Thursday, June 27, 2019

Team Lakay, Evolve showdown looms in ONE

CLASH OF THE TITANS. Team Lakay’s Honorio Banario (left) and Edward Kelly (right) will seek another victory inside the cage when they meet Evolve’s Amir Khan and Christian Lee. (Photo by ONE Championship)

TWO of the best mixed martial arts gym in Asia today battle for supremacy as two Team Lakay and Evolve MMA fighters will be pitted in the fight card of One Championship’s ‘Beyond the Horizon’ slated September 8.

The event will be topbilled by China’s own Xiong Jing Nan defending her women’s strawweight world championship against Brazilian newcomer Samara Santos in Shanghai, China.

In the co-main event, former featherweight world champion and top contender Honorio Banario of Team Lakay will take on talented Singaporean knockout artist Amir Khan of Evolve MMA in a lightweight contest.

Banario is gunning for his sixth-straight win and is in the mix for the ONE Lightweight World Championship, while Khan is coming off a knockout win and is looking to get his own winning streak going as well.

Before that, two top-tier featherweights take center-stage, as Team Lakay’s Edward Kelly faces former world title contender Christian Lee of Evolve MMA.

Both Kelly and Lee are looking to bounce back from respective losses and regain momentum in the talent-filled featherweight division.

Under the guidance of head coach Mark Sangiao, La Trinidad, Benguet-based Team Lakay has grown into the Philippines’ premier mixed martial arts team, producing four ONE world champions in Banario, former lightweight world champion Eduard Folayang, reigning ONE flyweight world Champion Geje Eustaquio, and recently-crowned ONE interim bantamweight world champion Kevin Belingon.

Their world title success has helped make the Philippines the country with the most world title wins in ONE Championship history.

Aside from their world champions, Team Lakay is also home to some of the promotion’s top-tier contenders including Kelly, strawweight star Joshua Pacio, and flyweight contender Danny Kingad to name a few.

With Team Lakay riding high once again coming thanks to their recent string of success, Banario and Kelly are looking to keep the momentum going when they take on two of Evolve MMA’s best.

“It’s going to be a tough challenge.” Banario said. “Evolve MMA has world class fighters and coaches. They have black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, world champions in Muay Thai, they basically have everything in their gym. This will definitely be a good test for us.”

Long before Team Lakay’s rise to prominence, Singapore-based Evolve MMA has been dominating the combat sports scene not just in Asia, but in the world as well.

Regarded by many as the number one mixed martial arts gym in Asia, Evolve MMA is home to a who’s-who of world champions across various disciplines of martial arts.

In ONE Championship alone, the list of stars that have represented Evolve MMA is already quite impressive, which includes reigning atomweight world champion Angela Lee, former lightweight world champion Shinya Aoki, former welterweight world champion Ben Askren, former strawweight world champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirishoke, former strawweight world champion Alex Silva, and former light heavyweight world champion Roger Gracie.

Not to mention the stacked roster of contenders that they have, led by young stars like Lee and Khan, who are determined to prove why Evolve MMA is among the best in the world. (Roderick Osis)


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