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LOOK: This Team Lakay fighter is also an excellent artist

Baguio-based mixed martial arts stable Team Lakay is best known for producing some of the best MMA fighters in the Philippines, including the likes of former ONE Championship titleholders Eduard Folayang, Honorio Banario, and reigning interim titleholder Geje Eustaquio to name a few.  It appears however, that one of their fighters has also been flexing his muscle in a different field of art as well.  Meet 24-year old Harold "The Vitruvian Man" Banario.  The younger brother of former ONE Championship Featherweight World Champion Honorio, Harold is 4-1 in MMA, and has had stints with Guam-based promotion PXC.    Soon..#fighter #life #artist #painter #artlover #mma #mmafighter #igorot #teamlakay #art #lifestyle #fitness #fit #passion #work #student #architecture #designer #focused #power #left A post shared by harold banario (@hbanario) on Oct 5, 2017 at 12:01am PDT Also, he's a very talented artist.  Having last fought back in 2015, it looks like the La Trinidad native has shifted his focus to painting.  Some of his works have depicted the likes of former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach...   Working on this... #painter #artist #art #artistsoninstagram #fashion #style #dress #gown #contemporaryart #artfun #passion #love #piawurtzbach #missuniverse #beauty #lifestyle #color #artsy #horse #horses #animals #painting A post shared by harold banario (@hbanario) on Apr 1, 2018 at 12:52am PDT  ...a couple of recreations of the dance scene from Beauty and the Beast, featuring Emma Watson...   My two version of Beauty and the Beast (artist😂)- oil on canvases. Done. #painting #draw#sketch #art #artistsoninstagram #artist #painter #charcoal #artlover #blackandwhite #loveart #fashion #design #contemporaryart #pencildrawing #fighter #mma #life #lifestyle #style #motivation #artwork #beautyandthebeast #emmawatson #paint #fitness #passion A post shared by harold banario (@hbanario) on Dec 10, 2017 at 9:29pm PST ...as well as  what appears to be an Igorot warrior sitting on the Iron Throne. (You have to admit this is pretty badass.)   Game of thrones artwork. Work in progress.😀 #art #art🎨 #gameofthrones #got7 #gotfans #hbo #ironthrone #jonsnow #emiliaclarke #kitharrington #peterdinklage #contemporaryart #painting #painter #mmafighter #mma #bjj #fitness #fit #artwork #modernart #canvas #drawing #draw A post shared by harold banario (@hbanario) on Aug 18, 2017 at 5:54am PDT His most recent works include amazing paintings of his teammates, including reigning ONE Interim Flyweight Champion Geje Eustaquio... ...and of course, his Manong Honorio.  Truly amazing work from a multi-talented fighter-slash-artist!  You can see more of his work on his Facebook Page as and on his Instagram account. .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJun 4th, 2018

ONE Championship: Jomary Torres is eager to pick herself up after bowing to Mei Yamaguchi

Experiencing two defeats in a row is not the ideal way that a mixed martial artist would want to end a year, but that is exactly how Jomary "The Zamboanginian Fighter" Torres is wrapping up her 2018.   Torres started the year with a bang, scoring a 40-second knockout victory over Team Lakay's April Osenio at ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES in Manila, Philippines last January.   She then made a trip back to the cage eight months later against Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES in Jakarta, Indonesia.   Expectations were high for Torres, but the Filipina was outplayed at every turn by Lumban Gaol, yielding to the Indonesian hometown hero by unanimous decision.   With the goal to redeem herself and conclude the year on a triumphant note after suffering her first career loss in the sport, she took the challenge of facing former ONE World Title challenger Mei "V.V" Yamaguchi of Japan at ONE: DESTINY OF CHAMPIONS at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last Friday, 7 December.   Yamaguchi showcased her edge in experience and skills as she outworked Torres in both the striking and ground game departments over the course of three rounds, cruising to a clear-cut unanimous decision.   Although Torres did not get what she wished for, the 22-year-old native of Zamboanga City finds comfort with the thought of going the distance against a battle-tested martial artist such as Yamaguchi.   "To share the stage with a world-class athlete like Yamaguchi is a great learning experience. I see this as something that would benefit my career in the future," she stated.   "This is definitely a great learning experience for me. I gave everything I have, but it didn't quite work out. I knew I was a big underdog, but I stepped up and went all-out against her.”   She concedes that her Japanese opponent was simply the better woman, suggesting that her cage meeting with Yamaguchi will be supplemental to her journey as an athlete in mixed martial arts.   "It's a huge help to have been able to compete against someone of Mei Yamaguchi's caliber. She's a former ONE World Title contender,” she said. "She was the better lady that night, but that's part of being an athlete. I will learn and improve.”   Her first three impressive bouts in the world's largest martial arts organization convinced observers that Torres is a special competitor in the women’s atomweight division of ONE Championship.   Despite the string of setbacks, Torres plans on living up to her potential, believing that better days are definitely ahead in her young career.   "I have a great career ahead of me. The loss will only make me a better competitor moving forward," she vowed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 10th, 2018

ONE Championship: Exchanging strikes with Kevin Belingon won’t be a problem for Bibiano Fernandes

Team Lakay’s Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon is one of the most feared strikers under the ONE Championship banner. ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes is completely aware of his tremendous knockout power ahead of their title unification contest at ONE: HEART OF THE LION. Belingon owns a number devastating stoppages inside the world's largest martial arts organization, including a one-punch knockout of Spain’s David Aranda in December 2013, and his famous spinning back kick finish of Andrew Leone this past April. Even though many believe that Belingon has the advantage in the striking department courtesy of his wushu background, Fernandes has no qualms in trading punches and kicks with the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion in their highly-anticipated rematch in Singapore on 9 November. “I’ve seen him develop as a fighter, and since the first time we met, I know how strong and explosive he is, but I just want him to know that my striking is not that bad,” he said. “I can turn the lights out when he gives me that opening.” They are set to face each other for the second time at the landmark event inside the state-of-the-art Singapore Indoor Stadium, which features two World Champion versus World Champion contests. The rematch with Belingon will be Fernandes’ ninth defense of his ONE Bantamweight World Title, an incredible run that started when he outpointed South Korea’s Soo Chul Kim in a title unification contest back in October 2013. Fernandes is known to be a world-class Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, as eight of his 22 career wins have come by way of submission, but his ability to exchange strikes should not be underestimated. The bantamweight king has exhibited on numerous occasions that he packs power in both hands. In his July 2015 title defense, Fernandes got the job done in the third round by knocking out Finland’s Toni Tauru with one punch. He also had success in his latest battle with Martin Nguyen, wobbling the hard-hitting challenger in the final round. Fernandes, who has been training with top-notch athletes at AMC Pankration, admitted that he and his team are spending time sharpening his stand-up arsenal to compliment his exceptional Brazilian jiu-jitsu pedigree. “I always work on my strikes at the gym. As a competitor, I should be prepared in all aspects of the fight because this is mixed martial arts. This sport has a lot of elements. For big matches like this one, I always have a good striking coach in my corner,” he stated. “I don’t give a lot of power. It is all about the timing, but once it connects, it will definitely hurt. My team and I have been very dedicated to elevating my stand-up game, just like how we focus on my jiu-jitsu,” Fernandes explained further. "The Flash" stressed that he is willing to exchange strikes with Belingon, claiming that he has already figured out his Filipino rival’s style inside the cage. “He comes with the right kick on the outside and left kick inside, and he comes with the big overhand,” Fernandes mentioned. “If you want to fight standing up, I’ll fight standing up with you. I don’t fear the fight in the stand-up.” Although he has witnessed Belingon’s evolution from one-dimensional striker to well-rounded mixed martial artist first-hand, the 38-year-old grappling wizard pointed out that his ground game would still play an integral part of his offense in the rematch. “Whether it’s striking or grappling, it’s absolutely fine with me, especially against Kevin who showed tremendous growth as an athlete. “But going to the ground with me, it’s a different story. No one has solved my jiu-jitsu for the past eight years. It will always be the same for everybody.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 4th, 2018

ONE Champinoship: Banario backs teammate Folayang in title clash with Khan

Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio "The Rock" Banario is confident his teammate Eduard "Landslide" Folayang will emerge victorious when he collides with Singaporean sensation Amir Khan for the vacant ONE Lightweight World Title. The pair will square off in the co-main event of ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS, which emanates from the state-of-the-art Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines on Friday, 23 November. Banario's five-bout winning streak came to a heartbreaking conclusion when he locked horns with Khan this past September in Shanghai, earning the Evolve athlete his shot at the gold. After exchanging strikes in the opening minutes of the match, Banario was caught in a rear-naked choke that forced him to wave the white flag at the 4:34 mark of the first round. "The Rock" admitted becoming very careless in his bout against the young martial artist from Singapore, but he doesn't see his experienced Team Lakay stablemate falling into the same trap. "I became careless and overconfident in our fight, but I don't see Eduard making the same mistake," Banario said. "We all know that he is a complete fighter. He has a style that Khan will have a hard time dealing with." "When it comes to strength, striking, and wrestling, Amir Khan will have a hard time overcoming Eduard in those areas. I'm not underestimating Amir Khan, but Eduard is simply on another level. Both are complete fighters, but Folayang is a much more experienced veteran." Banario also revealed that Folayang is extremely driven in training for the scheduled five-round championship clash with Khan. "I see a highly-motivated Eduard Folayang in training because he didn't expect to be blessed with another shot at the world title. He's just so motivated for this bout. Eduard is ready to reclaim the world title that he lost nearly a year ago," he disclosed. Since making his triumphant return to the ONE Championship cage this year, the beloved Filipino martial arts superstar is on an upward trajectory. With the intention of climbing back towards the top of his weight class, "Landslide" impressively defeated two unbeaten Russian opponents. First, he dominated Kharun Atlangeriev in three rounds in May, before edging out Aziz Pahrudinov in a lightweight thriller two months later. After returning from defeat and posting consecutive victories over elite opposition, the former ONE Lightweight World Champion refused to sit back and relax, accepting an invitation from a close friend to train in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The 34-year-old Baguio City native flew out to the United States in August for a month-long training trip at the famous Jackson-Wink MMA training facility, which is home to a number of world-class athletes such as Jon Jones, Alistair Overeem, Andrei Arlovski, Donald Cerrone and Diego Sanchez, to name a few. Witnessing his Team Lakay comrade's grind at the gym to be in top physical shape, Banario made a bold prediction on the highly-anticipated ONE Lightweight World Title showdown. "This is the right chance and timing for him to get back to his throne," he declared. "He is ecstatic each and every time he's training. I think Folayang can get an early finish. It won't go the full five rounds. The fans in Manila are in for a treat.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 2nd, 2018

ONE Championship: Rene Catalan still won t fight a fellow Filipino, not even for a championship

Veteran martial artist and ONE Championship strawweight contender Rene Catalan is standing his ground with regards to his statement about not wanting to fight a fellow Filipino.  In an interview with ONE Championship back in August, the former Asian Games Gold Medalist in Wushu stated that he'd rather not fight a fellow Filipino, regardless of the stakes.  Back then, Catalan and fellow pinoy strawweight contender Joshua Pacio were thought to be on a collision course, with both having put together respective winning streaks.  "I’d rather not face a fellow Filipino.” said Catalan. “Since 2003, I’ve been representing for the Philippines, and until now, I try to avoid having to compete against one of my countrymen.”  Both Catalan and Pacio were coming off impressive wins in Manila, but it was Pacio who was rewared the opportunity for the championship. The Team Lakay strawweight standout will challenge reigning ONE Championship Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka Naito at ONE: Conquest of Heroes in Jakarta, Indonesia.  When asked about the possiblity of having to face Pacio with a world title on the line, Catalan's answer didn't change.  "Ibibigay ko na siguro kay Joshua 'yun," the 39-year old said. "Kung manalo siya, maraming foreigner na mag-hahabol sa kanya at sa belt. Andiyan si Hayato Suzuki, si Alex Silva, marami."  Catalan is also in Jakarta, cornering prized pupil Jomary Torres as she takes on Indonesia's own Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol.  "Naniniwala ako na may time din ako." he added.  Catalan even hinted at playing gatekeeper for Pacio, should the Baguio-based fighter pull off a victory on Saturday night.  "Pwedeng ako yung kalabanin nung mga ibang challenger, pero hindi talaga natin kakalabanin yung kababayan natin."  "Yung kapwa natin Pilipino, tutulungan dapat natin." he added.  Catalan was slated to meet Japanese submission specialist Hayato Suzuki at ONE's return to Bangkok in October, but had to pull out due to an ankle injury.  Taking Catalan's place against Suzuki will be his younger brother Robin.  Before anything else of course, Pacio will have to take care of business against Naito.  Saturday's main event will be a rematch of their 2016 title bout which saw Naito defeat Pacio in the third round via submission.    Catch ONE Championship: Conquest of Heroes on Saturday, September 22nd at 10:30 PM LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 20th, 2018

Riding high again, Team Lakay lauded by ONE chairman as best team in Asia

At the end of 2017, Benguet-based MMA stable Team Lakay found themselves on a bit of a downslide. After riding high for the latter part of 2016 and most of 2017, the team absorbed a number of bitter losses, including the KO loss that cost Eduard Folayang his ONE Championship Lightweight world title. Now, a little over seven months into 2018, Team Lakay is once again reaching new heights. 2018 saw flyweight star Geje Eustaquio become the interim flyweight world champion in January, and then unify the titles against Adriano Moraes in June. Friday at ONE: Reign of Kings in Manila, Team Lakay gained another world champion in bantamweight knockout artist Kevin Belingon, who defeated two-division world champion Martin Nguyen to become the interim ONE Championship Bantamweight World Champion. Team Lakay is also home to reigning BRAVE FC Bantamweight World Champion Stephen Loman. Already with three current world champions in their stable, it’s highly likely that there’s more to come. Former champions Folayang and Honorio Banario are currently tearing it up in the lightweight division, and both of them are very much in the title picture. Strawweight standout and former title contender Joshua Pacio is on a solid streak of his own, with three straight wins via stoppage. The 22-year old could be getting another crack at the championship again soon. While names like Edward Kelly, Danny Kingad, Gina Iniong, and April Osenio are also all part of the top-tier of their respective divisions. It’s shaping up to be yet another banner year for Team Lakay, and head coach Mark Sangiao saw it coming. After all, bouncing back isn’t anything new for the Philippines’ most prestigious MMA team. “Mayroon yung mga time, nasabi ko nung huli, nung unang mga ONE, matatalo kami ng 0-5, pero pinilit namin.” Coach Mark said during the post-fight press conference, Friday evening. “Tinignan namin talaga yung mga kulang, yung mga weak side nila, tapos na-improve hanggang sa bumawi kami, same with sa 2016.” 2016 saw Team Lakay go on a 16-fight winning streak, and then in November of that year, Folayang captured the ONE lightweight crown after dethroning long-time champion Shinya Aoki. “Tapos pumunta sa 2017, medyo may mga nag-pabaya.” Sangiao bared. “Nasabi ko nung huli na babalik yung team na mas-malakas pa.” True enough, Team Lakay has managed to bounce back and has gained even more prestige in the last couple of months. In fact, ONE Championship founder and chairman Chatri Sityodtong has even gone so far as to say that he believes Team Lakay is the best team there is in Asia. “ I have massive respect for all fight teams, but I believe there is no question that Team Lakay is now the #1 fight team in Asia today.” Sityodtong said in a Facebook post. “Despite a very modest budget and limited resources, Mark Sangiao has produced one of the best fight teams in the world. Every fighter on Team Lakay is a genuine monster with outstanding skills, unlimited cardio, and extraordinary gameness.” High praise from the head honcho himself, and the owner of Evolve MMA in Singapore, another one of Asia's most talent-laden MMA stables. With all the success that the team is enjoying now, it’s up to them to keep the momentum going. They've been low, and now they're on a high. There's no doubt that they possess the talent, the skills, and the heart to go even higher......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 30th, 2018

Team Lakay s Joshua Pacio yields ONE strawweight title to Yosuke Saruta | Inquirer Sports

JAKARTA, Indonesia-Yosuke Saruta quickly turned from a replacement fighter to world champion in less than a month. Saruta proved he was a worthy challenger after toppling Joshua Pacio in five grueling.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsJan 19th, 2019

ONE Championship: Surrounded by champions, Edward Kelly looking to get gold of his own

Filipino featherweight Edward "The Ferocious" Kelly is looking to begin his own path to gold this 2019.  After all, the 34-year old striker was witness to four of his Team Lakay teammates winning ONE World Championship gold in 2018, and he says that it's been nothing but a source of inspiration and motivation.  More so that at featherweight, Kelly is the lone warrior representing the La Trinidad, Benguet-based stable.  "Talagang nasa akin yun, kasi pine-pressure na nila ako na [featherweight na lang yung kulang]," Kelly shared with a chuckle.  "Tine-take ko as inspiration yun, talagang well-motivated ako na sige, ipapakita ko, gusto kong patunayan sa sarili ko, hoping na maipapakita ko lahat sa laban ko sa Sabado," he added.  Kelly's first challenge on the journey is none other than former title contender Christian Lee, who's hungry to get a win over Kelly after getting disqualified in their first encounter back in 2018. The Filipino believes that a win over Lee, one of the division's top contenders, would definitely put him in the conversation as well.  Adding even more motivation will be the fact that reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Martin "The Situ-Asian" Nguyen is expected to be at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta to catch the Kelly-Lee rematch in person.  "Sumagi na rin yun sa isip ko, kasi pagkaka-alam ko, manonood si Martin Nguyen ng live sa laban namin, and if i win over Christian Lee, alam naman natin na siya yung bini-build up para lumaban sa championship," Kelly explained. "Kung matalo ko [siya], andun na rin ako, mga one to two fights, si Nguyen na." Before thinking about a title shot however, Kelly will need to get past Lee first, and it won't be an easy task.  While Lee has stated publicly that he's gunning for a knockout in the first round, Kelly maintains that it won't be as simple as the 20-year old Singaporean makes it out to be.  "Siyempre yun yung opinion niya as a fighter, pero siyempre hindi naman yun basta-basta. Tayo rin naman nag-ensayo, and willing akong ipakita kung ano yung pinag-ensayuhan ko." Kelly adds that he sees the fight going the distance, unless he can find a way to finish it earlier.  "Basa ko, aabot ng three rounds, kung hindi ko siya ma-knockout, kung hindi ko siya ma-tiempohan," he stated.    Edward Kelly and Christian Lee face off in a highly-anticipated rematch at ONE: Eternal Glory on Saturday, January 19th, 11:00 PM LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2019

ONE Championship: Geje Eustaquio expects hungrier Adriano Moraes in title rematch

ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio expects  Adriano "Mikinho" Moraes to give his very best when they meet for their highly-anticipated rubber match in two weeks' time. The pair will wrap up the first trilogy in ONE Championship history when they collide in the main event of ONE: HERO'S ASCENT, which takes place at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Friday, 25 January. "I am expecting a much hungrier and determined Adriano Moraes in our third fight," said the 29-year-old wushu stylist. Eustaquio and Moraes originally met for the inaugural ONE Flyweight World Title in September 2014, where the Brazilian won the gold via second-round submission. Nearly four years later, in June 2018, the Team Lakay standout evened the score when he earned a split decision victory at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER. The Baguio City native believes fans will see an even better version of himself, as being a World Champion has only lit a fire in him. He has continued to improve, and he will stop at nothing to live up to his full potential. "I am still growing. I believe there is a lot more to unlock and showcase from my martial arts arsenal. You never saw me consistently spinning inside the cage, do wall walks nor utilize my explosive takedowns," stressed the Team Lakay representative. "The truth is I can do all those techniques. Being a World Champion only made me much more hungry. There will be more surprises in the fights to come." While Eustaquio feels he is still growing and improving as a martial artist, he believes the exact opposite for his opponent. He thinks Moraes may have already reached the ceiling of his game, and predicts the same old version of the former champion will show up at ONE's first Philippine event of 2019. "A third fight with Moraes is totally fine with me," said Eustaquio. "I think he's coming in with same game plan." Eustaquio, and the rest of the world, will know for sure come 25 January......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2019

ONE Championship: Honorio Banario eager to test himself against Lowen Tynanes

Honorio "The Rock" Banario wanted to share the stage with some of the best lightweights that ONE Championship has to offer, and he got exactly what he wished for.   It was announced on Thursday, 3 January that the Team Lakay representative is slated to duke it out with American phenom Lowen Tynanes at ONE: HERO'S ASCENT, which emanates from the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines on 25 January.   The scheduled three-round bout between Banario and Tynanes is part of the highly-anticipated ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix.   Banario, who previously held the ONE Featherweight World Title, is longing to test how far his current skill set has gone.   The 29-year-old native of Mankayan, Benguet feels that he found the perfect opponent in Tynanes, making a promise to leave no stone unturned in training to emerge victorious.   "This will be a good bout because this will test if I have really improved my wrestling. Lowen Tynanes is something else, he has good wrestling and a high-level athlete,” Banario stated.   “He's a very well-rounded martial artist, who is yet to be defeated.”   Hailing from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, Tynanes is an undefeated lightweight competitor who holds an immaculate record of 9-0 with four wins by submission and two by knockout.   Using an aggressive striking approach and no-frills wrestling techniques to subdue his opponents inside the cage, Tynanes has defeated some of the biggest names in the Asian mixed martial arts scene, including Banario’s teammate Eduard Folayang.   "It's a big challenge for me to face him. My team was surprised when we found out that he will be my first opponent for the ONE Lightweight Grand Prix,” Banario revealed.   “But we have a lot of time for training, so we can come up with a game plan to beat him. I will be prepared for him."   Banario is coming off a hard-earned unanimous decision victory over Singapore-based Indian stalwart Rahul Raju at ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS last November.   “The Rock” knows that he will have his hands full against Tynanes, but with the help of his team, Banario is confident that he could pass the acid test with flying colors.   "I have huge respect for him as a mixed martial artist," he said. "I think Tynanes will attempt to take me down, so I have to defend his takedowns and do my best to keep it standing.”   “I am hoping for a favorable outcome in this bout.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2019

Kings of the World: Team Lakay s dominance highlights 2018 in Mixed Martial Arts

As always, 2018 offered up another year's worth of memorable moments from the world of mixed martial arts.  From the East to the West, the world's fastest growing sport found a way into sports headlines, and here are some of the biggest stories inside and out of the cage from the past twelve months.    "CHAMPIONS ARE NOT BORN, THEY ARE MADE" 2018 definitely belonged to famed Filipino mixed martial arts stable Team Lakay.  The humble La Trinidad, Benguet-based gym has established themselves as the top team in the Philippines for the past few years, but in 2018, they cemented their status as one of the best in the world.  Building off their elite-level striking skills and continuously-improving grappling accumen, the boys from Baguio City dominated Singapore-based MMA promotion ONE Championship, capturing four world championships in just a span of a single year.  Flyweight star Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio opened the year with an interim championship win over former champion Kairat Akhmetov in Manila back in January. Six months later, Eustaquio dropped the "interim" tag by defeating two-time champion Adriano Moraes in Macau to become the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion.  After putting together a tremendous winning streak, young strawweight star Joshua "The Passion" Pacio earned a well-deserved rematch for the ONE Strawweight World Championship against two-time champion Yoshitaka "Nobita" Naito. Back in September, Pacio erased the bitter memory of his previous defeat against Naito two years prior by stifling the Japanese submission specialist with impeccable grappling defense to earn a unanimous decision win and capture the strawweight crown in Jakarta. Much like his stablemate Eustaquio, Kevin "The Silencer" Belingon had to go through two world champions to take his place at the top of the bantamweight division. After blasting former world title challenger Andrew Leone with a now-famous spinning back kick in April, Belingon dominated then-two division world champion Martin Nguyen to become the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion and finally earn a long-awaited rematch with long-time bantamweight king Bibiano Fernandes. In November, Belingon did what no other man in ONE has done and defeated Bibiano Fernandes via split decision to become the undisputed ONE Bantamweight World Champion, ending Fernandes' seven-year winning streak and five-year reign as ONE world champion.  Capping off Team Lakay's spectacular 2018 campaign was the return to glory of arguably the biggest homegrown MMA star in the country, Eduard "Landslide" Folayang. After losing his title twelve months prior, Folayang put on a masterclass against dangerous Singaporean contender Amir Khan at ONE: Conquest of Champions in Manila in early December to once again capture the ONE Lightweight World Championship for the second time in his storied career.  Outside the ONE Championship banner, another world champion from Team Lakay continues to reign, as BRAVE Combat Federation Bantamweight World Champion Stephen "The Sniper" Loman successfully defended his title twice in 2018.    THE TRUTH RETURNS Speaking of Filipino world champions, the biggest one of them all finally made his return in 2018.  After a two-year absence due to outside commitments, reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon "The Truth" Vera made his way back to the cage, and his comeback was nothing short of explosive.  Taking on the hard-hitting Italian challenger Mauro Cerilli in Manila last December 7th, Vera needed only 64 seconds to dispatch Cerilli via knockout and remain the king of the ONE Championship heavyweight kingdom.    NOTORIOUS Conor "The Notorious" McGregor was arguably the biggest combat sports star of 2017, after crossing over to boxing and facing off against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the year's biggest combat sports event.  In 2018, the Notorious one was all over the headlines once again.  In April of 2018, McGregor was stripped of the UFC Lightweight World Championship due to inactivity.  Earlier that month, the Irish star was at the forefront of a backstage melee during the UFC 223 media day in Brooklyn, New York that saw McGregor hurl a dolly at a bus full of fighters, leading to a number of minor injuries. McGregor would later be slapped with charges due to the attack.  In August, it was announced that McGregor would be making his return to the Octagon to challenge reigning lightweight king Khabib "The Eagle" Nurmagomedov, who was the initial target of McGregor's backstage bus attack earlier that year.     "I COME FOR SMASH THIS GUY" The drama-filled leadup to the UFC Lightwieght World Championship bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor made it no doubt one of the most anticipated matches of the year, and when the two were finally locked inside the Octagon, it didn't disappoint.  Nurmagomedov ultimately imposed his will, grounding McGregor for three rounds, before finishing the Irishman off in the fourth round with a rear-naked choke to remain unbeaten and retain the UFC's 155-pound strap.  What happened after, however, overshadowed everything that came before it.  After forcing McGregor to tap out, Nurmagomedove scaled the Octagon fence and jumped out to the crowd to confront Dillon Danis, McGregor's grappling coach.  It didn't take long for mayhem to ensue, as chaos broke out inside and out of the cage.  Both Nurmagomedov and McGregor have been suspended indefinitely, with the final hearing, which will decide the fate of the two fighters, expected to take place this month.    THE HOME OF MARTIAL ARTS Since ONE Championship's inception in 2011, it has primarily operated as a mixed martial arts promotion. In the past years, ONE has put on grappling superfights and special martial arts bouts.  In 2018 however, ONE took it to a whole new level by introducing the ONE Super Series back in April, which features Muay Thai and kickboxing bouts.  The new wrinkle has attracted some of the world's best strikers, including Giorgio Petrosyan, Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex, Andy Souwer, Cosmo Alexandre, and many more.  ONE also dipped their foot in boxing, bringing in reigning WBC Super Flyweight World Champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai as the headliner for ONE's October card in Bangkok, where he successfully defended his title against Mexican challenger Iran Diaz in front of a raucous hometown crowd at the Impact Arena.    "DC" ALSO STANDS FOR "DOUBLE CHAMP"  No other fighter has had a better 2018 than Daniel "DC" Cormier.  After being named the UFC Light Heavyweight World Champion after Jon Jones tested positive for banned substances during their 2017 title bout, Cormier successfully defended the 205-pound belt against Volkan Oezdemir.  Six months later, Cormier jumped up to heavyweight and shocked the world by knocking out the once-dominant champion Stipe Miocic to become just the fifth two-division world champion and the second simultaneous two-division world champion in UFC history.  In November, DC made even more history by becoming just the first fighter in UFC history to successfully defend world titles in two weight divisions after submitting Derrick Lewis in the second round.    BIG STARS HEAD EAST Asian mixed martial arts giant ONE Championship made worldwide MMA news in 2018 after snagging a handful of big name talents in former UFC and Bellator Lightweight World Champion Eddie "The Underground King" Alvarez, former long-time UFC Flyweight World Champion and pound-for-pound great Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson, and former UFC lightweight and welterweight standout  "Super" Sage Northcutt.  Alvarez and Northcutt signed with ONE after their UFC contracts had expired, while Johnson made his way to ONE via the first-ever trade in MMA history, which sent former ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben "Funky" Askren to the UFC.  All three stars are set to make their debuts in 2019.  Aside from bringing in top-tier athletes, ONE also brought in another big name to fill an executive spot, with former UFC and Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight World Champion Miesha Tate coming in as a Vice President. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 22nd, 2018

Team Lakay stalwart dies a hero

BAGUIO, Philippines – Team Lakay, Asia's most successful mixed martial arts training ground, currently has 5 champions in ONE Championship and Brave. But it has also produced one bona fide hero who unfortunately was buried Friday, December 21. Igor Sebio Donga-el, 29, an upcoming Team Lakay fighter, drowned in La Union last ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsDec 22nd, 2018

ONE: Eduard Folayang plans to keep PH in limelight after Catriona Gray’s victory

Eduard Folayang has a little motivation when he stakes his crown against a very familiar foe in a packed and stellar card that ONE Championship will stage in Japan this March. "Of course, it's another chance to represent the country. Who shies away from that? Also, I don't want to spoil what Catriona Gray has begun," Folayang told the Inquirer over the phone in jest in Ilocano. Folayang was referring to Gray's victory recently in the Miss Universe pageant. But an even bigger inspiration lies closer to home as Folayang bared he is expecting another baby. The 33-year-old Team Lakay skipper is slated to defend his lightweight world championship against the very fighter he ...Keep on reading: ONE: Eduard Folayang plans to keep PH in limelight after Catriona Gray’s victory.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 20th, 2018

ONE Championship: Kevin Belingon looks back at momentous title win over Bibiano Fernandes

Filipino spitfire Kevin "The Silencer" Belingon is living the dream after he successfully dethroned Bibiano "The Flash" Fernandes to be hailed as the one and only king of ONE Championship's stacked bantamweight division.   Belingon utilized his explosive strikes and improved grappling to overcome Fernandes en route to a razor-thin split decision win in the main event of ONE: HEART OF THE LION last November.   The victory realized Belingon's dream of becoming the undisputed ONE Bantamweight World Champion.   "It really felt like a dream to me. We had worked so hard to reach that point. It didn’t sink in at first, but when it did, I felt accomplished," he shared.   Despite having his hand raised in triumph at the expense of perhaps the most dominant champion in the history of the promotion, it came with a hefty price as he had the scars and bruises to prove it as soon as the bout was over.   "I was pretty banged up. My foot was swollen from all the kicks that I landed,” The Team Lakay representative revealed. “I really poured everything I had into that one, and my team and I came up with a brilliant game plan. I think that was the key to victory."   Belingon's hard-earned victory over Fernandes was his second attempt to capture a world title as two years prior, he fell short in his bid to become the ONE Bantamweight World Champion.   In January 2016, the Brazilian legend made "The Silencer" tap by way of submission in the opening round at ONE: DYNASTY OF CHAMPIONS in Changsha, China.   Belingon had to work his way back up the ladder, defeating six top-tier opponents to secure a rematch with Fernandes.   With the latest cage meeting with Fernandes being a close one, Belingon stressed that he is more than willing to give his arch-nemesis a shot at his gold-plated strap.   "We are tied at one win apiece, so a third bout to determine the true winner does make sense. I know he is clamoring for a rematch,” he stated. “I know he thinks he won the last one, so deep inside, I want to prove to him again that I beat him."   Belingon knows all too well that aside from Fernandes, a horde of battle-tested martial artists are also coming for his intricately-crafted hardware.   “I’m just enjoying the time off right now. But of course, I’m open to fighting Bibiano again, or anyone that ONE Championship puts in front of me," he affirmed.   However, if Belingon will be given the option to choose an opponent, a rubber match against Fernandes is clearly the obvious choice for the Baguio City-based knockout artist.   "Our second bout was an exciting match," he quipped. "We can do it again. The fans will love it.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 19th, 2018

Edward Kelly promoted to Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt

Filipino featherweight Edward "The Ferocious" Kelly, who is known for his knockout power, hopes to showcase his improved ground game this time in his future fights at ONE Championship. Kelly, who is fighting out of renowned Team Lakay, just recently earned a belt promotion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. "Getting a belt promotion is an achievement. I like to think that this is something I've earned through hard work and dedication to my journey of becoming a well-rounded martial artist," said Kelly, who has been upgraded to blue belt by decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt John Baylon. "I feel like a more well-rounded athlete after my belt got upgraded. This adds more confidence, especi...Keep on reading: Edward Kelly promoted to Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 17th, 2018

Joshua Pacio-Hayato Suzuki rematch ‘a 50-50 bout,’ says Filipino veteran Rene Catalan

Veteran Filipino fighter Rene Catalan thinks the ONE strawweight world title is up for grabs when his compatriot Joshua Pacio defends his crown for the first time in a rematch with Japanese challenger Hayato Suzuki next month. Pacio and Suzuki will headline the ONE: Eternal Glory event at Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia on January 19. "This is a 50-50 bout. As long as Pacio can keep the match off the ground, he has a big chance to win. We all know Suzuki is experienced on the mat, and he already beat Pacio by doing just that in their first bout," Catalan said. Suzuki got the better of Pacio in their first bout, submitting the Team Lakay standout with a rear-naked choke in the f...Keep on reading: Joshua Pacio-Hayato Suzuki rematch ‘a 50-50 bout,’ says Filipino veteran Rene Catalan.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 17th, 2018

ONE Championship: The Machine to Master Mentor - Team Lakay s Mark Sangiao has no regrets in exchanging fighting for coaching

During the post-fight press conference for ONE: Conquest of Champions last Friday, Novemeber 23rd at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao was asked a pretty interesting question.  "Coach, you sacrificed your professional fighting career para makapag-focus sa mga katulad ni Eduard [Folayang]. Ngayon na nakikita niyo yung mga world title na nasa lamesa. Do you think worth it yung pag-give up [ng fighting career?]"  Sangiao had just coached one of his closest wards in Eduard Folayang back to the ONE Lightweight World Championship. Before that, Sangiao spent much of his 2018 coaching three other Team Lakay stars in Geje Eustaquio, Joshua Pacio, and Kevin Belingon into their own world championship runs.  All four of the champions were present during the press conference, and their big gold belts provided enough gleam to light up the whole press room.  So for Sangiao, his response was quick and simple, and likely very easy.   "Nakikita ko lang yung mga belt dito, worth it na. Feeling ko champion na din ako," he said with a gigantic smile, as the four ONE Championship world titles sat in front of him.  Prior to becoming Team Lakay's master mentor and a Coach of the Year awardee, Mark "The Machine" Sangiao was one hell of a fighter.  A former Philippine Team member and medalist in Wushu, Sangiao transitioned into MMA and was one of the stars of the early days of the URCC.  The Baguio native went 7-2 in his career, with all but one of his victories coming via stoppage. His last fight was in 2009, and it was around that time that other Team Lakay stars like Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, and Honorio Banario were getting their own careers off the ground.  The decision to leave the fight game as a competitor and put his attention to coaching full time, Sangiao says, was made in 2010, and it was in the presence of his Team Lakay wards.  "Napag-desisyunan ko ‘to, eight years ago, 2010. And they were there nung nagdesisyon ako, tinatanong ko din sila. ‘Desisyon mo ‘yan’, yun yung sabi nila."  Now, eight years later, Sangiao has coached six world champions and has helped transform Team Lakay into one of, if not the best mixed martial arts teams in all of Asia.  This success, the 38-year old Sangiao adds, has made his sacrifice even more worth while.  "Positive naman akong tao, walang pinag-sisisihan, and I’m very happy with the result of my decision." With four of ONE Championship's eleven MMA world championships residing in Team Lakay, it's not really surprising that Coach Mark is at peace with his decision. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 26th, 2018

ONE Championship: Honorio Banario gets new opponent for Conquest of Champions card

Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio "The Rock" Banario will be facing a new opponent in his featured lightweight bout this Friday at ONE: Conquest of Champions at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila.  Originally scheduled to face Korean contender Dae Sung Park, Banario now meets India's Rahul Raju after Park was unable to secure medical clearance to compete.  BREAKING: Singapore's Rahul Raju replaces Dae Sung Park of South Korea in the bout against Team Lakay's Honorio Banario at ONE: Conquest of Champions. Park failed to secure a medical clearance to compete on Friday. — 'El Chapo' Nissi Icasiano (@Nissi_Icasiano) November 20, 2018 Raju, 5-3 in mixed martial arts, is looking to snap a two-fight losing skid. The Singapore-based fighter is no stranger to facing Filipino competition, after having shared the cage in the past with Filipino MMA stars Andrew Benibe and Red Romero back in 2017.  His last two bouts were losses to ONE lightweight contenders Garry Tonon and Shannon Wiratchai.  Banario is also looking to bounce back after coming off a submission loss to title contender Amir Khan back in September.    Catch ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS this Friday, November 23rd LIVE starting 8:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 21st, 2018

ONE Championship: Former champ Bibiano Fernandes believes pro-Pinoy crowd helped sway judges in title bout against Belingon

For the first time in five years, ONE Championship has a new undisputed bantamweight world champion in Team Lakay star Kevin "The Silencer" Belingon.  Belingon did the near unthinkable at ONE: Heart of the Lion in Singapore last November 9th when he edged out former long-time champion Bibiano "The Flash" Fernandes via split decision.  It was Fernandes' first loss in 14 bouts and his first loss in ONE Championship.  The 38-year old Brazilian star believes that, while it was indeed a close battle, he deserved to still be the champion at the end of the five-round war.  “When I look at the ONE judging criteria, what they count more, it’s near knockout or submission first, and then damage, control," Fernandes told MMAFighting.com's Guilherme Cruz. "When I saw it, I knew I won this fight. I almost submitted him three times. That punch he landed, I threw a kick and only had one foot on the ground when it hit me, so I lost balance. I waited for him to come, grabbed his leg and came back up. I know I won this fight.” Aside from going against Belingon, Fernandes believes that he had to deal with the strong Filipino contingent in the crowd as well.  Belingon was the clear crowd favorite inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium that night, and Fernandes says it may have had a hand in swaying the judges' decision.  "Thousands of fans there, and I think half of them were Filipinos,” Fernandes explained. “I was alone there against Kevin, the judges and the fans. Anything he did would drive the crowd nuts. If I lose, I lose, I don’t cry about it, but I think the judges were affected by the fans. I’m a fighter and I do my best, but I can’t fight against the judges and the fans.” Now, Fernandes is looking at an immediate rematch, something that he says is in his ONE Championship contract. The new champ believes that this is the most likely scenario as well.  The Belingon-Fernandes rematch will likely take place in 2019, when Belingon has completely healed from his injuries.  “I can fight tomorrow, but Kevin can’t. I saw him afterwards and he couldn’t even walk, so I have to respect his recovery, his rest, let him enjoy the belt because he fought bravely, too.” said Fernandes. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 14th, 2018

ONE Championship: Kevin Belingon determined to change World Champion status from ‘interim’ to ‘undisputed’

Filipino spitfire Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon is due to lock horns with Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes in a highly-anticipated bantamweight title unification bout at ONE: HEART OF THE LION, set for the Singapore Indoor Stadium on 9 November. Belingon and Fernandes first squared off inside the ONE Championship cage in January of 2016, with the latter pulling off a quick submission victory, but the Team Lakay man now has his long-awaited shot at redemption. “I am super excited. Finally, the long wait is over, and now I’m fighting Bibiano Fernandes for the undisputed bantamweight title. Ever since the night I lost to him the first time in China, this moment has been all that I have looked forward to,” Belingon stated. Since yielding to Fernandes over two years ago, the 31-year-old native of Kiangan, Ifugao steamrolled six top contenders in ONE Championship’s talent-filled 65.8-kilogram weight class. This includes a match that, in theory, he did not have to accept, but one which undoubtedly secured him a date with his Brazilian rival. In front of his home crowd in July, Belingon defeated two-division world champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen via unanimous decision to capture the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Title. “Every opponent, every challenge that I have faced since then, has brought me here. This is what I have worked extremely hard for,” Belingon stated.  “This is a career-defining bout for me. I am laser-focused on coming into this fight in the best shape ever, and I am working hard on my preparations.” Belingon feels that his journey to this point has been worthwhile, and now that he has a belt around his waist, he wants to unify the world titles and avenge the defeat. “He has been on my mind for more than two years now,” he explained. “I have upgraded my skills where necessary. This time around, things will be different. I am a completely different fighter. I know the mistakes I made in the first bout. This is my chance to erase that memory.” With another opportunity to showcase his maturity as a competitor, Belingon hopes to join Team Lakay comrade Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio as one of the few athletes under the promotion’s banner to unify two world titles to become an undisputed champion. “I know that nothing will get easier, and I have to work twice as hard to prepare for the biggest bout of my life. I am driven to become the undisputed champion on the 9th of November.  “See you inside the cage, Bibiano,” he ended......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 1st, 2018

Catching Up with The Truth: ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera talks BuyBust experience

It’s been a while since we’ve seen ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera compete inside the ONE Championship cage. The last time Vera was in action was back in December of 2016 when he defended his title against Japanese challenger Hideki Sekine in Manila, winning via first round-TKO. And while “The Truth” hasn’t been active in mixed martial arts competition, that doesn’t mean that he’s been just sitting around, chilling. Far from it, in fact. Aside from getting married and taking care of some outside-competition matters, Vera has been quite busy on the silver screen. The 41-year old Fil-American booked his first major movie gig as part of the highly-successful action movie BuyBust, where he plays Rico Yatco, a member of an anti-narcotics squad in the Philippines. For Vera, the whole experience of being part of a movie is something that he says he looks forward to doing more in the future. “It was amazing, definitely something I look forward to doing after I’m finished with my competition side of martial arts, I absolutely loved it,” Vera shared with ABS-CBN Sports. Directed by famed Filipino movie director Erik Matti, BuyBust also features veteran actors such as Anne Curtis and Victor Neri among others. The experience, Vera says, is a ‘dream come true’ for him. “Working with Direk Erik, Ms. Anne Curtis, Victor Neri, Tito Levi [Ignacio], you know just working with that group of people and seeing the level of where I want to be, projects are coming my way now, it’s, I don’t know how to describe it, I don’t know how to explain it,” he said, “it’s beyond a dream. Most people dream to just get into a movie, I was put into a movie with all of those superstars. All I can do is thank my blessings everyday that I was able to do something like that.” Being a life-long mixed martial artist, Vera is no stranger to pressure and performing in front of large audiences. Having to “perform” so to say, for his BuyBust director and co-stars however, he admits, was a different beast altogether. “What do you think?” Vera responded with a chuckle. “First movie out? Okay, the lead is Anne Curtis. The director is Erik Matti. Then the names just kept on rolling. The pressure was definitely there, but Direk Erik said I did really good with the pressure, I just didn’t want to let the team down, that’s how I felt the whole time, I just didn’t want to let anybody down. From the directors, to the production, the cast, the crew that was working on set, I didn’t want to mess up for anyone. Definitely pressure, but I think that’s what helped us get through it,” he continued. Asked if he expected BuyBust to be as big as it was, Vera admitted that he didn’t know what to expect. “I had no idea. This was my first anything, so I had no idea. I didn’t get nervous, I wasn’t nervous for the world premiere in New York, I wasn’t nervous about that until before we left. We might have been already on the plane when I asked Anne, ‘Is this your first one?’ and she was like ‘Yeah, this is my first one.’ When she said that, it’s like it hit me in the face. ‘Oh my God, oh my God this is a big deal!’ That’s when I started getting nervous. I couldn’t believe what was going on,” he said. The experience as a whole, Vera says, was not simply a reason to be thankful, but rather a reason to keep working and keep striving to get better. “I’m just lucky, I’m lucky and blessed, that’s why I don’t complain about anything, just keep going forward and I keep training hard,” Vera added, “I keep going to Tagalog classes, I keep going to acting workshops, I have no right to complain, all I can do is get better. There’s too many people who put their faith in me for me to fail, and I just wanna keep grinding and getting better, and I realized all of this before, during, and after the shoot.” For now, however, Vera says that he’s more than excited to make his long-awaited return to the ONE Championship stage. While there’s no announcement yet with regards to his next title defense, the champ hopes to be able to do it on the upcoming ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS card in Manila on November 23rd at the Mall of Asia Arena. The card also features a highly-anticipated ONE Lightweight World Championship bout between Filipino martial arts hero Eduard “Landslide” Folayang of Team Lakay and Singaporean knockout artist Amir Khan......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 15th, 2018