Team Lakay fighters brace for stiff challenge

BAGUIO. Coach Mark Sangiao gives some pointers to ONE strawweight world champion Joshua Pacio. Sangiao is also training Eduard Folayang, Danny Kingad and Honorio Banario for ONE's Dawn of Heroes on August 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena. (Jean Nicole Cortes)

IT COULD be the toughest contest yet for Team Lakay as the country's top mixed martial arts gym braces for another One Championship show in Manila this August.

Three of Team Lakay fighters are booked for ONE's Dawn of Heroes on August 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena as coach Mark Sangiao heads to the drawing board carefully crafting their game plan against top tier rivals in Asia's largest MMA promotions.

Sangiao said they are anticipating another tough contest this time with Eduard Folayang, the former two - time world lightweight champion squaring off against one of the best in the world, and four-time lightweight world champion Eddie Alvarez.

"It's a tough contest because both Eduard and Eddie are both strikers and interesting because they both lost their fights in Japan. Both are hungry and whoever wants it more wins," said Sangiao during their road work out at the Lourdes Grotto in Baguio City.

Aside from Folayang, also seeing action in the stacked fight card is Danny Kingad facing former ONE flyweight world champion Kairat Akhmetov in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix semi-finals.

In another explosive ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix semi-final, former ONE featherweight world champion Honorio Banario meets deadly knockout artist Timofey Nastyukhin.

"We love this kind of challenges because this is where the fighters can test their skills and showcase to the world that we can hold our own against the best in the world," added Sangiao.

In the main event, reigning ONE flyweight Muay Thai world champion Jonathan Haggerty of the United Kingdom will defend his title against Rodtang Jitmuangnon of Thailand.

Haggerty is already an accomplished martial artist despite his relative youth. He began training in Muay Thai at the age of seven under the watchful eye of his father, John, who was himself an active competitor.

The reigning world champion quickly racked up multiple accolades in the sport of Muay Thai as an amateur becoming a three-time English Champion, three-time British Champion, and winning a European title as well. As a professional, he has dominated almost everyone he has faced to date, winning almost all of his bouts via knockout while facing the sport's elite.

Haggerty captured the ONE flyweight Muay Thai world championship after a stunning performance, upsetting former titleholder Sam-A Gaiyanghadao.

Like many Thai warriors before him, two-time Omnoi Stadium Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang started training at a young age when he was just seven years old. He had his first professional Muay Thai bout at the age of 10.

Rodtang initially trained at a small camp in his hometown of Pattalung, but soon began traveling to the famed Jitmuangnon Camp in Bangkok in pursuit of better training. He would make the move permanent in order to train full-time and pursue his dreams of becoming a World Champion.

Rodtang was highly successful, compiling over 250 wins by the time he turned 21, and he even won the prestigious Omnoi Stadium world title twice.


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