Pinoy pride at stake in One FC

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014


FILIPINO mixed martial arts fans will have something to cheer on when four Filipinos and one Fil-Am battle it out for cage honors in ONE Fighting Championship: Rise of Heroes at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena on May 2 starting at 7 p.m.

These Filipinos and one Fil-Am will figure in five of the 10 explosive fight cards to be beamed around the world to more than 500 million viewers by partner channels of ONE FC, considered the biggest MMA organization in Asia.

Adding to the excitement are the 15 foreigners who are coming in to see action in the same cage with the Filipinos led by Brazilian bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes, who will be staking his title against Japanese Masakatsu Ueda.

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The Filipino fighters will be bannered by Team Lakay's Eduard Folayang, who is expected to have a tough fight for lightweight honors against Japanese knockout artist Kotetsu Boku in the co-main event.

Both fighters come from a win. Boku registered a first-round knockout victory over Arnaud Lepont at ONE FC 14 in March, while Folayang took a decision from Dutch-Indonesian Vincent Latoel at ONE FC 13 in December at the MOA Arena.

Another Team Lakay fighter, Rey Docyogen, is looking forward to snatching his first ONE FC win in the flyweight division after being without fight for 11 months.

A former pinweight champion of the URCC, he suffered two successive defeats at ONE FC, the first at ONE FC 7 against Shinichi Kojima and the second at ONE FC 9 in a split decision to Yasuhiro Urushitani. This time he will be facing Guam-based Joshua Alvarez, who has an impressive record of 12 wins, nine of which were by submission.

Another Filipino, Eugene Toquero, will be facing undefeated Malaysian-American Gianni Subba. Although Toquero has tasted his first loss at the ONE FC event last December against compatriot Geje Eustaquio, his experience in the cage is expected to make the difference against Subba, who has only three MMA fights thus far.

Jujeath Nagaowa, the first Filipina fighting under ONE FC, will be squaring off with Indian seven-time kickboxing champion Jeet Toshi, who is also considered India’s pioneer for female MMA. Nagaowa has cut her teeth in Asian boxing before making the switch to MMA being a former WBC Asia Atomweight champion.

MMA fans, Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike, are anticipating the first appearance in the octagon cage of Fil-Am world female boxing champion Ana Julaton after she decided to make the switch. She will test her newly acquired MMA skills against champion kick boxer Aya Saeid Saber of Egypt.

ONE FC chief executive Victor Cui described the Julaton-Saber fight as “explosive” as both love to engage. “Filipinos and MMA fans around the world will surely like this match between two explosive fighters on May 2,” he said.

The main event on May 2 is between Brazilian Bibiano Fernandes and Japanese Masakatsu Ueda. Fernandes has won seven straight fights, including all three of his fights for ONE FC by unanimous decision. He hasn’t lost in more than three years.

Ueda, a former Shooto featherweight champion, has won three straight fights with ONE FC, including one against Team Lakay’s Kevin Belingon at ONE FC 9, and has defeated some MMA legends.

The other exciting bouts are between top Australian featherweight prospect Rob Lisita and Japanese featherweight champion Yusuke Kawanago in the bantamweight division; Japanese Tatsuya Mizuno and Brazilian Leandro Ataidas in the middleweight division; English James McSweeney and Australian Chris Lokteff in the heavyweight division, and Burmese Aung La Sang and Egyptian Mahmoud Salama in the middleweight division. (PR)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 01, 2014.

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