WE TAKE pride in Mark Eddiva as the first product of Team Lakay who won in the Ultimate Fighting Championship or the UFC. We are proud that he is the first natural-born and grown Filipino to fight in the Octagon and he is from the Cordilleras. Both his parents are from Sadanga, Mountain Province and he was born and raised in Baguio City, Philippines.

It is not the first time that Mark Eddiva has given pride and honor to the country since he had already been representing the Philippines in international wushu competitions and had won 2 gold medals and 1 bronze medal in the South-East Asian Games, 1 gold medal in Asian Wushu Championships, 2 bronze medals in Wushu World Cup, 1 bronze medal in Asian Games among others.

He is also one of the pioneer members of Team Lakay when it started in 2006, along with yours truly, Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Rey Docyogen and others.

His first MMA fight was back in 2006 when he fought and defeated Andrew Benibe in Fearless Fighting Championship via a Technical Knock-Out.

Eddiva became the URCC Visayas Featherweight Champion when he defeated the hometown favorite, Engi Piloto, via a rear-naked choke submission in the first round of the URCC Cebu IV: Proving Grounds’ main event in Cebu in 2009.

His last MMA fight was in 2011 when he fought in front of his opponent’s home country. Nevertheless, the crowd’s cheers for their fighter did not affect Eddiva’s performance as he defeated Alex Lee via a rear-naked choke submission in Legend Fighting Championship 4 in Hongkong.

His MMA record shows that even then, he and other Team Lakay members have been defeating their opponents via submissions, other than the team’s famous finishing styles of Ground-and-Pound.

Eddiva has not fought in MMA since then because he has concentrated competing in amateur Wushu competitions and after that he has to pursue his dreams of finishing his studies first and become a licensed teacher.

When he heard the news that UFC wanted to sign him, it was a difficult choice for him to make. This is one of his dreams as an athlete and a fighter; however, he is in his final semester of his final year in his course of Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education at the University of the Cordilleras. So he had to sacrifice and then made a choice to take this once in a lifetime opportunity- to fight in the UFC.

The sacrifice paid off! Last March 1, 2014, Mark Eddiva won his debut fight in the UFC at the UFC Fight Night 37, The Ultimate Fighting Championship: China Finale in Macau. He dominated all of the three rounds and won via a Unanimous Decision where all three judges gave a score of 30-27.

He won and he did it in a very impressive manner, showing to the world that Filipinos MMA fighters can also be a complete MMA fighter and can fight against the best in the world.

Jumabieke Tuerxun, his opponent, was not an easy opponent. He is one of China’s best MMA fighters, if not the best. He had a record of 17-0 in his official UFC record (but actually had 30-0 record where some of his fights were not recorded).

In fact, according to reports, UFC had been eyeing for him ever since and wanted to make him the poster boy of MMA in China.

Now, his undefeated record had been tarnished by Eddiva and gave him his first loss in his entire MMA career.

It’s yet another record breaking performance by a Team Lakay fighter in the international MMA scene and as I have said it before, the fight of Team Lakay’s Dave Galera last Januray is just the beginning for Filipino fighters to compete in the UFC. The doors had been opened for Filipino MMA fighters and there will be more to come, especially now the UFC has announced they are planning to have one event in Manila, probably in June or July. More Filipino MMA fighters will be getting the chance to fight in the said arena.

With this successful endeavour, we would like to thank the following for their assistance and support before and during the fight: Bagsan Law Office, Chef Ro and Jan F. Ro, Sherlynne Angeles, Dr. Dave Taclobao, Dr. Lorenzo Fernandez, C3 Agape Church- Baguio, June Shutwell, 50’s Diner Baguio / Sir Tony Candelaria, Tiong San La Trinidad, Sherilyn Bilango Balauro, Bienvenido Andaya Jr., PSC- Teacher’s Camp, Baguio City, Wushu Federation Philippines, Loyosen Pharmacy, Glory Fritz Loyosen, Maggie Dicang, FGG Pharmacy, Arch Mark Tidang, our trainers, training partners, sparring partners, team mates, our families, friends and all our supporters.

Next week will be another battle for Team Lakay in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as one of its best fighters will be fighting in one of best MMA promotions in the world, the ONE Fighting Championship. Kevin Belingon, who is from Ifugao, will be fighting in the co-main event of the ONE FC: Moment of Truth against Dae Hwan Kim, a very tough undefeated opponent from South Korea.

I can’t speak of it right now, but I’m sure it’s going to be a very good fight.

We’ll see how the story goes and if another amazing story will be written in the history of MMA after the event on March 14th.

Till the next page of Team Lakay’s book!

Thank you everyone for your support. Mabuhay tayong lahat. Matago tago tako am-in!