UNFORTUNATELY, the results of our two recent fights did not go our way.

However, two of our Team Lakay fighters did their best and ended with great battles against their opponents and even both bouts had been considered the Fight of the Night during two of the best MMA promotions in the world.

Team Lakay’s Honorio “The Rock” Banario did everything to battle with the veteran fighter from Mongolia, Jadamba Narantungalag, the former Legend FC Lightweight Champion.

Their fight in ONE Fighting Championship: Honor and Glory held May 30 in Singapore was considered to be the “Fight of the Night” by many who watched the fight, either live in the stadium or via internet and Fox Sport channel in their television sets.

With back and forth battle between the two warriors, Honorio showed his most improved skills and development of the strength of his chin avoiding being knocked out again.

A sidekick by Honorio to the face of Jadamba at the end of the first round was one of the highlights of the bout, together with the back to back takedowns of Honorio to Jadamba. But Jadamba fought back with his own attack of punches and took down Honorio at the last second of the third round. The judges gave a unanimous decision win to Jadamba.

Being at the other side of the globe during that time, I had my nerves all over me while monitoring the fight. Based on what I’ve read and heard and when I reviewed the fight video, It was clearly shown that Honorio should have won the fight with the ONE FC judging rule of the whole fight basing on cage control, aggressiveness, takedowns and damage control since Jadamba was cut a bit.

As a coach and mentor, I always tell Honorio that he can still come back. Young as he is, he still has a great future in his MMA career if he continues to keep on developing, train hard and improve more. As we have seen, he has improved much and we can see more of him in the future- a better version of him.

On the other hand, Mark Eddiva had his first loss of his entire MMA career when his fight against Brazilian Edimilson “Kevin” Souza was stopped eight seconds before the end of the second round, even if he was still standing on his feet and not knocked down. Souza won by standing TKO.

It was a back and forth battle too with Mark being more dominant during the fight. He had also taken Souza down and even escaped an attempted triangle choke by the long-reached Souza.

In the second round, Eddiva dominated with kicks all over Souza’s legs obviously hurting him but at the latter part of the round, Souza attacked with punches to Eddiva, who tried to defend himself and refused to be knocked out or knocked down.

Referee Herb Dean stopped the fight, because maybe he had seen enough and for Souza not to inflict further damage to Eddiva, but it can be seen that Mark was still defending himself.

Nevertheless, as professional fighters and sports men, we respect and accept the decision of the referee because we understand his intention to prioritize the safety of the fighters.

But could it have gone to the third round, I think Eddiva had a very big chance to take the win.

The Brazilians were really one of the greatest MMA fans in the world.

The huge gymnasium was rocked with their support to their countrymen, Souza and the other Brazilian fighters, but based on their reactions after the fight; they were so amazed by Eddiva’s performance and even called him a “Gladiator”. With the UFC’s and fan’s appreciation of the match, they declared it as the Fight of the Night.

Based on these two recent performances of our two MMA fighters, we can see a bright future for Filipino MMA fighters to show the world how great Filipino fighters are. We have started entering the international arena, soon enough, and it’s not going to be far, we can see more and more of these young athletes to showcase their skills and can match with any of the best fighters in the world.

As always, we take these happenings as learning experiences as we grow and still on the process of becoming the best. We should not stop what we are doing, because we see a bright future for our Filipino MMA athletes.

Definitely, Honorio and Mark will be back and they will be back with these experiences as their motivations, lessons and challenges to become their best self.

We would like to thank all of the supporters who believed and prayed for these two warriors and to those who sponsored them such as Cherifer Premium, Venum Fight Wear, Vicious Circle, Muscle Pharm, Muscle Tech, Bagsan Law Office, Dr. Dave Taclobao and Tiong San Department Store and Supermarket.

Meanwhile, the events that just happened also served as inspirations and motivations to the other team mates and young fighters of this team.

This June, there will be four Team Lakay fighters who will be competing in three of the big international MMA promotions in the world.

On June 14th, Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio will be facing Japan’s Kentaro Watanabe in ONE FC: Era of Champions which will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia.

On June 27th, two will be flying to Guam to fight in Pacific Xtreme Combat 44. Former PXC Bantamweight champion, Crisanto “The Slugger” Pitpitunge, will be going down his weight division and fight Josh Duanes from Saipan at flyweight division.

The pride of Kalinga province, Troy “The Hunter” Bantiag, will be facing Guam’s Kyle Aguon in front of his opponent’s hometown.

And lastly, Roldan “The Executioner” Sangcha-an will be making his debut in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and will be facing Richie Vas Vaculik from Australia on June 28th in New Zealand.

Roldan is the third fighter from Team Lakay and from the Cordillera Administrative Region, Philippines to sign with the number one MMA promotion in the world, following his team mate Dave Galera and Mark Eddiva.

With all these, may God bless all these fighters and may God bless what we do.