MMA – It’s More Fun In The Philippines By Mark Sangiao

Photo Credit: Mr. Raul Landingin

Photo Credit: Mr. Raul Landingin

As the event is fast approaching, we become more excited. The ONE Fighting Championship 9: Rise to Power is scheduled tonight, May 31, 2013, 7:00 p.m. at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. This is going to be historic, since this is the biggest event in Philippine MMA yet.

Five of our Team Lakay Warriors will be proudly representing the Philippines. The ONE FC Featherweight Champion, Honorio “The Rock” Banario will be having his first title defense against Koji Oishi from Japan. Honorio, who is also the current URCC Lightweight Champion, has no plan of giving away his belt. He intends to take a hold of it for a long time.

Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, the undefeated URCC Bantamweight Champion, is fighting another Japan’s pride, Masakatsu Ueda, for the finals of the ONE FC Bantamweight Grand Prix. Belingon has a goal to be the next Filipino to have a World Championship Belt around his waist and a win against Ueda is going to be a great stepping stone for him to reach that goal.

Eduard “The Landslide” Folayang, the reigning URCC Welterweight Champion, is undoubtedly the face of Filipino MMA. He will be battling against Iranian Kamal Shalorus, who also plans to give the Filipino fans a great fight. Eduard promised to bring a different game this time and we will be witnessing that on his fight tonight.

The current URCC Pinweight Champion, Rey “The Punisher” Docyogen, is going to give the never-say-die attitude and wants to redeem himself from his lost to Shinichi Kojima last April of this year in Malaysia by aiming to defeat the second Japanese fighter he has to face, Yasuhiro Urishitani. Both are fighting under the ONE FC Flyweight division, the most fast-paced and fast-moving division in MMA.

Another flyweight bout, Team Lakay’s Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio will be fighting Andrew Leone, an American who is fighting out of Phuket Top Team, one of the best gyms in Asia. This will be one of the most exciting fights of the night. They both expressed their desire to bring explosive fight, so we’ll see about that come fight night.

So there you go about the ONE FC event. The weigh-in is done. All the Team Lakay fighters made weight. Cutting weight is one of the most significant aspect in preparing for a fight. Besides fighting in the ring/cage, which of course is the most important thing during a fight; not everybody knows the importance of cutting weight. The effort, time, and sacrifices given to cutting weight are very essential factors to be considered. I think for a fighter to be called “professional”, he has to give his everything to make his weight to be fair with his opponent and to follow respectfully the rules of the promotion.

On the other hand, another event going on right now in Manila is the PNG-POC, Wushu National Championships, where most of our Wushu scholars and members from the Cordillera Admininstrative Region are also here for the competition. The event is on-going and ends on June 02, 2013.

Almost all Team Lakay members and supporters are now in Manila for the two events especially for the ONE FC event. Their families, relatives, friends, fans and supporters are here to show their love and support.

Another great thing here is that fans from the northern part of the Philippines, as well as from around the country, are now in Manila for the said event. Likewise, fans from other countries came to visit the Philippines to watch the biggest MMA event the ONE FC has ever had yet. For this reason, therefore, events such as these contribute to the tourism campaign of the country.

After the events local and international tourists can still go on other tourist destinations in the Philippines. While it’s still vacation time particularly in the Philippines, for the students who came to Manila for this event, , they also have the chance to go to some places around Metro Manila and its nearby tourist spots before the start of classes in the coming weeks.

The ONE FC: Rise to Power is going to be fun and exciting! Like that of the first ONE FC event last year in Manila, which was held at the Smart Araneta Colliseum, the deafening cheers from the fans will again fill up the Arena at the SM Mall of Asia. It’s going to be amazing since the fighters promised to give their best and the fight of the night thereby, giving the fans full entertainment and at the end of the night, we hope we all go home with fulfillment, enjoyment, and positive results that we all have been hoping and praying for. GOD Bless Team Lakay Pilipinas on this endeavor!

On behalf of our Team Lakay fighters, Thank you very much for your support and prayers!

Matago-tago tako am-in! Mabuhay tayong lahat!

Indeed, when it comes to MMA and other Combative sports, It’s also More Fun in the Philippines!

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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.

mark sangiao 2

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.

ONE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP FINALIZES ONE FC: RISE TO POWER CARD WITH THREE EXCITING UNDERCARD BOUTS

5 team lakay

Here’s the official release:

08 April 2013 – Singapore: ONE Fighting Championship™ (ONE FC), presented by Casino Filipino and in association with Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC), announced today three undercard bouts for ONE FC: RISE TO POWER. Up and coming Lowen Tynanes will battle the seasoned Felipe Enomoto while MMA veteran Tim Sylvia is back in action against Tony Johnson and fan favorite Ryan Diaz will take on Russian ace Yusup Saadulaev. All the action takes place live on 31 May from the MOA Arena in Manila, Philippines.

As a young MMA fighter, Lowen Tynanes has already made a big impression by winning fights against top opponents in the Philippines, Japan and Malaysia. The high school wrestling champion silenced the home-crowd in Manila by incapacitating crowd-favorite Eduard Folayang with a vicious elbow which caused the doctor to instantly stop the fight. In his last outing at ONE FC, Tynanes also defeated Hong Kong-based South African fighter Vuyisile Colossa via rear naked choke. A proud American, he loves nothing better than to travel to Asia to take on the best local fighters in their own back yards. Tynanes is once again looking forward to showcasing his skills when he takes on Swiss-Japanese fighter Felipe Enomoto.

Each time Felipe Enomoto has entered into the ONE FC cage, he has been the underdog. This time, it is no different. Having established a reputation as being one of the toughest and most durable fighters in Asia who always leaves it all in the cage, Enomoto will undoubtedly be looking to silence the crowd with a decisive victory in the early rounds. Any fight which involves Enomoto is going to be a treat for MMA fans because this fighter never backs down no matter who the opponent is or which round he’s in.

One of the most frightening figures the MMA world has ever witnessed in combat sports action is Tim “The Maine-iac” Sylvia. Towering at over two meters tall, this brute of a man poses a serious threat to every heavyweight fighter in the world. Sylvia has fought over 30 times, won numerous championships and knocked out countless opponents. Sylvia’s unusual combination of size and quickness has ushered in a new era of monstrous, weight cutting heavyweights who seek total domination of their smaller counterparts. Sylvia is looking for a spectacular KO when he squares off against Tony Johnson on 31 May.

Tony Johnson is an imposing heavyweight fighter. Considered a top prospect in the heavyweight division, Johnson is famed for being one of the fastest strikers in the division and is currently on a two fight win streak. At ONE FC: RISE TO POWER, he will be looking to make an impressive debut in the famed ONE FC cage.

Ryan Diaz has been training in MMA for over ten years and already has thirteen professional wins to his name. Over a long career, Diaz continues to perfect his background in BJJ, Muay Thai and boxing. He possesses incredible power and strength. Diaz is much more experienced of the two fighters and will be looking to use his strength to overpower his Russian opponent and return to the USA victorious. After 2 outings in the ONE FC cage, Russian wrestler Saadulaev is still searching for his first ONE FC victory and will enter the cage for the third time with the determination to prevent a Diaz win at all costs.

Tickets for ONE FC: RISE TO POWER on 31 May are exclusively available at Casino Filipino outlets nationwide. Refer to www.onefc.com/tickets for details.

Fans from around the world can witness the action online via live streaming atwww.onefc.livesport.tv.

The first three undercard fights are available for viewing free-of-charge and the main card fights will be available for purchase at just US$9.99.

ONE FC: RISE TO POWER is headlined  by a ONE FC Featherweight World Championship bout between reigning champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario against number one contender Koji Oishi and pound-for-pound king Bibiano Fernandes taking on Koetsu Okazaki for the ONE FC Bantamweight Interim Title.  All the action takes place live from the MOA Arena in Manila, Philippines.

 

For more updates on ONE Fighting Championship™, please visit www.onefc.com and follow on Twitter @ONEFCMMA and Facebook at www.facebook.com/ONEFCMMA.

ONE FC 9 ‘Rise to Power’ Adds Docyogen vs. Urushitani and Eustaquio vs. Leone

one fc

Here’s the official press release:

ONE Fighting Championship™ (ONE FC), presented by Casino Filipino and in association with Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC), announced today the final two main card bouts for ONE FC: RISE TO POWER. Rey Docyogen will battle Yasuhiro Urushitani and Geje Eustaquio will take on Andrew Leone. All the action takes place live on 31 May from the 20,000-seat MOA Arena in Manila, Philippines.

CEO of ONE Fighting Championship™ Victor Cui stated, “ONE FC: RISE TO POWER is one of the most stacked cards in MMA history. We are bringing out the biggest names in Asian MMA as we return to the fight capital of Asia, Manila. Having these four warriors compete in front of 20,000 screaming fans inside the state-of-the-art MOA Arena is going to be incredible. Fans have been waiting for the return of Geje Eustaquio and the debut of Andrew Leone. Adding a fight between Rey Docyogen and Yasuhiro Urushitani is icing on the cake. I know that the millions of ONE FC fans around the world can’t wait to watch these modern day gladiators collide on 31 May.”

Docyogen

Rey Docyogen is one of the most exciting prospects to have ever emerged from the Philippines and has smashed his way through the flyweight and pinweight divisions in his home country. What Docyogen lacks in stature, he more than makes up for in strength and determination and he is renowned for his devastating ground and pound. He has four wins by stoppage due to strikes and four wins by submission, which is testament to how well-rounded he is. On 31 May, he will be making his second appearance inside the famed ONE FC cage against Japan’s Yasuhiro Urushitani.

Urushitani

Urushitani is the latest top Japanese fighter to sign with ONE FC and is one of the most experienced fighters in the featherweight division. He is a Shooto practitioner who made his MMA debut over a decade ago and has 31 fights to his name. He is a tenacious competitor who is no stranger to a tough fight. A stand up specialist, Urushitani is firmly established as one of the most dangerous fighters Japan has ever produced.

Geje

Geje Eustaquio was last seen in the ONE FC cage at ONE FC: BATTLE OF HEROES in Jakarta, Indonesia. Eustaquio shocked the MMA world by defeating Alex Silva by decision in his first ONE FC outing. He trains alongside ONE FC Featherweight Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario at Team Lakay in Baguio, Philippines. Eustaquio will be looking to do his nation proud when he battles American Andrew Leone at ONE FC: RISE TO POWER.

Leone

Leone is an accomplished wrestler who has been working tirelessly on his Muay Thai and BJJ since joining the renowned Phuket Top Team. As a young MMA fighter, Leone has already made a big impression by winning fights against Soo Chul Kim and Min Jung Song. He is in the best fighting form of his life and is determined to make an impression in his highly-anticipated ONE FC debut come 31 May.

ONE FC: RISE TO POWER is headlined by the ONE FC Featherweight World Championship bout between reigning champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario and the number one contender Koji Oishi, plus the ONE FC Bantamweight Interim Title bout between pound-for-pound king Bibiano Fernandes and Koetsu Okazaki. All the action takes place live from the MOA Arena in Manila, Philippines.

Tickets for ONE FC: RISE TO POWER on 31 May are exclusively available at Casino Filipino outlets nationwide. Refer towww.onefc.com/tickets for details.

Fans from around the world can witness the action online via live streaming at www.onefc.livesport.tv.

The first three undercard fights are available for viewing free-of-charge and the main card fights will be available for purchase at just US$9.99.

For more updates on ONE Fighting Championship™, please visit www.onefc.com and follow on Twitter @ONEFCMMA and Facebook atwww.facebook.com/ONEFCMMA.

Team Lakay’s Geje Eustaquio Faces Phuket Top Team’s Andrew Leone On May 31st in Manila!

Photo by: Onefc.com

Photo by: Onefc.com

Two very skilled flyweight fighters are set to face each other in front of thousands of fight fans and will surely give us a heck of a fight as Team Lakay’s Geje “The Gravity” Eustaquio (4-1) scraps with Phuket Top Team’s Andrew Leone (5-2) on  May 31st for One FC 9 ‘Rise to Power’ at SM MOA Arena in the Philippines and will try to get themselves closer to the One FC flyweight title picture.

One FC 9 ‘Rise to Power’ will be headlined by One FC world featherweight championship as Team Lakay’s Honorio “The Rock” Banario (8-1) defends his world title against a highly skilled veteran Koji Oishi (23-9-10).

Brazilian bantamweight phenom Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes (13-3) looks for his second One FC win as he takes on Koetsu Okazaki (8-2) for the One FC Interim Bantamweight Title.

Andrew Leone is a natural flyweight fighter and is quite a massive fighter for the said weight class. He is a wrestling coach at PTT and got some wicked ground game. It will be an interesting to see how good Leone’s striking is as he currently trains with some of the best strikers in Asia in Phuket, Thailand.

Leone has a notable wins over UFC bantamweight fighter, Kong Hyo Kang and the current One FC world bantamweight champ, Soo Chul Kim. It has been almost a year since we saw Leone in action, that’s why I’m pretty sure that he is pumped for this fight and looks to win his One FC debut against the super tough fighter from the Phililppines, Geje Eustaquio in front of thousands of Filipino fight fans in Manila.

Andrew Leone is probably Eustaquio’s toughest opponent to date, but one thing I like about this warrior is that he never get intimidated by his foe. Like what I’ve said before, Eustaquio is a tactician, he fights hard and smart. He is one of the well-rounded fighters at Team Lakay. He works hard everyday to be the best because he knows that fighting in a world-class fighter in a world-class MMA promotion requires a lot of sacrifices just to get on top.

This will be Eustaquio’s second One FC appearance. He made his One FC debut last February 11 of 2012 against world-class BJJ champion, Alex Silva. Geje won that fight via unanimous decision and showed that he is one of the most feared flyweights in Asia today. Eustaquio is famous for his striking abilities and a very relaxed but deadly style of fighting. He will once again, go up against a superb grappler in Leone. Although he has fought and beaten some of the best grapplers in Asian MMA, Eustaquio never underestimates Leone and he will fight like it is a world championship fight.

This match-up is probably one of the most anticipated at One FC 9 in Manila.

One FC 9 will also feature Filipino MMA icon Eduard Folayang (12-3) versus WEC and UFC vet Kamal Shalorus (7-3-2).

Another Team Lakay fighter will be seen live in action on May 31st as Kevin Belingon (11-2) will make the most important fight of his MMA career as he will go up against Japanese submission specialist, Masakatsu Ueda (17-2) for the One FC Bantamweight Grand Prix Finals.

Also, Former UFC flyweight fighter, Yasuhiro Urushitani (19-6-6) looks to end his losing skid against Rey “The Punisher” Docyogen (10-1), who looks to redeem himself after a devastating 3rd round submission defeat at the hands of Shinichi Kojima at One FC ‘Return of Warriors’ last February.

Check out ww.onefc.com for the latest updates.

My MMA Weekend in Kuala Lumpur. One FC Return of Warriors.

Feature Story. SevBJr a.k.a. Zilvidu, chief photographer  for mmaorient.net shares with us his Photos at One FC 7 and his thoughts about his MMA weekend experience in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

On the weekend of February 2, three Pinoy athletes top billed a big sporting event held at Putra Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Honorio Banario, Eric Kelly and Rey Docyogen fought in the MMA event promoted by the most prestigious organization in Asia, the One Fighting Championship. From my base here in Singapore I traveled to Kuala Lumpur over the weekend and  had the privilege to shoot at cage-side. It was an amazing first time experience for me to go to a foreign country, meet our Pinoy athletes as well as other incredible fighters from other nations, and personalities in the Asian MMA scene.

I attended the event,  mainly for the photo coverage for mmaorient.net, my blog ritratozilvidu.com and pinoystaronline.com. Being able to witness the weigh-in drama before the actual event night, witnessed some of the interview sessions,  shoot behind-the-scene photos, and had brief chat with some of the amazing athletes that were in the event – were all part of an extraordinary weekend that I’ve been waiting for, two months prior.

Me and my sister, who also traveled with me to KL to watch the event, arrived at KL airport in the morning of February 1, a day before the actual fight night. From the airport we took  the Skybus to KL Sentral, and from there we took a taxi ride to Mines Wellness Hotel and arrived just in time to catch the weigh-ins of the fighters in the main card.

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At the weigh-ins, the two Pinoy fighters who fought in the main event Eric Kelly and Honorio Banario both weighed over the 145lbs (66kgs) upper limit for Featherweight competitors and had to shed those extra pounds on weigh-in day itself.  They had to go through rapid weight reduction technique (i.e. dehydration) in-order to make weight.

Rehydration time for Eric Kelly

Rehydration time for Eric Kelly

After sitting in the sauna for a few hours or so, and after a couple of re-weigh-ins, both fighters finally made weight on the day before they stepped into the cage. The weigh-ins itself has its fair share of drama.

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The following day, February 2nd, I was very excited at fight night that instead of taking the free shuttle ride packaged by one of One FC’s event partners, I hailed a taxi from my hotel to Putra Stadium. I arrived at the stadium about an hour and a half before the first match took place. There were already a lot of early birds lining up at the entrance waiting for the gates to open, while others were very busy buying MMA merchandise or promo items from the sponsors’ booths outside the venue.

A Marriage proposal inside the ONE FC Cage

A Marriage proposal inside the ONE FC Cage

I went inside the Stadium before the organizers opened the gates to the Public. When the gates opened, fans who were able to come in early saw a wedding proposal happen right inside the One FC Cage!

The Show started at 7:00PM all fighters came out from the locker room one-by-one, in a very exciting introduction that is complete with pyrotechnics and confetti. It was immediately followed by the first match which started at about 7:15pm.

I honestly believe that all the matches were exciting, but would like to highlight three from the main-card.

Lowens Tynanes defeated Vuyisile Colossa via Submission
Lowen Tynanes the Hawaiian who has 1/4 of Filipino blood running through his veins, won against a very good striker in South African Vuyisile Colossa. Tynanes’ face was covered with blood after getting hit hard by Vuyisile’s elbow strikes from the bottom. Tynanes was successful with his takedown attempts, and I think it was obvious that he worked on his ground game, as he attempted submission moves each time the fight went to the ground. In the stand-up game however, the advantage goes to the South-African kickboxer who connected on some kicks, elbows and punches. Somehow, Tynanes grinded a win by constantly going back to his wrestling strength, and again on the 3rd round he was able to takedown Colossa. He then showed his MMA skills by winning via rear naked choke. This is my pick for the “Fight-of-the-Night” award.

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Shinichi “BJ” Kojima defeated Rey “The Punisher” Docyogen via Submission
The co-main event of the evening was an exciting match and one that I was looking forward to seeing eversince it was officially announced by One FC.  The match between undefeated Filipino and URCC (Universal Reality Combat Championship, Filipino MMA Organization) flyweight champion Rey Docyogen against MMA veteran and former SHOOTO (Japanese MMA organization) champion Shinichi “BJ” Kojima. It was a match that would determine the contender for the One FC Flyweight Belt.

The Filipino was winning the stand-up battle for the most part of the fight, and was able to tag the Japanese with good punches and kicks. Rey Docyogen capitalized on his strength in the striking department, and was doing well in the first and a half part of the fight.  With only a few seconds left in the 2nd round however, the veteran savvy of Shinichi Kojima won the fight for him as he finished the fight via grappling technique, he pulled off a guillotine choke from the clinch and pulled guard to win via submission. It was the first loss in the Pinoy fighter’s MMA career.

For me as a Pinoy MMA fan, it should prove to be a very good learning experience for Docyogen, fighting BJ Kojima who is regarded as arguably, one of the top flyweight prospects in the world. Rey gave his opponent all he could handle before eventually losing the fight. In fact, on the day after the fight, I bumped into BJ Kojima at the Kuala Lumpur airport. I congratulated him for his win and I noticed his left eye was still swelling from the strikes he received from Docyogen.

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Honorio Banario defeated Eric Kelly via TKO
In the main event of the evening, the All-Filipino battle between two warriors Eric Kelly and Honorio Banario started as a feeling out process in the first round. Both fighters gauged each other early and paced themselves for their Five, 5-minute round fight. In my “unofficial score-card” I had my compatriot from Mankayan, Benguet, Honorio Banario winning the first 3 rounds. As they went back and forth in the striking battle, Kelly’s highlights strikes were a solid overhand right that connected, a few front kicks and liver kicks. As for Honorio, he dictated the pace, and was the first to initiate the action for the most part. He connected with leg kicks and scored on a takedown and ground and pound as he briefly mounted Kelly’s back. The fight ended in the Fourth round when Honorio landed a big left hook that immediately opened up a cut on Eric Kelly’s right eye. Kelly was staggered and slowly went down to the mat with both eyes closed , his hand signalling a stop. Referee Yuji Shimada stepped in to stop the fight and award the inaugural One  Fighting Championship Featherweight belt to Team Lakay’s Honorio “The Rock” Banario.IMG_7834

All-in-all, I am glad that I made this trip to Kuala Lumpur. I am very proud of the performances of my compatriots from the Philippines. They performed well in front of a foreign audience. Read their stories, heard about their personal struggles, the sacrifices they had to make in order to get to this point in their careers and being recognized as the regions best. I have nothing but RESPECT to to these fighters. I respect all fighters regardless of their nationality. I’m pretty sure that each one of them have their own inspiring stories to tell, interesting stories that go beyond their tough guy, warrior image and celebrity status.

As for our Pinoy Fighters, I believe that they’re making a case for more recognition from our kababayan in the Philippines and abroad. These fighters are always proud to raise our flag, no matter where they go and no matter what the odds are. As I was shooting photos at cageside, I felt a sense of pride each time I heard some random cheers from Filipinos in the crowd, cheering for Rey, Honorio and Eric.

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To the newly crowned Featherweight Champion Honorio Banario, had he not pushed himself to his mental and physical limits in order to make weight, there shouldn’t have been a title fight and nobody would be celebrating a Filipino crowned champion in One FC today. As for Eric Kelly, his stories can be found in almost every Asian MMA publication, and followers of Asian MMA now know he has sacrificed a lot to come this close to becoming a world Champion. He has found a “second home” and have very supportive training partners, gym mates and students at Muayfit gym in Malaysia which means he has everything he needs to come back strong and make another run for the title. There is no shame in gettting the first career loss to a worthy opponent. As cliche as it may sound,  character is not measured by how one handles success, but instead, it is measured by how one handles failure. Honorio is a case in point, he has tasted defeat in the past, and look where he is right now.

The same is true for Rey Docyogen, there is no shame in losing to a world class athlete like BJ Kojima.  Everytime a fighter from Japan is in the cage, it’s almost a guarantee that we’ll be seeing great action. I enjoyed this fight between Rey and BJ, both are awesome fighters. I am particularly proud that Docyogen showed he can hang and bang with one of the world’s best flyweights, I hope to see him come back stronger and learn from this set-back.

The best thing to remember now is that, winning isn’t always a victory, and losing isn’t always a defeat. While I am proud of our new champion Honorio Banario, I am still very proud and still believe in Rey Docyogen and Eric Kelly. MABUHAY!

Other Fight Results at One FC Return of Warriors:
Adam Shahir Kayoom def. Zuli Silawanto via Submission (RNC)
Peter Davis def. Leo Krishna via Doctor’s Stoppage
Thanh Vu def. Mohd Fouzein via TKO (Strikes)
Melvin Yeoh def. Raymond Tiew via Submission (triangle choke)
Jian Kai Chee def. Aj Pyro via Unanimous Decision
Jake Butler def. Antoni Romulo via TKO (Strikes)
Gianni Subba def. Saiful Merican via Submission (Armbar)

Mark Sangiao Talks About Honorio Banario and Rey Docyogen’s Preparations For One FC 7

mark

Mark “The Machine” Sangiao is one of the most quite and nicest persons in the world. He always smiles, very respectful, and friendly. He is one of the reasons why the no. 1 MMA team in the Philippines and currently ranked 3rd in Asia, Team Lakay is very successful and has been making huge waves in Filipino and Asian MMA in almost eight years now.

“The Machine” is a former SEA Games gold medalist in Wushu, who also owns a numerous regional titles in kickboxing and judo. He is also the former URCC bantamweight champion.

Since losing to Justin Cruz four years ago at URCC 15, Sangiao has concentrated himself on being a full-time coach for Team Lakay. We all saw the fruits of his labor as the Baguio-based Team Lakay produced numerous MMA champions and brought the sport into a higher level in the Philippines.

On Saturday, February 2, two of his best fighters will face their toughest fights of their careers as URCC lightweight champion, Honorio “The Rock” Banario faces fellow Filipino MMA champion, Eric “The Natural” Kelly for the inaugural One FC world featherweight championship, while the undefeated Rey “The Punisher” Docyogen will go up against a veteran in Shinichi “BJ” Kojima of Japan.

“Honorio and Rey prepares well for this fight. I hope their training will help them win this Saturday.”

Sangiao knows that Eric Kelly and Shinichi Kojima got some excellent striking and ground game, but he is confident that Honorio Banario and Rey Docyogen can trade punches with their opponents. He also stated that they worked a lot on their ground game in preparation for One FC 7.

“We worked more on their ground game, so expect a very good fight whether be it on standing or ground.”

When asked about what are the holes they saw on Kelly’s game, “For now, it’s complicated, I can only say that Honorio is more prepared for the title shot.” He said.

When it comes to Docyogen’s opponent, Kojima, Mark Sangiao is aware that the Japanese fighter has a phenomenal ground game. But he is confident that his fighter will emerged victorious on Saturday.

“As for Shinichi Kojima, Rey should watch out for his submission attempts. If Rey survives till the third round, he has a big chance on taking home the win.”

When asked on what are those things that he must remind his fighters before stepping inside the cage,

“Every fight must be important to them. They must take good care of their records. Their victory is very beneficial not only to them, to their families and team, but to the nation as well. For me, as long as they did their best in the training, they have the chance to win. I’ll just guide them and tell the possible ways how to win during the fight.”

“The Machine” always believes in his fighters, as long as they know they did their hundred percent in the gym. On Saturday, we will once again, witness Team Lakay talents, Honorio Banario and Rey Docyogen goes up against well-respected fighters in Asia, Eric Kelly and Shinichi Kojima. The pressure is always there for Sangiao, but he is optimistic that his pupils will come out victorious on Saturday at One FC 7 ‘Return of Warriors’.

Before we ended the interview with him, we asked on final question on when is he coming back or is he going to make his comeback fight this year, “I can answer that to you in secret.” He said.

Who is Honorio “The Rock” Banario?

honorio

On Saturday, February 2, 2013, Honorio “The Rock” Banario (7-1) will try to become the first-ever One FC featherweight champion against a fellow gifted Filipino fighter, Erick “The Natural” Kelly (9-0) at the highly-anticipated One FC 7 ‘Return of Warriors’ in Malaysia.

Banario trains at Team Lakay in Baguio City, Philippines alongside Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, Kevin “Silencer” Belingon, Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, Rey “The Punisher” Docyogen, and some of the most talented MMA fighters in the Philippines under the tutelage of Mark “The Machine” Sangiao.

The 23-year-old Banario has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology and just like most of his teammates; he has never been involved in a street fight. He has two younger brothers who are also making their names in the fight business – Dario Banario, who has a 2-0 record as a pro is set to fight Joseph Mercado on February 16th at PXC 35. Their youngest brother, Harold Banario, also holds a 2-0 pro MMA record and expected to make his appearance in one of the biggest MMA promotions in the Philippines in the near future.

“The Rock”, before transitioning to MMA, is a well-accomplished Wushu Sanshou fighter. He has some local and national Wushu titles that made him as one of the most admired Sanshou fighters in the Philippines.

Banario made his pro MMA debut at URCC Baguio 2 ‘Tribal Wars’ on February of 2010 against a fellow striker in Romel Del-is. Banario made a quick work of Del-is as he submitted the much experienced fighter in just 2 minutes of the first round. Since then, Banario went on a tear winning five straight fights via impressive wins, including his RNC win over a well-respected fighter, Angelito “The Saint” Manguray, at URCC 19 where he became the youngest URCC lightweight champion at the age of 22.

banario vs manguray

In February of 2011, a year after he made his first-ever pro MMA fight, Banario made his first fight outside the Philippines against a very adept fighter in Bae Young Kwon. At the time, Kwon was considered as the no. 2 featherweight fighter in whole of South Korea, next to UFC featherweight fighter, “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung. It was Banario’s first fight as a featherweight and he accepted the fight on a short notice when Kwon’s original opponent, Eric Kelly, was not able to fight due to personal issues. He said that he made the cut from 155 lbs. to 145 lbs. in just a couple of weeks before fight night.

banario vs kwon

Banario admitted that he got very confident during the fight because he knew that he can beat Kwon in the striking department. But the tricky South Korean wasted no time and took the fight to the ground and showcased his grappling prowess against the Filipino Banario. Kwon defeated Banario in just 56 seconds of the first round via RNC.

It was a tough loss for Banario, but the most important thing is that he learned from it and doubled his time trying to improve his overall game as a mixed martial artist.

After 6 months since his loss to Kwon, Banario faced Andrew Benibe at One FC 5 ‘Pride of a Nation’ in the Philippines. We saw a much-improved game of Banario as he demolished Benibe from the first round until the 3:47 mark of the third round, where Benibe fell to the canvas after he absorbed a kick to the body which gave Banario the opportunity to finish the fight via TKO.

banario vs benibe

On Saturday, February 2, in Malaysia, Banario is facing a tough competition as he will try to beat a fellow talented fighter in Eric Kelly, who has been recognized by many as the best featherweight prospect in Asia.

It is indeed a tough task to beat the man who has previously defeated the former UFC lightweight champion, Jens Pulver. But Banario, as always, doesn’t pay attention to his opponent’s record; all he cares about is to beat him and become the One FC featherweight champion.

I think power-wise, Banario is has a lead over Kelly, but in the grappling department, there is no doubt that “The Natural” has the advantage against him.

I cannot wait to see these two warriors scrap. I’m predicting a very technical fight between Banario and Kelly because they very much know each other’s game as they trained and sparred together a couple of times in the past.

One FC 7 ‘Return of Warriors’ will also feature a flyweight contender match between Banario’s team mate, Rey “The Punisher” Docyogen and Shinichi “BJ” Kojima.

If You Are An MMA Fan, Rey “The Punisher” Docyogen vs. Shinichi “BJ” Kojima Is A Fight You Should Not Miss!

kojima vs docyogen

Two of the best flyweights in Asia squares off on February 2 in Malaysia as Japanese MMA fighter and former Shooto flyweight champion from the famed Ground Slam Gym, Shinichi “Bj” Kojima (12-5-5) faces an equally talented and undefeated fighter from Team Lakay and the reigning URCC Pinweight king,  Rey “The Punisher” Docyogen (10-0-0) at One FC 7 – Return of Warriros. The winner of this match-up will automatically catapult himself for the title contention.

Shinichi Kojima is a Shooto veteran who has noteable wins over Mamoru Yamaguchi, Kiyotaka Shimizu and Yuki Shojo. This fight with Docyogen is Kojima’s first-ever fight outside Japan and his mother promotion, Shooto.

The 33-year-old Kojima is hungry to get back to his winning ways as he is coming off a majority decision loss to his South Korean foe, Jo Nam Jin last March of 2012.

Kojima’s ground game and experience are his advantages over the Filipino fighter.

“Docyogen is good fighter; he throws a variety of techniques, especially kicks. But my biggest advantage would be my hard training and experience. I am so tough now.” Kojima added.

He trains alongside some of the scariest dudes in JMMA like Michinori Tanaka, Chuji Kato, Shuichiro Katsumura and Ryosuke Tanuma.

Standing in the opposite side of the cage is an undefeated flyweight fighter who has an amazing record of 10-0 from Team Lakay, Rey “The Punisher” Docyogen.

Since started his pro MMA career in 2006, “The Punisher” is on a tear stopping his opponents via TKO, Submission or total domination. He is widely considered as one of the meanest flyweights in the Philippines.He holds an impressive wins over Jessie Rafols, John Ogo, Alvin Ramirez and Rodel Orais.

It’s been almost a year since Docyogen recorded his latest win that’s why the Filipino fighter is very excited to get back in action to prove not only in the Philippines but in the whole Asia that he belongs to the elite flyweights in the region.

Docyogen, like Kojima, is also fighting for the first time outside his country and his mother promotion, URCC. He has a strong striking game and ground and pound which will be his definite advantage over the Japanese Kojima.

This matchup will be a classic clash of styles between two fighters who are very athletic, quick and powerful. This is an absolute battle between two of the most talented flyweight fighters in Asia. There is no doubt that anything could happen, but one thing is for certain, only one man will emerge with his hand raised in the air.

One FC 7 – ‘Return of Warriors’ will also feature the first-ever featherweight championship fight between two skillful Filipino fighters between Eric “The Natural” Kelly and Honorio “The Rock” Banario. Kelly versus Banario will headline ONE FC 7.

banario vs kelly