MMA Philippines’ FightCon Survival Guide

FightCon 2017 is Upon Us

With less than a week away from the biggest fighting and conditioning convention in the country, we are here to give you some tips so you can enjoy FightCon 2017 to the fullest. We had fun last year, so here are some key things to remember for the full FightCon experience on Saturday, May 13, 2017.

BE EARLY

This year’s FightCon promises to be an action-packed day for fight fans with a lot of activities lined up throughout the day. As early as 10 AM, fight fans can take their chance at conquering the conditioning challenge — an event that proves to be a FightCon favorite. There will also be demos from different combat sports, Rollapalooza, MMA and Muay Thai matches, and live music from the country’s finest rock acts.

BRING EXTRA CASH

P300 gets you in the event. But the organizers of FightCon are offering ticket packs with loads of freebies. Raise your FightCon experience with the VIP pack that includes a VIP ticket, FightCon 2017 shirt, tumbler, and drink stub so you can just sit back and relax the whole day. Also, you might want to check out the booths for your fight gear fix. For tickets/event packs, you may contact +63917 513 4877 or visit their Facebook store.

BE ON THE LOOKOUT
In last year’s FightCon, we saw several celebrities (including Presidential son Sebastian Duterte and ONE lightweight champion Eduard Folayang) around the venue. This year, we’re hoping that a lot more celebrities are going to grace the event. Who knows, you just might bump into ONE heavyweight champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera on Saturday.

REPRESENT YOUR GYM

There will be a lot of schools doing demos ranging from gymnastics to Taekwondo, Jiu Jitsu, Wushu, and even women’s self-defense lined up for those looking into pursuing a new combat sport. Also, a lot of gyms will be present to support their fighters in the Rollapalooza and MANO MANO: MMA and Muay Thai Competition.

HAVE A ROCKIN’ FIGHTIN’ GOOD TIME!

FightCon was made for the fighters, fight fans, and brands to get together and have a good time. So we encourage you to keep that ego out the door and just have good clean fun.

“FightCon was designed to promote mixed martial arts, encourage athleticism, and gather fighting and fitness communities in one event. It serves as a hub for various activities that cater to fighters, fans, and brands alike.” says Paul Gaw, founder and producer of FightCon.

It’s definitely looking up to be an action-packed day for everyone. FightCon 2017 is happening at the MetroTent Convention Center on Saturday, May 13, 2017. We’ll definitely see you there!

Migs Gutierrez is an Art Director who wishes he can fight at 135, but has no MMA training whatsoever. Instead, he lurks MMA events with his girlfriend and MMA Philippines photographer, Yin Quintin.

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Gegard Mousasi: This is the Real Me

“It’s business nowadays. If you don’t talk, you don’t get anywhere.”

Ever since his famous/infamous mic drop during UFC London’s post-fight press conference, interest in Gegard Mousasi has steadily increased among news sites and fight fans. For someone who has perpetually been described as quiet, calm, and stoic, this version of Mousasi caught everyone off guard, surprising even the current middleweight champion Michael Bisping, at that time sharing the card with him and having just defeated the great Anderson Silva. “I’ve never seen so much personality out of Gegard,” said Bisping during the said presser. “I like this Gegard. Look at this guy. You’ve got a snappy shirt on.”

What came after was a string of victories – all four coming by way of KO/TKO – that catapulted the former Strikeforce, Dream, and Cage Warriors champion into the Top 5 of the middleweight division and very much into title contention.

Is Mousasi 2.0 a by-product of the Conor McGregor era of the UFC? The answer seems to be both a “Yes” and a “No.” “I’m just showing more of my character,” Mousasi told MMA Philippines during our one-on-one. “I’ve been fighting a lot in Japan. In Japan, you show up, you have to be humble, you have to respect your opponent, then you fight. But this is America. It’s different. [If you don’t talk,] you wouldn’t get your title shot.”

While certainly more verbose, Mousasi however does not believe in “acting” to sell himself. “I’m still myself. I’m not an actor. Some people, once the camera starts rolling, they’re in a role. They’re acting. I’m just being myself. I’m having more fun. I’m more open to give my opinion about stuff. Before, I was just being politically correct.” And if you’ve been following him enough, you realize that he has never descended to talking trash about his opponents, never building storylines of personal grudges or being disrespected, yet more relatable with his candid comments, especially about the UFC and the current middleweight picture.

So, between the two versions of Gegard Mousasi, who is the real one? “This has always been me. Now, I give my opinion on other fighters, but I still give my respect to all of them. It’s business nowadays. If you don’t talk, you don’t get anywhere.”

How about you? Are you a fan of Mousasi 2.0?

John Hudson Go is the Editor-in-Chief of MMA Philippines.

Do Gyeom Lee: Knocked Down and Knocking People Out

Do Gyeom Lee is the New URCC Featherweight Champion!

 

Last Saturday’s URCC 27: Rebellion saw a passing of the mantle from champion to challenger in the featherweight championship main event of the evening.

The challenger, South Korean Do Gyeom Lee, slayed URCC featherweight champion Red Romero with a ground-and-pound victory in the second round.

Lee barely survived the first frame when Red connected with an insane flying roundhouse kick and followed it up with a barrage of strikes. The Korean dropped several times as he was chased by Romero across the cage. Uncannily, he was able to recover and tried to land a few strikes before the bell rang.

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Undaunted, Lee entered the second round aggressively. Standing southpaw, Lee tried a rushing 1-2-1 combination, with the third one connecting cleanly on Romero. Red backed up, trying to feint the damage done by Lee, but Lee smelled blood and went after him. Combining unrelenting strikes with vicious knees, Lee caught Romero with at least two knees, causing Romero to crumble onto the mat. Stepping over his visibly hurt opponent and raining down 6, 7, 8 unanswered strikes, referee Joey Lepiten had to call a stop to the contest, declaring Lee as the new URCC featherweight champion.

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The 26-year-old fighter admitted that he was tentative during the first round. “I was hesitant at the beginning of the match,” Lee told MMA Philippines in his native tongue. “I have to know which tactic I have to use for the rest of the fight.” With Romero, who is known for his striking ferocity, having a longer reach, Lee was unlike his overaggressive self as we saw him against Drex Zamboanga in URCC 26.

Returning to his corner after he was almost knocked out, Lee’s coach blinkered him if he can still fight. Lee just nodded with a smile. “I remembered that this fight is for my family. I have to keep going.”

Lee commended his opponent for the near finish and valiant effort. “I have to admit, it was not easy. Honestly, my team and I reviewed his fights before I came [to the Philippines]. I studied his style, the way he strikes. His skill set. I was ready. But still he caught me. Red is a very good fighter; I admire him. But this is a sport, and I had to do what I had to do.”

According to URCC president Alvin Aguilar, Do Gyeom Lee’s heart and will to win was the reason he won this fight, while Red could have been complacent entering the fight’s second salvo. “Everybody thought that was it, he was winning,” Aguilar told the press after the event. “His negligence got him hurt and caged and that spelled out the difference.”

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Aguilar adds, “Romero has to get his mind back into the game first. In life, everything is a lesson. If he thinks that way, he can give us a hell of a fight. After he raises his level, then he will be good to go.”

Asked if there could be a possible rematch, Aguilar said that will depend on Romero’s condition. “We can ask for a rematch, let us see what happens. As for now, Red has to regroup and rethink things and get there.”

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Marinelle Arenas works as a social media specialist in Propelrr. She has been following Team Lakay ever since her days as a student journalist.

IN PHOTOS: URCC 27 Rebellion. 5 New Champions. 9 Awesome Fights.

URCC 27 Rebellion Delivered. As Always.

 

Filipino MMA fans gathered to witness a parade of slobber-knocking action in URCC 27: Rebellion at the Marriott Grand Ballroom on April 23, 2016.

It was a rather quick night, with eight of the nine bouts leaving the judges out of the equation; five of which ended in the very first round. Here’s a rundown of the night’s hard-banging bouts, shared through the lenses of our talented photographers Yin Quintin and Raul Landingin.

In the first bout of the evening, after multiple tries Solomon Dultra makes Efren Marinias tap with a perfect arm bar in the very first round.

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Submission Sport’s Geli Bulaong submits Kafagway MMA debutante Jen Damaso with a standing guillotine in the first after the two engaged in multiple grappling exchanges.

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Drex “The T-Rex” Zamboanga dominates late replacement Dennis Domingo in the standup and on the ground, finishing him with a rear naked choke in the first round.

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For the URCC pinweight title, Fritz Biagtan stops Eddie Estrada with brutal strikes in the first round, escaping Estrada’s strangling triangle choke beforehand. Fritz busts out with a break dance to celebrate the victory.

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Alvin Ramirez vs. Carlo Laurel did not disappoint! Ramirez rocked Laurel with a right hook counter in the first. The end came in the third, starting with a highlight reel head kick that opened up Carlo and led to a doctor stoppage with 1:09 left in the clock.

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URCC veteran Hideo Morikawa lost his URCC flyweight title to 19-year-old phenom CJ De Tomas. De Tomas pounded Morikawa with explosive takedowns and brutal GNP across five rounds, while “Death From Tokyo” resorted to tying De Tomas up with leg locks. It was a clean sweep across all judges for De Tomas Muay Thai’s “Golden Boy”.

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The URCC light heavyweight title fight was insane! Caloy Baduria kept on plodding forward, catching Chris Hofmann’s punches and knees with his face. In the second frame, Baduria landed a nasty left overhand that turned Hofmann’s lights out momentarily. Hofmann barely recovered to reach the end of the round, when Baduria had to bow out due to a dislocated shoulder.

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For the URCC lightweight title, Will “The Kill” Chope dissected Richie “The Cannibal” Redman, finishing his opponent with a rear naked choke while Redman was in his triangle body lock.

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In the main event of the evening, Do Gyeom Lee recovered from a first-round barrage care of Red Romero to retaliate with a fight-ending beating of his own in the second round, making him the new URCC featherweight champion via referee stoppage due to strikes.

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Yin Quintin is a full-time nurse who saves people by day and watches people beat up other people at night. She’d rather shoot ringside than be a ring girl.

Raul Landingin (AKA “Flying Big Bear”) is a long-time MMA photographer whose body of work includes shooting for MMA Orient, MMA in Asia, and now MMA Philippines.

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The Hard Grader: Why CJ De Tomas’ Goal to Fight in the UFC is No Laughing Matter

“Sabi ko nung nagsa-start palang ako, ‘…pag nasa 20’s na ako, nasa UFC na ako.’”

 

URCC 27: Rebellion, the URCC’s first event in partnership with Resorts World Manila and ABS-CBN Sports + Action, did not disappoint.

Five new champions were crowned. Only one of the nine bouts went the distance; five ended in the very first round. And the one that went to the scorecards was a clean sweep.

As is every fight fan’s bad habit when watching local MMA fights, we ask: Who has what it takes to compete at the highest level?

While all winners (and most losers) impressed, being the hard grader that I am, one fighter from URCC Rebellion readily comes to mind: CJ “Golden Boy” De Tomas.

De Tomas out-struck and out-wrestled former URCC flyweight champion Hideo Morikawa to become the victor via unanimous decision.

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By out-wrestle, we mean lift him up off the ground for thunderous slams.

For those who watched, there’s no denying that this 19-year-old is advanced in years when it comes to the fight game. “Five years old palang ako nag-boxing na ako,” De Tomas told us of his fighting roots in our pre-fight interview. “Eight years old, nagsimula nang mag-Muay Thai. Tapos nag-BJJ ako sa KMA Fabricio; blue belt na po ako under Coach Stephen Kamphuis. Nag-national team din po ako ng wrestling.”

Arguably, his wrestling pedigree shined the brightest in his fight with “Death From Tokyo” as he emphatically slammed the former champion, again and again, across five rounds. But, what makes me believe that CJ has what it takes is his anatomical features. His is reminiscent of one Jon “Bones” Jones.

In the very first round, after he got Morikawa down and he was on his feet, Morikawa was pushing him off when ‘Golden Boy’ landed a strike on his downed opponent – while he was still standing on top of him. “The guy has an insane reach!” I thought to myself as I observed him for the rest of the rounds. With a short torso and long appendages, at 129 lbs most of his weight is allocated to areas of his body that has the potential to inflict damage on his opponents. It’s weight efficiency at its finest.

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CJ De Tomas was throwing bombs on Hideo Morikawa whenever he got on top of him.

Having trained under a who’s who in Philippine martial arts including Rennie Ross (Yawyan Kampilan), Erwin Marinas (Wrestling Association of the Philippines), and Stephen Kamphuis (Kamphuis-Fabricio Jiu-Jitsu), this 19-year-old has a long way to go as long as he keeps his feet on the ground and continues the work ethic that led him to become the youngest MMA champion in Asia. “Sabi ko nung nagsa-start palang ako, ‘Kailangan pag 18 years old ako, champ na ako, at pag nasa 20’s na ako, nasa UFC na ako,’” De Tomas told us then. In all probability, it’s only a matter of time.

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John Hudson Go is the Editor-in-Chief of MMA Philippines.

Alvin Ramirez: “Pagkatapos ko siguro gulpihin at turuan rumispeto si Carlo sa mga MMA O.G., we can shake hands and be cool”

No Holds Barred with Alvin Ramirez

 

In three days’ time, Alvin Ramirez and Carlo Laurel will get inside the URCC cage for a non-title flyweight bout. Despite the card having five title bouts lined up for the audience at the Marriott Grand Ballroom Saturday night of April 23, no other fight is being talked about as much as Ramirez vs. Laurel, perhaps because of the events that snowballed from this one.

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Or to put it in a single photo…

And while some may be thinking, “Prefight hype lang iyan,” at least for one of the competitors, he is as serious as f*ck in trying to beat the living hell out of his opponent.

“Bad trip lang yung pagyayabang niya na wala namang credibility,” long-time URCC fan favorite Alvin Ramirez told MMA Philippines. “Nanalo lang ng kaunti, lumaki na agad yung ulo.”

What started out as pre-fight hype turned into something else when Laurel sprayed water (or God knows what fluid that was!) on Ramirez using a water gun in a URCC press conference held at Wing Stop BGC. According to Ramirez:

“Actually binabastos at nakikipagbastusan ako, trash talk and all, sa kanya kasi ganun talaga dapat ang mindset mo sa laban. Kaaway mo siya; walang panahon para irespeto mo siya. Malakas din ako mang-asar…pero nung binasa niya ako ng water gun sa harap ng maraming tao, parang lumagpas na siya sa limitasyon ng trash talk namin. No touch dapat. Kaya para makabawi ako, sinapak ko siya sa dibdib. Warrior ako; hindi ako magpapalamang.”

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Taunt him all you want…

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But when you whip out a (water) gun on Alvin Ramirez…

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That’s the final straw.

Ramirez justifies that his intensity before fights remain the same; Carlo Laurel’s antics simply allowed this intensity to manifest in a very unique way:

“Ang MMA kasi, warfare iyan. Kailangan para ma-motivate ka sa laban, huwag mo i-respect yung kalaban mo. Pagkatapos ko siguro gulpihin at turuan rumispeto si Carlo sa mga MMA O.G., we can shake hands and be cool. Sa ngayon, pakyu ka, Carlo. Araw-araw akong nasa gym para gulpihin kita sa laban.”

What preparations has Ramirez been doing leading up to this fight? “Mas pinabilis ko yung striking game ko,” replied the man also known as ‘Kastigo’, “at nagbigay panahon sa grappling at takedowns kasama sina carlos tiongson at mga teammates kong malalakas.”

Even with all these pre-fight hoopla, Ramirez stays laser-focused on the ultimate prize, which is an opportunity to vie for the URCC flyweight championship once more. According to him, he has renewed confidence in his abilities after the grueling five-round war against current titleholder Hideo Morikawa:

“Siyempre wala akong ibang goal kung hindi maging champion. Nagti-training pa rin ako para sa championship belt, hindi para kay Carlo. Mas motivated ako ngayon dahil nung laban namin ni Morikawa, points lang naman yung ipinanalo niya, so natuto ako doon at mas gagalingan ko pa ngayon, lalo na at mas mataas na yung level ng disiplina ko.”

From ‘Sindikato’ to ‘Kastigo’, Alvin Ramirez continues in his journey to become the best martial artist he can be. “Sobrang lakas ko mag-weed dati,” he confessed, “kaya double meaning yung ‘Sindikato’. Itatanong ko, ‘Sindi ka to?’ pag nag-aalok ako ng joint. Hahaha!” Now, he is cleaning his system, and the Yaw-Yan discipline is his new high. “Kastigo means to punish. Lumaki ako sa Samar; mundo yun ng mga matatapang. Pag may ginugulpi sila, sasabihin nila, ‘Kasitigoha iton uloy!'” 

And everyone knows, come April 23, Alvin ‘Kastigo’ Ramirez will be there to punish.

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John Hudson Go is the Editor-in-Chief of MMA Philippines.

 

What are the Best Gloves in the Market Today?

Hayabusa Tokushu Regenesis, Hands Down.

 

Canada-based technical clothing and equipment brand Hayabusa has always been at the forefront of providing the most reliable gear for today’s combat sports athletes. This point is highlighted by the Dual-X velcro closure straps they pioneered for their gloves, a wrist support feature that has since been integrated into the latest generation of official UFC fight gloves.

In 2012, the company introduced its revolutionary Tokushu series, boasting of its patented hand and wrist protection technologies and crack-resistant engineered leather, which gear reviews hailed as the gold standard for striking gloves at the time.

Fast-forward to 2015, Hayabusa came out with Tokushu Regenesis, a rework of the original series to address user concerns from the 2012 line. Simply put, these gloves are as close to perfect as they can be.

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Quality over aesthetics. Hayabusa Tokushu Regenesis striking gloves come in limited colors: 10oz – Blue, Purple; 12oz – Lime Green; 14oz – Orange; 16oz – White, Red, Black; 16oz+ – Grey

In this article, we look at the features that make Tokushu Regenesis leagues above its competitors.

Dual-X Wrist Closure and Fusion Splinting

Wrist straps should not be meant to just keep your gloves from flying off your hands. Compared to single velcro wrist closures, Hayabusa’s patented Dual-X wrist closure system maximizes wrist support to prevent injuries.

The brand’s Fusion Splinting technology is a feature introduced with the Tokushu line. Reinforced material is integrated into the gloves’ carpal area (indicated by the area of the glove with a line down the middle) to prevent unwanted flexing and twisting of the hands, particularly when throwing hooks and uppercuts.

Together with the Dual-X wrist closure system, the Tokushu Regenesis has been shown to provide up to 99.7% perfect hand and wrist alignment.

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Vylar-2 Engineered Leather

It’s not uncommon for boxing brands to claim that their gloves are made with genuine leather, only to crack within a few months’ use. The current line of Hayabusa uses Vylar-2 engineered leather, which is a re-up of their engineered leather 2012 and before.

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How good is Hayabusa’s engineered leather in terms of longevity? We recently had a client who inquired about purchasing a pair of Tokushu Regenesis gloves. He told us that he bought a pair of Tokushu originals since 2012, and decided on buying a new pair after four years of regular use. “Is it still good?” we asked. “Very, that’s why I’m buying the same thing.” His word; not ours.

AG Inner Fabric

The worst thing you could do to your gloves is to wash them. Moisture absolutely destroys the leather and the padding underneath it. That said, letting your gloves air out and dry may still leave a nasty, sweaty stench with prolonged use.

The Tokushu Regenesis is built with silver-lined inner fabric, which has anti-microbial and anti-odor properties. Compared to the original line’s bamboo lining (which is known to be moisture-wicking as well), the anti-microbial properties of silver ensure that microbes are killed off when you let your gloves rest in open air.

Above and beyond its anti-microbial and anti-odor properties, the AG inner fabric has also been shown to have superior thermo-regulating effects, allowing your gloves to stay cooler longer.

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Ergonomic SweatX Thumb Piece

Perhaps the most significant revamp for the Tokushu Regenesis is its thumb piece. Users complained of stubbed thumbs as the original Tokushu gloves did not allow enough ‘wiggle’ room for the thumb to clinch and rest.

The current Regenesis addressed this issue by providing a wider thumb piece for the thumb to work; they also used a softer microfiber suede material to maximize comfort for your thumbs. This SweatX material also improves ventilation and absorbs perspiration, which combined with the AG inner fabric allows you to work longer, harder.

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When people ask me what gloves to buy, I always ask whether they’re beginners or they’re in it for the long-term. If you’re the latter, then by all means, invest in your primary equipment. The Hayabusa brand is synonymous to quality. (As a grappling enthusiast, I prefer Hayabusa fightshorts over any other brand.) With regards to their striking gloves, the Tokushu Regenesis is the new gold standard.

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John Hudson Go is the Editor-in-Chief of MMA Philippines.

ONE Championship Global Rivals results: Team Lakay scores a clean sweep with Eustaquio, Banario, Pacio, Osenio, and Kingad wins

Team Lakay Goes 5-0 in ONE Championship: Global Rivals

 

Filipino fight fans were in high spirits as Baguio-based Team Lakay, touted as the country’s most dominant MMA team, completed a successful campaign of five wins against local and international competition at the SM Mall of Asia Arena last night, April 15, for ONE Championship: Global Rivals.

Geje Eustaquio and Honorio Banario got the nod from the judges in three-round wars against Malaysian prospect Gianni Subba and fellow Filipino Vaughn Donayre, respectively; Joshua Pacio and Danny Kingad impress with referee stoppages; and April Osenio scores the lone technical submission of the evening with a deep armbar on Natalie Gonzales Hills.

Danny Kingad opened the night with with an easy ground-and-pound victory against Muhamad Haidar for his ONE Championship debut. The Lakay new breed handily picked up his Malaysian opponent for a slam, moving from the side to full mount before unleashing a barrage of strikes, prompting referee Olivier Coste to stop the bout at the 2:20 mark.

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Danny Kingad defeats Muhamad Haidar in ONE Championship Global Rivals

April Osenio took home British-Filipina Natalie Gonzales Hill’s arm in their women’s atomweight bout. Osenio caught Hills’ arm as the latter took her down; the female Lakay hang on even as the Australian-based “Kilapino” was still on her feet. The stubborn attempts at extending Natalie’s arm finally paid off as both warriors ended up on the ground in somewhat of a North-South position, with April hyper-extending her opponent’s arm and Natalie verbally submitting at 3:23 of the very first round.

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April Osenio submits Natalie Gonzales Hills in ONE Championship Global Rivals

Undefeated in his pro-am career, Joshua Pacio proved to be just as successful in his ONE Championship debut as he outclassed fellow Filipino Rabin Catalan in two rounds of wrestling dominance. Though Catalan was able to drive some shots home in the standup, Pacio’s takedowns were the difference maker as Catalan could not recover whenever the Lakay plants him on his back. And at the 3:19 mark of the second salvo, referee Yuji Shimada stopped the contest after Rabin was unsuccessful in defending himself as Pacio rained down strikes from full mount.

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Joshua Pacio beats up Rabin Catalan in ONE Championship Global Rivals

In the co-main event of the evening, Gianni Subba’s height and reach advantage was not a factor as Geje “The Gravity” Eustaquio schooled his Malaysian foe with sly overhand rights and low-high combinations en route to a dominant unanimous decision victory. Most impressive was Geje’s ability to dart in and out of his lanky opponent’s range, ripping the body with a hook or kick then changing to left and right hooks to the head. With the win, Eustaquio eyes for another title run in ONE’s flyweight division.

Perhaps the most emotional fight of the night was Honorio Banario’s unanimous decision campaign over Vaughn “The Spawn” Donayre. “The Rock” dropped five straight losses after claiming the inaugural ONE featherweight championship against Eric Kelly. The crowd erupted whenever “The Rock” backed his foe with cracking combinations; collective gasps were audible whenever Vaughn connected on Banario’s chin. At the end of five rounds, Banario and every Lakay fan breathed a sigh of relief as “The Rock” had his hands raised inside the ONE cage yet again.

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Honorio “The Rock” Banario returns to the win column with a unanimous decision over Vaughn Donayre

In his social media post following the decision victory, the usually modest Banario was uncharacteristically emotional when he wrote, “My faith has been tested for a long time, but giving up has never been an option for me. To my family, friends, loved ones, and loyal fans, my heartfelt gratitude for boosting my morale when I was down.” In a passing chatter with Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao, he simply said, “We’re just very happy na maganda ang resulta (the results were good). Hopefully, we could continue getting the wins in international MMA competitions.”

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John Hudson Go is the Editor-in-Chief of MMA Philippines.

ONE Championship Global Rivals result: Ben Askren dominates Nikolay Aleksakhin in a five-round non-title fight

Askren and Aleksakhin Engage in a Grueling Grappler-vs-Striker Battle

 

The best MMA fans in Asia (that’s us, by the way) was again treated to world-class MMA action last night, April 15, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Philippines for ONE Championship: Global Rivals.

The night was electrifying. The fights were great. The champ donated to charity. A 5-0 sweep for the most decorated MMA team in the Philippines, Team Lakay. Another successful night for ONE.

In the main event of the evening, ONE welterweight kingpin Ben “Funky” Askren took his opponent, Russian sambo specialist Nikolay Aleksakhin, to wrestling school as he dominated the grappling exchanges with his world-class wrestling and grinding ground-and-pound en route to a unanimous decision victory.

Unlike his last visit to Manila last April 2015 – the fight against Luis Santos was ruled as a “No Contest” after an accidental eye poke from Askren at 2:19 of the first round – the welterweight champ finally showcased the skills that made him one of the best welterweights on the planet.

“It’s been 20 months since the last time I entered the cage. I feel a lot of excitement and I’m working on this for a long time,” Askren told the press following his unanimous decision victory. “I need to get into the cage and show them what’s hell,” he added.

The fight, which was supposedly for the ONE welterweight title, was downgraded to a five-round non-title catchweight fight after the Russian had problems making weight.

The first round started with Askren scoring a quick takedown in the first minute of the opening round where he spent the majority of the round laying elbows and strikes from different angles, wearing Aleksakhin out on the ground.

It was practically the same story in the second stanza, as Askren got his Russian foe to the mat once more and dominated most of the round from side control and crucifix.

In the third, the 25-year-old Russian found his second wind and used it in the first two minutes to land a number of hard kicks and cracking combinations. Aleksakhin connected with heavy bombs on Askren’s jaw, at one point sending the American’s mouthpiece flying out of his open mouth. The striking-biased crowd cheered Aleksakhin on, while for his part Askren continued to chase for that one takedown. A Greco-Roman clinch and a trip later, the US Olympian had Aleksakhin on his back until the bell rang.

The last two rounds were pretty much the same with the first two as Askren’s wrestling was simply too much for a drained Aleksakhin to handle. While the Russian was still able to hit home a number of times in the fourth, Askren got his second wind in the fifth to make sure that all three judges gave him the nod at the end of five hard-fought rounds.

“Fighting five rounds against a tough opponent is a sh*t job. But that dude was so strong, I’m having a hard time isolating his inside arm, which could have ended the fight,” said the 31-year-old Askren.

With the victory, the former Bellator and current ONE welterweight champion improves his undefeated record to 15-0-(1NC) while the tough Russian Aleksakhin falls to 17-4.

In the post-fight press conference, Askren also revealed that the the 20% purse penalty on Aleksakhin that he was meant to receive will be donated to charity instead.

“I did feel that it’s not the money I earned, so I’m giving all of them to Children’s Hour and to the great charities that ONE put out there. I think it’s important to give back to the community,” the ONE welterweight champion concluded.

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Robert Belen is a long-time combat sports writer for dSource Boxing. An avid sports fan, he knows no fear nor partiality in his reporting. If you have a problem with him, tell it to his face. (We bid you not.) You can follow him on Twitter @robertbelen.

34 Seconds: Zebaztian Kadestam and Rolando Gabriel Dy Snuff Out Opponents in Record-Breaking Time

Kadestam Retains Welterweight Belt; Dy Makes a Run for Featherweight Title

 

Glenn Sparv and Koyomi Matsushima were coming in with very impressive resumes for PXC 53. Both were on five-fight win streaks; Matsushima, in particular, was undefeated and all of his wins were via KO/TKO.

On the other hand, PXC welterweight champ Zebaztian Kadestam came from a split decision loss against Hakon Foss in his home country of Sweden, while Rolando Gabriel Dy just recovered from back-to-back losses against Kyle Aguon with a decision victory over Miguel Mosquera.

With the first six bouts of the night going the distance, no one expected the main and co-main events of PXC 53 to last only 34 seconds combined!

In the co-main, a more mature Dy was picking his shots when he planted a perfect left hook on a rushing Matsushima. The Japanese dropped then and there, but “Dy Incredible” sneaked four hammer fists in for insurance before the referee stopped the bout at 23 seconds in the first.

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Dy credits his victory to his faith in Jesus Christ, saying, “This win made my belief in Jesus Christ even stronger. My opponent is undefeated at 5-0; Jesus Christ gave me the strength to overcome this adversity.” This is a far cry from the flamboyant Dy that made him a polarizing figure in Philippine MMA circles. His return to the featherweight division was also a welcome sight, as he was noticeably drawn out cutting too much weight during his previous bantamweight contests.

Then in the main event title bout, “The Bandit” from Legacy Gym Boracay connected with a stiff left jab on Sparv, taking the legs out of the Finn. Kadestam followed up with an uppercut that made “Teddy Bear” kneel on all fours, followed him with more uppercuts until “Big John” McCarthy waved off the contest in just 11 seconds.

Talking post-fight to PXC commentator Uriah Vanden Bos, Kadestam did his best Nate Diaz impersonation by telling everybody, “I’m not surprised, motherf*ckers!” Generally a man of few words, Kadestam was obviously pumped as he defeated the taller Finn in record-breaking time. When asked about what’s next for “The Bandit”, Kadestam replied, “What’s up, UFC!” Speaking to him backstage, he told us that he still has two more fights in his newly-signed contract, and that he’ll complete his contract before considering the UFC. “I just lost before this fight,” said the PXC champion. “Knowing the UFC, they won’t give me a shot knowing I just lost. I’ll finish my contract, get two more wins. Then the UFC would have no choice but to take notice.”

Two noteworthy fighters from last night’s card are Hawaii’s Rilley Dutro who nullified all of Team Lakay’s Jon Chris Corton’s arsenal across three rounds, and Aydin Mrouki who displayed a kickboxing clinic against late replacement Jaypee Espinosa.

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Rilley Dutro uses his reach and strong wrestling base to earn a unanimous decision victory over Jon Chris Corton.

Outside the Terror Dome, the predominantly male crowd rushed towards former (?) adult entertainment superstar Maria Ozawa who was the guest ring girl for the main event of the evening.

PXC 53 is Pacific Xtreme Combat’s second event in partnership with Solaire Resort and Casino. We’ll see you next week, Manila!

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John Hudson Go is the Editor-in-Chief of MMA Philippines.