PXC 40: “He has never fought someone like me before, my style will give him a lot of problems.” – Will Chope to Nakayama

will chope

Pacific Xtreme Combat (PXC) has been signing several top fighters in Asian MMA recently. These fighters are Keita “K-Taro” Nakamura (26-5-2), Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi (11-5-1), Patricia “Little” Vidonic (8-6), BJ Penn MMA’s Shane “Suga” Nelson (15-7), and the former URCC Featherweight Champion Will “The Kill” Chope (18-5).

The Guam-based MMA promotion has been the hottest promotion in the Philippines as they have been very successful in their past events in Manila, drawing thousands of fight fans to watch their shows. The fans can expect a lot more exciting and explosive fighters coming in as PXC will keep on signing the most exciting fighters in the region today.

One of the most popular names in Asian MMA has joined PXC as the world’s tallest featherweight fighter, Will “The Kill” Chope brings his talent inside the “Terror Dome”.

“My goal is to get into the UFC. The URCC is not the road that can take me there at this point. The Pacific Xtreme Combat is a proven route that other fighters have used to get there and it will get me there as well. So this is what I am doing, I will fight for the PXC win and wait for that call.”

Chope connects a razor sharp elbow against Jerson Estoro at URCC 20 - Photo by Hochi Abaya

Chope connects a razor sharp elbow against Jerson Estoro at URCC 20 – Photo by Hochi Abaya

Standing at 6 feet 4 inches, Chope is no doubt, the tallest guy in the PXC 145 lbs. division. His size has always been his biggest advantage over his past opponents, whether be it on the feet or ground. He can easily set up his offense by throwing jab to get rid of his opponents’ aggressive styles. When it comes to the ground, Chope is a very dangerous guy as he has been on a tear by winning 10 of his last 13 fights via submission (guillotine choke).  He has a good guard and he always look to submit his opponents – that makes him one of the most exciting fighters in Asia today.

Chope started his MMA career at the age of 20. Though he struggled in the first stages of his fighting career, he never gave up; instead, those losses made him more fired up to train in the gym to elevate his game into a whole new level.

“The PXC has the best FW division out of any organization in Asia. That is a fact. People have accused me of taking easy fights and not fighting high level competition. No one can say that now and I will show everyone in the world I am one of the best fighters, not just one of the best in Asia but one of the best in the world.”

Chope has been considered as the busiest fighter in Asia because in the past couple of years, his schedule has been a tight one that every two months he has an upcoming MMA, kickboxing or muay thai fight. In 2011, he fought six times and in 2012, seven. This kid is a monster and a true lover of the sport.

Chope has a notable wins over some of the toughest guys in the region, including his submission wins over Rex De lara, Angelito Manguray and Andrew Benibe. He is also the former URCC Featherweight Champion.

“The Kill” is currently riding an amazing 13-fight win skid and most of those wins are coming by way of either TKO or submission. Chope is definitely on a roll right now and he has intentions on slowing down even just a bit.

In the last PXC event in Pasig City, Philippines, Chope cornered one of his closest friends in the fight business, Mark “Mugen” Striegl. It was a tough night for Striegl and feeling was identical for Chope as he has seen his long-time training partner getting submitted by the South Korean fighter, which gave him the drive to do well in the PXC and looks to challenge Kim for his title in the future.

will at PXC 39

Photo by Zike Sugawara for MMA Orient

“I was there cage side in Mark’s corner. Mark is one of my best friends, hell he’s my brother and also my idol. So to watch that fight was hard. But at the same time after that fight ended it sparked a fire inside me I haven’t felt in a long time. I want to work my way up the PXC ladder and one day challenge Kim for his title.”

Chope was immediately given a tough task by the PXC officials as they matched him against the Pancrase champion and one of the toughest Japanese fighters in the PXC today, Takumi “Da Japanese Ironman” Nakayama (18-13-6-1).

Chope versus Nakayama is scheduled on the 25th of October in Guam as one of the main card fights of PXC 40. The said event will feature the first-ever title defense of the newly-crowned PXC bantamweight champion, Michinori Tanaka, against one of Guam’s toughest bantamweights, Kyle Aguon.

“Nakayama first thought comes to my mind is he is definitely a seasoned veteran. A lot of fights and been in the MMA Game for over a decade. But out of all the men he has ever faced I can say on thing with confidence. He has never fought someone like me before, and I believe my fight style will give him a lot of problems in the cage.”

“I will be headed to Phuket Top Team next week to finish the last 4 weeks of my fight camp. PTT is one of the best gyms in the world so I want to be training with the best to prepare for Nakayama.” Chope added.

Chope is no doubt, one of the most promising fighters in Asia today. He looks to stay impressive and exciting as he is ready to make his PXC debut on October 25th versus Nakayama. His family and fans are two of the most important factors of his success today and he wants to thank all of them for their undying support.

“Just want to thank the fans for all their love and support. And also want to thanks my sponsors Phuket Pro Nutrition, Vicious Cirlce, and Kombat Mouthguards for their ongoing support of my career.”

Visit www.pxc.com.ph for more info.

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Mark Sangiao Is Preparing His Pupils For The Biggest Fights Of Their Careers

coach mark 2

In the past few years, Team Lakay has been a major force in Asian MMA scene, especially in Philippine MMA. They are one of the reasons why Philippines is the hot bed for MMA in Asia today.

Team Lakay is the home of MMA champs such as ONE FC featherweight world king Honorio “The Rock” Banario, who is also the current URCC lightweight title holder. The Baguio-based MMA fight team is also the residence of PXC world bantamweight champion Crisanto “The Slugger” Pitpitunge, URCC welterweight champion and Martial Combat Superfight title holder, Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, URCC flyweight champion, Kevin “Silencer” Belingon and the longtime URCC flyweight title holder, “The Punisher” Rey Docyogen.

If there is one man who is responsible for producing such great fighters, that would be none other than Team Lakay’s head coach, former URCC bantamweight champion, and former SEA Games Gold Medalist, Mark “The Machine” Sangiao.

Sangiao is a long-established martial arts practitioner. From kickboxing to taekwondo, judo to Brazilian jiu jitsu, Sangiao is truly, the pioneer of MMA in his home town Baguio City and arguably one of the people who brought MMA in the Philippines into a whole new level.

Sangiao knows how to build champions, he knows how exactly a fighter should train and eat because he is a former fighter himself; he understands the point of view of every fighter who trains at his gym.

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Team Lakay’s journey on top continues as they prepare for the biggest fights of their MMA careers. Mark Sangiao is getting his fighters ready for two of the most anticipated mixed martial arts events not only in the Philippines, but in whole Asia, as 8 of his best pupils will compete in PXC 37 and ONE FC 9 ‘Riste to Power’. Both events will be headlined by two Team Lakay world champions.

First up, PXC 37, happening on May 18th at The Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City, Philippines, as the current champion Crisanto “The Slugger” Pitpitunge makes his first-ever title defense against the undefeated and ground specialist from Japan, Michinori Tanaka. Also, two of Team Lakay’s young fighters, Troy “The Hunter” Bantiag and Jerome Wanawan will make their appearances at the said PXC event. Bantiag will go up against Guam’s Trevin Jones, while Jerome Wanawan looks to comeback to his winning ways against a very talented fighter from San Pedro, Laguna, Ernesto Montilla Jr.

After PXC 37, the mammoth ONE FC 9 ‘Rise to Power’ is up next for the Baguio-based fight team. The current ONE FC world featherweight champion from Team Lakay, Honorio “The Rock” Banario will also make his first title defense against a seasoned veteran in Koji Oishi of Japan.

Four more well-recognized Team Lakay fighters will make their toughest fights so far as Eduard “Landslide” Folayang faces WEC and UFC vet, Kamal “Prince of Persia” Shalorous, Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon battles grappling wizard Masakatsu Ueda for the Bantamweight GP Finals, Rey “The Punisher” Docyogen takes on former UFC fighter, Yasuhiro Urushitani and “The Gravity” Geje Eustaquio is finally back inside the ONE FC cage against his toughest opponent to date, Phuket Top Team’s Andrew Leone.

team lakay elites

Mark Sangiao’s pushing his fighters to the limit to prepare them for tough battles against some of the big names in Asian MMA today. Team lakay fighters are known for their excellent condition, power and rigorous training regimen. Mark is assured that his boys are ready come fight night due to a very much-improved training that his fighters are doing for the big events coming up,

“They are doing great. The training leveled up compared to the last ones because they are training together and they know that they have their own big fights to win.”

mark sangiao 3

Getting a fighter ready for a big event is a very difficult taks to do. But from Mark Sangiao’s standpoint, as long as you and your fighters work together, nothing is impossible,

“No, it’s not hard to train them because we really work as a team and brought in some additional coaches who specializes in boxing and Muay Thai. Also, we have our own Sanshou background that we can add well with some wrestling techniques. We also added some extra time on our grappling. But all in all, training our guys here isn’t too difficult.”

Aside from bringing in coaches who specializes in Boxing and Muay Thai, Sangiao also arranged additional outdoor training for his fighters and added extra hour to every practice just to make sure that they are well prepared when they go to battle,

team lakay

“We adjusted our time of practice; we extended our training hours. Also, in this training camp, we only not focused ourselves inside the gym and having uphill sprints, we also added some extra training at Teacher’s Camp here in Baguio City for strength and conditioning.  So those are some of the adjustments that we made for this camp.”

All of Team Lakay fighters that will compete at PXC 37 and ONE FC 9 are matched up against world-class grapplers. It is evident from their past fights that whenever a grappler fights a Lakay fighter, it is either that grappler’s going to give the Lakay fighter a tough fight or submit him.

But as we all know, the game is continuously evolving so as the fighters. Lakay fighters, through their setbacks against ground specialists, gave them a serious motivation to train harder and focus more on sharpening their grappling skills.

First on Mark Sangiao’s list is Crisanto Pitpitunge’s title defense against Michinori Tanaka, who we all aware of being such a deadly fighter whenever he’s on the ground. Sangiao has been working on improving Pitpitunge’s take down defense and how to escape from various submission holds. Also, in PXC 37, Troy Bantiag will face Trevin Jones, a fighter who has a very intimidating wrestling game and serious punching power. Jerome Wanawan will make his first appearance of the year as he comes off a humbling loss against Eugene Toquero last year,

“Crisanto’s training is great. We know that Tanaka’s well-trained on the ground and has very decent grappling skills. That’s why we trained Crisanto’s take down defense and focused more on his grappling because we know Tanaka will try to take him down, so we also practiced various submission escapes.”

“Troy and Jerome also are doing great. They are very positive the whole training because they really want to win their fights. Another great thing about this camp is that everyone is helping each other to improve. They are forcing everyone to sharpen their skills and aim to level their skills up together. They will be ready on May 18th for PXC 37.” Sangiao added.

After PXC 37, ONE FC 9 ‘Rise to Power’ is next as Honorio Banario defends his title against Oishi, Belingon battles Ueda for the GP finals, Docyogen faces former UFC fighter, Urushitani and Eustaquio to lock horns with Leone.

Banario captured the title against Eric Kelly on February 2, 2013, at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Now that he is going to defend his belt for the first time, fighting in front of his home crowd adds up to the pressure. It is a tough task to fight world-class fighters in your backyard, but Sangiao is confident that Banario and the rest of his fighters will be 110% ready on May 31,

“Honorio’s training is phenomenal, especially that Eduard is fresh from the U.S and has some great techniques with him that he can impart to his training partner, Honorio. He really wants to retain his title and I am happy to see him doing all his best in every training session we have.”

“With regards to Oishi’s ground skills, I saw some of his fights and the truth is, he is not really that fighter who loves to take the fight to the ground. I watched some videos of him and he also likes to strike. I am pretty sure that this fight is going to be electrifying. My prediction for this match up is that thousands of fans will be on the edge of their seats. But just in case Oishi will take Honorio down, we are ready for that; Honorio can beat Oishi at his own game.”

Fresh off his TKO victor over Thanh Vu last April 5th in ONE FC 8, Belingon’s next assignment is to beat a fellow GP finalist, Masakatsu Ueda.

belingon vs ueda

Belingon is an extraordinary fighter. He comes to every fight with a lot of surprises. Whenever he steps inside the cage, he is a different man, a much-improved fighter every time he fights. He will face another high-level grappler in Ueda for the ONE FC Bantamweight GP Finals,

“Ueda is very refined on the ground, but Kevin obviously has a significant advantage in the striking department. If Ueda will take Kevin down, I’m positive that with the much improved grappling skills of Kevin, he can keep up very well with the Japanese’s game. Kevin is getting better and better every fight. So I know he will soon be a contender to the ONE FC Bantamweight title.”

After 7 weeks of refining his ground game in the U.S, the poster boy of Team Lakay, Eduard “Landslide” Folayang is back and hopes to beat Kamal Shalorous using his much-improved ground game. Sangiao believes that Folayang’s U.S trip was a huge eye-opener for the reigning URCC welterweight champion to train harder to improve his wrestling and jiu jitsu game,

Photo Credit: Anton Tabuena

Photo Credit: Anton Tabuena

“We cannot say that in just 7 weeks of his training in the U.S, we can see a well-versed Eduard Folayang on the ground. But at least, he absorbed some important techniques that he can use in his future fights. His U.S trip was a great eye-opener for him to work harder to refine his grappling.”

Shalorous has been in the UFC and fought some of the best in the world, which makes him a real threat to Eduard Folayang. But Mark saw something about Shalarous game that Eduard can take advantage of and he believes that his pupil will win the fight,

“We watched some of Shalarous fights and we saw something that Eduard can capitalize on. I cannot reveal what it is, but I think Eduard is much faster and technical than him. I know he can beat Shalorous. But if Eduard can do it via KO or TKO, much better.”

When asked if his boys are ready for PXC 37 and ONE FC 9,

“Of course, they are good to go. But as of now, we are very cautious about them not getting any injuries as the fight day approaches very fast. That’s the only concern we have right now.”

Being a coach, adviser, provider and a second father to his fighters, aside from making their dreams come true; one great thing about handling these fighters in Sangiao’s assessment is changing those fighters to become a better person,

“That’s one of the great things about this sport. We’re dealing different personalities and change them for the better. For me, even if sometimes I am not around during practices, I know they will do their part as a fighter. I know they will do what is right whenever they’re in the gym, even though sometimes my eyes are not monitoring them. Because I am always telling them that you will not be a champion unless you train like one.”

When asked on who are the naughtiest Team Lakay fighters,

“I would say Rey (Docyogen) and Honorio (Banario). (Laughs) Unlike their other team mates, those two are the loudest people everytime we train; they always make their team mates laugh. Also, Troy (Bantiag), maybe it’s because of his age, but he sometimes doesn’t take things seriously, but I understand that. He still got a long way to go.”

Last year, through his personal Facebook account, Sangiao asked a question to his fans on whether they like to see him back in action inside the ring/cage. It was obvious in the comment thread that a lot of fans and friends want him to go back and fight. But due to his tight schedule preparing his fighters to various gigantic MMA events around Asia, it seems like he really hang up his gloves and focused himself on handling his fighters and setting up local MMA and grappling tournaments,

“We already discussed about that matter, but as much as I’d like to go back into fighting, with the tasks I have as the head coach of the team; organizing some local shows like Team Lakay Championship and Team Lakay Grapplers’ Cup, it is really rational for me to not fight anymore. It’s not that my body cannot do it anymore, it’s just my schedule is so tight that I cannot train hard because I have more important things to do like those I’ve mentioned a while ago. So right now, that is my focus, coaching and organizing our events.”

When asked on what advice he can give to those coaches who look up to him,

“For me, to be able to stay hungry in the sport, is they need to check their passion for this sport. Then they need to look at the future of MMA in our country. If they want to be successful in this sport, all they need to do is focus and get real serious about it.”

“I am always saying about this to other coaches – we need to have healthy competitions among us. If we have events here in Baguio, they are welcome to join us. If they do have events in their own provinces, we are glad to join and help them. Let us just take away that traditional mentality of comparing each other’s abilities; we need to have a healthy competition. We need to learn from each other for the benefit of the sport. Here at Team Lakay, we are willing to invite them to join our events. We set aside our pride because we know that we also need the knowledge of Muay Thai practictioners, Wrestlers and Jiu Jitsu, for us to be a well-rounded.” Sangiao added.

PXC 37: Jerome Wanawan Is Confident He Will Win Against Ernesto Montill Jr.

jerome

In the ultra-competitive PXC flyweight division, if you want to standout among other talented fighters, you have to have not only the ability to attract fans, but a skill set of a world-class MMA fighter.

Jerome Wanawan is one of the most well-liked fighters in the PXC. He is super talented and yet very grounded guy.

Wanawan is known for his tremendous athleticism, deadly throws and power. His pinpoint striking game makes him one of the most effective flyweights in the region today.

The physically talented fighter from Baguio trains out of the famed Team Lakay under the guidance of Mark “The Machine” Sangiao.

Wanawan is a former boxer who then made his transition to Wushu Sanshou and now in MMA. He started his MMA career on February 2011 against Charlemagne Pakeo-an at URCC Baguio 2 ‘Tribal Wars’. Wanawan used his outstanding wrestling skills to control Pakeo-an on the ground and connected huge strikes from the top. Wanawan tops Pakeo-an via UD.

A year later, Wanawan made his second pro MMA bout versus Redentor Saclag at URCC URCC 3 “Invasion”. Wanawan used his superb striking to beat Saclag via 1st round TKO win.

On September 1, 2012, Wanawan made his PXC debut against the much experienced and submission specialist fighter in Victor Torre. Wanawan impressed the crowd early by tagging Torre with his strikes and taking his opponent down with vicious judo throws. Wanawan defeated Torre via TKO (punches) in the opening round.

Just when Wanawan starts to gain some momentum on his career, in November of 2012, he lost in the hands of a knockout specialist, Eugene Toquero at PXC 34. That first loss on Wanawan’s career sent him back to the drawing board and surely taught him a lot of lessons.

Jerome Wanawan’s next fight is scheduled next week, May 18th, at the Ynares Sports Arena, Pasig City, Philippines, at PXC 37 against one of the heavy-handed flyweight fighters, Ernesto Montilla Jr.

Wanawan knows that this fight is the most important fight of his career to date as he aims to get back to the winning column; that is why he is preparing very well for his fight against Montilla Jr. on May 18th.

“Training has been good so far. I need to win this fight and apply those techniques I’ve learned in my preparations at PXC 37.”

He is extra motivated to train for this fight because the picture of him losing against Toquero still lingers on his mind.

“I was out of focus on that fight. Our gameplan was to strike and take him down but I got a lot of things coming to my mind that night. But I respect Toquero, he was better than me that night.”, Wanawan said.

Wanawan is facing a serious threat against Montilla Jr., who is a physically gifted athlete who has a nuclear bomb on his fists. Montilla is coming off a submission (Rear-Naked Choke) win over a highly-regarded striking specialist, Ruel Catalan.

“Montilla is a well-rounded guy. He’s got great ground skills and boxing, that’s why I’m working really hard for this fight. I know he is not a pushover but I am confident I will in the fight.”

When asked on what is his advantage over Montilla, “My advantage would be my speed. Montilla is really a tough fighter, but I am willing to stand and bang with him.”, Wanawan answered.

Since he tasted his first-ever loss agains Toquero, Wanawan made some adjustments in his training. This includes managing his time wisely and prolonging his everyday training up to 3 hours.

“What has changed in this training camp is time. In my previous fights, I am sometimes late for the scheduled time of training and we only train for 2 hours, 2 times everyday. But now, I am always on time for practice and we extend another hour to train, so we train for 3 hours, 2 times a day.”

There’s no doubt that Wanawan’s striking abilities is second to none in his division. But one thing that he is focusing on right now is to become a well-rounded fighter by honing his ground skills. He is also aware of his opponent’s impressive ground game, that is why he spends more time on the ground to perfect his grappling.

“My ground game is improving. Coach Mark is always reminding me to focus more on my ground defense. Like what I’ve said, Montilla is a great fighter, so I really need to prepare for him.”

Wanawan is lucky to have an incredible team behind him who is always there to support. Team Lakay, for him, made him not just a better fighter, but joining the most dominant fight team in the Philippines made him a much better person.

“One thing I’ve learned since joining this great team is how to manage your time. Time is very important in our lives, we need to use it properly. Also, being with these fantastic fighters here at Team Lakay gives me extra motivation to train harder everyday.”

The Bachelors of Science in Education graduate is fighting not only for himself, but for his family’s future as well.

“Fighting helped me reach one of my biggest dreams; to graduate from college. It helped me provide those material things necessary for my studies. I fight to secure my family’s future. I am really thankful to those people who helped me, especially coach Mark Sangiao, who has been with us since day one, our mentor, guidance counselor and our second dad, he is the best.”

On May 18th, Wanawan looks to amaze the fans once again as he takes on a fellow talented fighter in Montilla Jr.

Headlining the PXC 37 card is a World Bantamweight Championship bout between the champ Crisanto Pitpitunge and the challenger Michinori Tanaka.

Also, the first fight of the four-man featherweight tourney is set between Hawaii’s Nate Thorell and South Korea’s Yan Jong Kim.

Visit PXC.COM.PH see the complete fight card for PXC 37!

Newly Signed PXC Fighter Is Ready To Shake The Lightweight Division

syafiq 2

Keep your eye on Syafiq “The Slasher” Bin Abdul Samad (1-0 of Juggernaut Fight Club in Singapore), a ultra talented kid with a very exciting style of fighting, and newly-signed PXC lightweight fighter. This young fighter is on his way up.

The 19-year-old Samad is turning 20 this July and currently taking up Diploma in Sports & Exercise Sciences at Republic Polytechnic in Singapore. He is the youngest of three siblings. He has an eldest sister and a late middle sister who passed away before he was born.

All of us got some unforgettable moments during our younger years, but The Slasher, when he was 14, got into a very deadly situation where he and his friend almost died because of mistaken identity and soon changed his entire perspective on life,

“When I was 14 years old, I was walking home with my friend in my neighborhood  When suddenly 14-17 Chinese gangsters just surrounded us and attacked us, just because they mistook us as someone else. I got slashed on my left arm and leg and my friend ran away. After I recovered, I wanted to do something big with my life. 

One day, I watched the reality show, “The Contender Asia”, I saw the fighters on TV slugging it out in the ring and straight away I knew that, that was what I wanted, to be a fighter just like them. The first martial art that I practiced was Muay Thai.” 

Acquiring mass amounts of knowledge on the strand-up aspect of fighting, the Singapore native’s transition to MMA the following years displayed an eagerness for being molded into a complete fighter dangerous on all cylinders. According to Team Juggernaught’s Head Coach, Arvind Lalwani, Samad has over 22 amateur Boxing and Muay Thai fights and has been collected over 8 championships in his young career. He is also the first Singaporean to win an Asian Muay Thai Championship, and now the first Singaporean to sign a professional MMA deal with PXC. For Samad, to become a complete MMA fighter, you need to hone your skills in both striking and grappling department,

“I was only into Muay Thai and Boxing at first but after I was introduced to MMA by a friend and former wrestling & MMA coach of Juggernaut Fight Club, Andrew Leone, I competed in my first Amateur MMA tournament in Bangkok called ‘Naksu’ which I won, and from there I started to be more interested in MMA.

Also to me, I personally feel that MMA is a much tougher challenge as there are so many martial arts to train, improve and maintain and to incorporate and develop them. You can’t just train one martial art and expect to stand a chance in the cage.”

When asked on what are his thoughts on the MMA scene in Singapore,

“The MMA scene in Singapore is steadily rising to popularity. 3-4 years ago, most Singaporeans don’t even know MMA existed but now more people are being introduced to MMA through the television, advertisements, newspapers and internet or even by word of mouth. But even with more MMA shows being organised almost everywhere, some of us young Singaporeans still find it hard to compete due to lack of constant local MMA competitions at the low levels in Singapore.”

Syafiq is currently training at Juggernaut Fight Club in Singapore, a gym where he and some of the young up and coming fighters calls home,

I am currently training at Juggernaut Fight Club(JFC) which is located at 50B Boat Quay, Singapore. We have Arvind “The Juggernaut” Lalwani who is the head Boxing coach and the technical director at JFC, Wes Jaya, our head Muay Thai coach, Ali, another one of our senior Boxing coach, Danielle West a world ranked pro MMA female fighter who is the wrestling and MMA coach and we also have Tommy Yang, a super talented and awesome fighter who is 6-0 in MMA who is currently our Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA coach. We also have Jun Hao is in the Singapore National Boxing team and he is one of the assistant coaches in Boxing and Muay Thai. The people at JFC is like my second family and JFC is my second home. I spend most of my time there if I’m not at home or school.

Samad, before making his pro MMA debut on September of last year, is making his name in the amateur leagues as one of the brightest MMA prospects Singapore has ever produced. At Dare ‘The Most Dangerous Gameshow’, the 18-year-old Samad defeated Donald Tong via 1st round submission and made a big statement that he is ready to face a much tougher challenge the professional league will offer him,

“I trained super hard for that fight and I was in pretty good shape. My plan was to stand and bang with him and keep the fight standing as I heard that he was a BJJ purple belt and that meant that there is a high possibility that he will take me to the ground and try to submit me. I did a lot of wrestling and BJJ defense in preparation for the fight and it paid off. I did not expect to submit him in the last few minutes of the last round though, he made a mistake and I simply took the opportunity that was handed to me. I went hysterical after I submitted him!”

Here’s the video:

The Slasher’s Pro Boxing Debut:

The young and insanely talented slugger from Singapore has recently signed with the biggest MMA promotion in the Philippines, Pacific Xtreme Combat (PXC). As one of Asia-Pacific’s premier MMA organizations, PXC has built a reputation as the most experienced promotion outside of Japan with 36 professional events, and since expanding to the Philippines in 2011, PXC shows have garnered some of the highest ratings of any MMA show in the region.

“I feel over the moon to have signed with the PXC! But now is not the time to be all excited and happy about it. It has only just begun and I have to step up my game and train hard so that I can prove everyone that I am no pushover.”

When asked on what are his thoughts on the PXC’s lightweight division,

 “I have watched some of the fighters in PXC’s lightweight division and they all are without a doubt pretty tough as nails. Most of them are very good strikers.”

Syafiq Abdul Samad is slated to make his PXC debut against Lightweight, Glen Ranillo, a strong Filipino veteran to PXC with a record of 2-2. Ranillo is coming off an impressive win in PXC-35 earlier this year, and hopes welcome Samad to PXC with a bang.

PXC-37 will take place on May 18, 2013 at The Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig-Manila, Philippines. The event will be broadcast nation-wide on AKTV via IBC-13 to millions of viewers in the Philippines, and will stream online via PXC’s Facebook page. Visit www.pxc.com.ph or http://www.facebook.com/pxcmma for news and information.

Here’s Our Interview With Team Lakay’s Rising Star, Dave “The Scarecrow” Galera

daveThere comes a point in every fighter’s journey where they come in contact with that important moment in their career that defines who they are. Traveling along down his fight venture Dave “The Scarecrow” Galera is about to hit a pinnacle moment in his MMA career career as he gets the opportunity to fight for the interim bantamweight title belt at URCC 23 ‘Unrivaled’ in SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, Philippines.

A lifelong martial arts practitioner Galera has put many years into his training that has got him to where he is today. With this deep dedication in what he does there is no denying that he would be rewarded with many great accolades in his venture. Holding a perfect  record of 4-0, Dave Galera brings an exciting yet strategic approach in all of his fights. This method has equaled major success coming out victorious over all his opponents with the majority of the fights ending in the first round thus dubbing Galera as a rising sensation throughout his homeland.

Despite of being a massive bantamweight fighter with tremendous mentality of a warrior, Dave Galera is also known for his very impressive ground game. He is a purple belt under Charles Gracie and now trains in the Philippines at Team Lakay in Baguio City, Philippines.

He is set to take on a highly dangerous striker in Reydon “Red” Romero on April 27th at URCC 23, dubbed as “Unrivaled”, for the URCC interim bantamweight belt.

MMA Orient: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Galera:

My name is Dave Galera. You can call me, The Scarecrow. I was born in Santa Clara, California and raised in Baguio City. I’m a father of 2 beautiful girls Melissa Mae and Marisselle.

MMA Orient: How did you get into the sport?

Galera:

I started BJJ 2005 under Charles Gracie and moved back to Baguio City. Since then, I’ve been training with Coach Mark at Team Lakay.

MMA Orient: Who is your biggest inspiration?

Galera:

Well there are a few names: The Landslide, The Silencer, The Punisher, The Rock, The Slugger, The Machine… these guys motivates everyday.

MMA Orient: What’s the history behind your nickname “Scarecrow”?

Galera:

Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon named me, “The Scarecrow”, after I weighed in for a fight last year. He told me I looked like a scarecrow after cutting weight.

MMA Orient: You are training at Team Lakay, the most dominant fight team in the Philippines today. What is it like for you to be a part of fight team that includes One FC lightweight champ Honorio “The Rock” Banario, PXC bantamweight champ Crisanto “The Slugger” Pitpitunge, URCC and MCFC champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, URCC flyweight and pinweight champion, Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon and Rey “The Punisher” Docyogen?

Galera:

I’m really blessed to be part of these guys’ Team. They’re not not just my training partners-I consider them family.

MMA Orient: Could you tell us more about Team Lakay’s Fighters Program and how it has elevated your overall game?

Galera:

Hardcore!

MMA Orient: How has being with Team Lakay changed you as a person and as a fighter?

Galera:

I became a better person in and out.

MMA Orient: You are an undefeated fighter with 4-0 record. You are coming off a very impressive submission win over one of the toughest bantamweights in the Philippines, Keiff Mangusan. There were controversies on that fight because some fans saw that when you first caught him with that triangle, he clearly tapped, but the referee didn’t saw it. But in the end, you still caught him using the same choke and he did tap. Tell us a bit about that fight.

Galera:

I know Keiff Mangusan as fighter. He is a good fighter. It’s a sport and sometimes we have to fight the same guys we know. Its part of the job. It was a good fight. I trained hard. I just had to prove it twice that I was a better fighter that night.

MMA Orient: You are a quite big for a bantamweight fighter. How much weight do you cut from walking around weight to fight weight and how that affects your strength and stamina the day of the fight?

Galera:

My walk-in weight is 74 kilos. Cutting weight is no joke, it affects pretty much my strength and stamina but, again, that’s part of the game. Professionals need to follow the rules and one of those is cutting weight.

MMA Orient: Your next fight will be in April at URCC 23 against Red Romero for the URCC interim bantamweight title. What do you know about Romero?

Galera:

Pretty impressive guy can’t say nothing bad about him.

MMA Orient: What holes do you see in his game?

Galera:

We’ll see what happens. It’s MMA.

MMA Orient: What can URCC fans expect from you on April against Romero?

Galera:

A good fight!

 MMA Orient: Any shoutouts?

Galera:

My number 1 fan Mariel, Family , XCV, Team Lakay, friends. Thank You GOD for the opportunity!

One FC BW Grand Prix Semifinalist Thanh Vu: ” I will be fighting with all I got and I’m sure Kevin will do the same.”

thanh vu

Life changing events alters many individuals in a significant way. Becoming involved in martial arts is a monumental event that can without question shape one’s life for the better.

The chronological events from the day he was born, until he made his first pro MMA debut, has made a profound impact on Thanh Vu (3-1) for it has given him a great deal of motivation for perfecting every aspect of his life. Inspired by his parents who worked hard to give him a better life, Vu’s decision to become an MMA fighter in 2011 showcased his willingness in creating his own lane for himself in life.

“My biggest inspiration would be my parents; they’ve come from a country where it was hard to survive and where hard work is the only way to get far in life. They have been through more than I could imagine that’s why they are my biggest inspiration.”

Vu is coming off a very convincing TKO win over Mohd Fouzein at One FC 7 ‘Return of Warriors’ last February. Vu, in that fight, proved to other fighters in his division that he is for real and he aims to get the belt in the future, which currently owns by the South Korean fighter, Soo Chul Kim.

At the age of 5, Thanh Vu learned his first-ever discipline in Kung Fu, “I first got into Kung Fu when I was the age of 5 but I only did it for about a year then I stopped after that. So really MMA was my first in my eyes.”

Vu is currently signed under One Fighting Championship, a Singapore-based MMA promotion that is slowly becoming the face of Asian MMA.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to be fighting in ONE FC, I couldn’t ask for more fighting for the biggest show in Asia. It means everything to me to be fighting on ONE FC.”

Even though he is slowly building his name in this tough sport, Vu still knows that he still has a long way to go and will do everything just to be at the top of the food chain.

“Life is still the same after my last fight; I came back to my full-time job and go to training afterwards everyday. What I can say is that it has made me more determined to make it as far as I can in ONE FC.”

“My ultimate goal in my fighting career is to succeed and be the best I can be and learn along the way and have a nice title belt around my waist one day.”, Vu added.

Vu’s next assignment is to get himself into the One FC’s Bantamweight Grand Prix Finals. But first, he must defeat a very tough opponent in Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon (10-2) on Friday, April 5th in Singapore.

“Kevin is an experienced fighter in the Phillipines and is the URCC flyweight champion. So he knows what he’s doing inside the cage, so this will be a tough fight. As far as what holes do I see in his game, I haven’t really paid attention to Kevin’s game as such. Whatever he does, I will surely have an answer for it.”

“ONE FC fans can definitely expect an exciting fight on April 5th. I will be fighting with all I got and I’m sure he will do the same, so it will be a good fight.” Vu added.

On the same night, another Bantamweight Semifinals matchup is set between two veterans of the sport as former UFC lightweight champ, Jens Pulver, looks to eliminate Japanese MMA icon, Masakatsu Ueda.

When asked on what are his thoughts on Pulver versus Ueda fight, “It’s a tough one to say between the two, both fighters have ton of experience and I really can’t pick one. I will just be grab my seat straight away to sit down and watch with the rest of the fans.”

Thanh Vu would like to thank the following:

Rockhard Supplements, MMA Factory, Plus Fitness 24/7. My coaches David and Glenn Taylor-Smith for all their time and effort into his training without them it would not be possible, his Muay Thai coach Khru Suriya and Khru Adam and of course, his training partners and the fight team. He would also like to thank all his friends and family for their awesome support and of course, ONE FC for giving me this opportunity.

One FC: Kings and Champions on 5 April 2013 will feature 10 explosive bouts of world-class MMA headlined by the most highly-anticipated bout in Asian MMA history – a title fight between One FC Lightweight Champion Kotetsu “No Face” Boku and probably the most famous name in Asian MMA, Shinya “Tobikan Judan: Aoki.

Visit www.onefc.com for more information

Interview with rising welterweight fighter, Ryan “The Real Deal” Ford

N Winski Photo

Given the scenario there is nothing like that surge of adrenaline rushing through the body that makes one fully prepared to face any challenge placed in front of them. The desire for change is always a driving incentive that can motivate anyone to tackle any endeavor without fear of danger in hopes of fulfilling their personal goals.

Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Ryan “The Real Deal” Ford (19-4), before becoming an MMA fighter, was always involved into street fights. There were times where he finds himself locked up inside the cell, but those experiences made him a tough human being today.

Ford is one of the best welterweights in Canada behind his team mates at Tristar, UFC welterweight champ GSP and “The Waterboy” Rory Macdonald. Ryan is ultra-tough fighter physically and mentally and is one of the feared welterweights in the fight business today. He is the son of the former Canadian boxing lightweight champion, Al Ford, a guy who compiled a massive 55 wins and 19 losses during his boxing days (No wonder why his son, Ryan is such a talented fighter who as a brutal knockout power in both of his hands).

“The Real Deal” keeps climbing the Canadian Welterweight rankings (currently at no. 4 spot) on the heels of a three fight win streak. In his last bout, the Edmonton scrapper pounded on Kyle Baker at Bellator 79 for three rounds. Despite not finishing Baker with the usual Ryan Ford flair (see Luis Santos, Ricky Goodall for that), the win was Ford’s second consecutive in Bellator and his seventh win out of his last eight fights.

Ryan Ford Highlights

Ford, in the past weeks, has been tweeting about him wanting to fight in either PXC or One FC. He even calls out PXC fighters, Ryan Bigler and Boracay MMA’s Zebaztian Kadestam, and he wants to fight either of those guys in May 18th in Manila at PXC 37.

Personally, since PXC will sign Strikeforce vet Herman Terrado, I’d like to see him make his debut against Ryan Ford. It will be an insane fight as two heavy-handed welterweights will battle it out to knock each other out and to entertain the crowd.

Here’s our interview with heavy-handed fighter Ryan “The Real Deal” Ford.”

MMA Orient:  How did you get into the sport of MMA?

Ford:

Well, I got in some trouble in my past was sitting in my cell watching the UFC on TV, said to myself I can do this shit, got out, went down to the gym where local UFC guys were training. I trained for 2 weeks and had my first fight won by TKO in the second round.

MMA Orient: Your nickname is “Real Deal” who gave you that name?

Ford:

I was given the nickname The Real Deal from a few of the guys I hung around with. They saw how hard I trained and the focus I had on becoming a fighter and one day were like Ryan you are The Real Deal. 

MMA Orient: Have you always been ultra-competitive?

Ford:

Always, Its in my blood. My dad was the boxing Canadian lightweight Champion at 18 years old and rank #3 in the world. I have played sports all my life always looking for a challenge.

MMA Orient: What would you say your biggest strengths are, and what’s the thing you need to work on the most? 

Ford:

I would say my biggest strengths would be my work ethic, athleticism, strength & power. Not many things I need to work on the most I just focus on my overall fight game from top to bottom.

MMA Orient:  You’ve gotten a chance to train with the UFC welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre. What was that experience like?

Ford:

It don’t get no better! Being able to train with the best in the world and have him give you pointers on the fight game, when it comes time for the next scrap it’s not like I’m not gonna see anything better than what the Champ has to offer.

MMA Orient:  How much weight you cut from walking around weight to fight weight and how that affects your strength and stamina the day of the fight?

Ford:

I usually walk around 195lbs – 200lbs. While in training camp, I clean the diet up and usually takes about 4 weeks to get to 185lbs and I will stay around that weight ’till weight cutting time to make 170lbs. The weight cut is easy work now I have my body down to a science now so I am 100% come fight night.

MMA Orient: Where do yo see yourself going, is it for the belt or to fame? or is it just about the fun of it?

Ford:

For me I’m what you call a “Prize Fighter” I’m in this sport to make Money cause this is what I do to feed my family. Plus I love to fight like I said it’s in my blood and there is no better job in the world to do than something you love. If there is a belt to win then I’m down to take it and Keep it around my waist.

MMA Orient: Who is your toughest opponent so far and why?

Ford:

Toughest as in durable, I would have to say Pat “Bam Bam” Healy. Toughest as in who has made the best come out of me, Luis “Sapo” Santos 50-7 now 50-8.

MMA Orient:  What do you think of the GSP vs. Nick Diaz fight this weekend in Canada?

Ford:

I think it is going to be a really good scrap. I believe Diaz is the guy who will bring the Best out of GSP it should be very entertaining with George taking the win.

MMA Orient: Do you think Bruce Lee, Muhammad Ali, Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal would make it in MMA? Do you think they would be nothing special in the cage?

Ford:

The only one out of those names that I think would do good in the cage would be Bruce Lee. He was a true Martial artist.

MMA Orient: Who is your biggest inspiration?

Ford:

My biggest inspiration would be my Mom. She’s a very strong woman. single mother that was able to provide for me, my brother and little sister at the hardest times. Always made sure we were taken care of whether it be food on our plate and sports to play.She made sure we had it.

MMA Orient:  What’s your favorite strike/submission to use in any fight?

Ford:

Don’t really have a favorite strike/submission as long as I get in there and put it all on the line and make it exciting fight for the fans, I’m good! At the end of the day, I like to scrap whether it’s giving a beat down knocking someone out or choking the sh*t out of them. I’m gonna get the job done!

MMA Orient: Do you like to stand with your opponents or take them to the ground?

Ford:

Well, all fights start standing so we can bang it out on the feet or I can pick you up slam your ass to the mat following it up with my vicious ground n pound; it really don’t matter.

MMA Orient: They say Grant Fuhr’s favorite sound in hockey was the puck hitting the post. What’s your favorite sound when your in a fight?

Ford:

I would have to say the sound of the crowd going crazy when I’m throwing down nothing beats that!

MMA Orient: What does it mean for you to be a fighter?

Ford:

Being a fighter is a Lifestyle. Not many people can do what we do. We are your modern day Gladiator/Warriors. I’ve always been a warrior. Stepping up to challenges and facing adversity right in the eye. Being able to prove to people that I can do it when they all doubt me.

MMA Orient: You’ve been tweeting about your intentions on fighting Ryan Bigler or Zebaztian Kadestam in PXC in the Philippines. What do you think of the PXC and its pool of talent?

Ford:

Yeah, I have been tweeting about the guys that are the top contenders. I don’t know if they are but if they are, I would be glad to step in the cage with them and show them why they call me The Real Deal. I believe the PXC has a good pool of talent but if they were to bring in me they would see a different Breed of fighter. I’m just that guy that keeps it real and puts it on 100%.

MMA Orient: Your are ranked 4th in Canadian Welterweight rankings behind GSP , Rory Macdonald and Jordan Mein. How do you think you will do against international welterweight competition?

Ford:

Well I have fought a lot of guys who are international being from the USA, Brazil and what not, it don’t matter to me where your from I will put it on your ass and let you know when I’m from! Its all good in the hood!

MMA Orient: What are your ultimate goals in MMA?

Ford:

My ultimate goals in MMA is to win fights and get payed be the best in the world. If titles are offered well I’m down to take them. Most of all I want people to know when Ryan Ford fights, he fights it’s never a boring fight and to have you on your feet the whole time. 

MMA Orient: What separates you from any other fighters in your division?

Ford:

The struggles that I have over come through out my life separates me from other fighters. It gives me that mental edge to overcome adversity in a fight. Also the way I do my JOB in and outside the cage. Im all about the hustle and keeping it G’D UP.

Follow Ryan “The Real Deal” Ford on Twitter: @RyanFordMMA

Also, follow me on Twitter: @zikeyorient

Harris Sarmiento: “I know the people would love to see a rematch with Mark Striegl.”

Harris Sarmiento during the post-fight interview - Photo by Sev BJr of ritratozilvidu.com

Harris Sarmiento during the post-fight interview at PXC 35 – Photo by Sev BJr of ritratozilvidu.com

808 Fight Factory’s own, the current PXC lightweight champion, Harris “The Hitman” Sarmiento cemented the seventh submission win of his MMA career against rising Filipino star Isaiah “Ice” Ordiz in PXC 35 last weekend at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

Everyone knows how solid Sarmiento’s striking game is. But last week, at PXC 35, we saw a very different Harris Sarmiento, we saw a more intelligent and dangerous fighter when he submitted the very talented Ordiz in the first round by way of kimura lock.

“I know everyone was expecting me to trade punches with him and a stand-up war. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone. Everyone knows that I can up and bang. I just wanted to keep it safe and I knew that once I get on top, I’m gonna finish the fight.” 

Sarmiento really trained hard for that fight. As always, he gave his best in the gym to become a better fighter and defend his title against the scrappy Ordiz. It is one of the most unforgettable fight camps of Sarmiento’s career as he made some changes during the preparations for his title defense at PXC 35.

Sarmiento scored a take down over Ordiz - Photo by Sev BJr. of ritratozilvidu.com

Sarmiento scored a take down over Ordiz – Photo by Sev BJr. of ritratozilvidu.com

“For that fight, I concentrated a lot on boxing and jiu-jitsu, worked a lot and sparring with taller guys and left handed. I also changed my training regime prior to that fight. I have a pro boxing coach now and he his really well-known in the boxing world. Been working a lot on ground game at Alliance Jiu-Jitsu, doing gi with a lot of good guys, also strength conditioning for long lasting performance. And of course, working with my team 808 Top Team and 808 Fight Factory.”

After the fight getting his hand raised last weekend, during the post fight interview, Sarmiento calls out Striegl for a rematch, who was also in attendance that night. The fans and PXC officials seemed very excited about the rematch. Striegl immediately responded on Sarmiento’s call as he said in one of his interviews that he is cool of having a rematch with the current PXC lightweight champion, but it is all up to the PXC officials and if the rematch happens, it must still be at the featherweight limit. But if you’re going to ask Sarmiento, it doesn’t matter whether the rematch takes place at featherweight or lightweight. He just wants it to happen because he knows he can beat Striegl and the fans really wants to see it,

“After that lost to mark, I was really mad at myself because I know that I’m better than him in any aspect of the game. I just got too confident and careless because I wanted to beat him on his own game. I know the people would love to see a rematch with Mark.”

harris 4

Photo by Sev BJr. of ritratozilvidu.com for MMA Orient

When asked on what does being a champion means to him, “Being a champion to me means being a role model to the people, the fans and everyone that has a dream. You can do anything in the world as long as you put your mind and dedicate yourself into it. You can do anything.”, Sarmiento answered.

After his title defense against Ordiz last weekend, Sarmiento is no doubt, one of the best lightweights in the region. And the fact that he is now focusing more into his ground game makes him a very scary dude inside the cage. He always strive for the best because he knows that working your butt off everyday in the gym will bring you into the top.

“There’s no secret on being successful in this business. Fighting to me is a way of life, handwork pays off, it’s how bad you want it.”

“Just wanna give a shout out to all the people that helped me out for my fight. My sponsors and management, also Alliance Jiu-Jitsu, Kakaako Boxing Club, Coach Bobby Villaler, Powerhouse MMA, Warhorse Strength Conditioning, 808 Fight Factory and specially my team 808 Top Team. Mahalo and Mabuhay!”

For the latest updates about Harris Sarmiento, visit, http://www.pxc.com.ph

Kevin Belingon: “There’s a possibilty that I will go back and fight as a flyweight. But for now, my aim is to win the bantamweight belt. “

Kevin-Belingon

Every person is born with a purpose. No matter what occupation they fall under filling that significant void allows humans to live their lives to the fullest despite the challenges encountered during their pursuit.

Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon is from the top MMA fight team in Asia, Team Lakay. He is known for being a powerful striker with excellent conditioning. Belingon is the owner of a left hand punch that knocked out Yusup Saadulaev out cold during their fight at One FC 6 – Rise of Kings.

Like his team mates at Team Lakay, Belingon is packed with serious power on both of his hands, deadly kicks, and has a solid ground and pound game.

Although he lost at the hands of Japanese leg lock wizard, Masakazu Imanari and to the current One FC bantamweight champ, Soo Chul Kin, Belingon never lost his passion to become one of the best in the game, instead,those losses made him more hungrier to get into the top of his division.

The current URCC flyweight champion is slowly climbing up the One FC bantamweight ladder by qualifying in the semi-finals of the Bantamweight Grand Prix. He is set to fight Thanh Vu on April 5th in Singapore at One FC 8 ‘Kings and Champions’ and looks to advance to the tourney final.

one fc bw grand prix

Check out what Belingon has to say about his last fight, the current One FC bantamweight champion and his next opponent:

MMA Orient: Hi, Kevin, how’s it going?

Belingon:

I’m doing great! I am back in the gym training.

MMA Orient: Let us talk about your latest triumph over a very dangerous opponent in Yusup Saadulaev. When you fought Saadulaev, he is considered as one of the top bantmaweights not only in Asia but also in the entire globe. Can you tell us what came to your mind when One FC officials informed you that you will be facing Saadulaev at One FC ‘Return of Warriors’?

Belingon:

Feeling nervous is always there, it is natural. But of course, I always train hard at the gym to prepare myself for battle. I didn’t ignore the fact that he is I think no. 24 in the world bantamweight rankings. I really trained hard for that fight and expected to finish him in the later rounds, but the opportunity to knock him out came early in the first round.

MMA Orient: What special training did you do during your preparations for your fight against Saadulaev?

Belingon:

I pretty much trained all aspects of my game, but we really gave some extra time workin on my wrestling because I kow that Saadulaev’s a world-class wrestler and I know he will take me down and I am happy that I came up as the winner in that fight.

MMA Orient: Your team has added another belt, and this time, it is the very significant belt that a Team Lakay fighter has ever achieved, as your team mate, Honorio “The Rock” Banario was crowned the first-ever One FC featherweight world champion when he beat Eric Kelly at One FC 7. How improtant is Banario’s win for your team and what is the impact of it to you as his team mate?

Belingon:

We are happy for him because he got the blet. That win really inspires me and my team mates to train harder to get the other belts. I am really working my butt off every single day at the gym with one goal in mind – to get that One FC Bantamweight belt and add elegant belt into our collections.

MMA Orient: One FC announced that you will be fighting Than Vu on April for the One FC Bantamweight Semi-Finals. What can you say about his latest win over Moud Fouzein at One FC 7?

Belingon:

I didn’t have the chance to watch his recent victory. But I think I can beat him, I just need to train hard.

MMA Orient: What do you think of Than Vu’s game?

Belingon:

I didn’t watch any of his fights yet, but I am always ready to fight whether be it on the ground or on the feet. But I think I have the edge on the striking department.

MMA Orient: This fight is very important for you because a win over Vu will move you closer to the bantamweight title picture and you will face the winner of Pulver vs. Ueda match-up. What do you think is your biggest lead over your fellow bantamweight semi-finalists?

Belingon:

Team Lakay fighter is known for being a hard worker, so I think my biggest advantage to them is that I am always focused every time I am in the gym or having my roadwork and I am always pushing myself to the limit.

MMA Orient: On April  5th at One FC 8, aside from your match-up with Thanh Vu, there will also be another bantamweight semi-final fight between the former UFC lightweight champion, Jens Pulver and Japanese MMA sensation, Masaktus Ueda. Who do you think has the advantage on that fight?

Belingon:

I think Ueda has the advantage over Pulver. I am not taking away from Pulver, but I think he is getting old now and I think Ueda’s reach advantage will be the key to this fight.

MMA Orient: Let us say that you already won the One FC bantamweight belt. Do you have any plans on dropping to the flyweight division to also get the belt? Because you are still the current URCC flyweight king. Are we going to see you fighting as a flyweight in URCC soon?

Belingon:

There’s a possibilty that I will go back and fight as a flyweight in the future. But for now, my aim is to win the bantamweight belt. After that, it’s all up to the One FC officials.

MMA Orient: What can you advise to those aspiring MMA fighters who have a dream to fight in One FC in the future and to become a respected MMA champion like you?

Belingon:

My advice is that they need to train hard and if they’re in the gym, they must stay focused. Also, self-discipline is essential to become an MMA champion and if you’re still in college, do not ever fail your grades.

MMA Orient: Before knocking out Yusup Saadulaev last ____, you lost to the current One FC bantamweight champion, Soo Chul Kim in Manila. What lessons have you learned from that fight?

Belingon:

That loss really teached me a lot of things. I was quite surprised when he took me down early in the fight. I and my team learned from it. During my training camp for that fight, although we worked on improving my ground game, we focused much of the time to polish my striking skills. So since that loss, we are balancing our striking and ground game training.

MMA Orient: Do you have any message for Thanh Vu?

Belingon:

See you inside the cage.

MMA Orient:  Any people you want to thank?

Belingon:

I want to thank the people who are always there to support our team and praying for us. To coach Mark Sangiao, my team mates and our sponsors, thank you very much.