in tears like last time’ (her loss to Estrada).

Both carried out their orders to some degree. Ortiz was too tempted to stand and trade in moments where she saw openings. Santizo stood directly in front of the former titlist but was unable to land enough clean punches to make an impact.  

Ortiz improves to 33-5 (4KOs) with her second straight win. Santizo falls to 10-2 (6KOs), as she is winless in her two trips to the U.S.

Headlining the show, 20-year-old lightweight prodigy Floyd Schofield Jr. (11-0, 9KOs) faces faded former title challenger Daniel Rosas (22-5-1, 14KOs) in a scheduled eight-round contest.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox