Banario in ‘Cloud 9’ after One FC win-A A +A
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
TWO days after winning the One Fighting Championship (ONE FC) featherweight crown, Team Lakay’s Honorio Banario still could not believe his destiny after beating fellow Filipino and previously undefeated Erick Kelly.
“I can’t explain my happiness right now. I still can’t believe that I’m a champion,” said the 23-year-old former Criminology student.
Banario defeated Kelly via a technical knockout in the fourth round of their scheduled fifth round encounter that headlined the One Fighting Championship dubbed Return of Warriors at the sold out Stadium Putra in Malaysia.
The two Filipino warriors went back and forth in a striking duel. The finish came in the fourth round as Banario won the striking battle with a punch that staggered Kelly.
Banario engaged Kelly in what was mostly a stand-up war and surprised his favored opponent with a big left hook early in the fourth round. This saw Kelly covering up his eye and the referee calling an end to the fight.
The two Filipinos set up the clash for the title after notching impressive finishes in the ONE FC fight card held in Manila last August.
Kelly completed a much talked-about stoppage of former UFC star Jens Pulver while Banario notched a third-round TKO of another Filipino, Andrew Benibe. It was announced later the two would meet in a fight to crown the first ever ONE FC featherweight title.
It was Banario who stepped into the limelight, though, winning the featherweight belt and handing Kelly his first ever MMA loss.
But Banario had to shed at least seven kilos or at least 2.5 lbs as he became overweight during the weigh in which is limited to 145 lbs.
“Good thing my conditioning was okay that’s why we were able to pull through,” added Banario.
In the co-main event of the night, Shinichi Kojima defeated Team Lakay's Rey Docyogen via submission.
The Japanese veteran showed toughness in defeating his Filipino opponent, who was largely winning the standup battle but Kojima showed his experience by pulling off a guillotine choke in the clinch and pulled guard to finish the fight.
It will be Docyogen’s first defeat after winning ten straight fights, all of them inside the Philippine-based MMA promotion, the Universal Reality Combat Championship.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 05, 2013.