Advertisements


Filipino-American MMA star Mark Muñoz recalls retirement bout in Manila

In 2015, Filipino mixed martial arts fans’ prayers were answered when the UFC, finally brought the legendary Octagon to the Philippines.  UFC Fight Night Manila was headlined by Frankie Edgar and Urijah Faber, two former world champions and two of the world’s best at the time.  But while the main event was indeed on worthy of a pay-per-view card, Pinoy fans flocked to the Mall of Asia Arena to see one of their own compete in the Octagon for the very last time.  The UFC’s inaugural card in Manila also featured the retirement bout of Filipino-American Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Muñoz.  (READ ALSO: Mark Muñoz ends career on the highest of notes) Muñoz was 37 at the time, and was already a veteran in the UFC, having fought 14 times for the North American promotion. During his peak in the UFC, the California-native won seven out of eight fights and came within a win away from becoming a title contender, before losing to eventual middleweight titleholder Chris Weidman.  Following the loss to Weidman, Munoz went on to drop three of his next four bouts.  In the final fight of his MMA career, Muñoz had the chance to go out on top and retire in front of his fellow Filipinos. In front of over 13,000 strong, Muñoz did just that, beating Luke Barnatt via unanimous decision and announcing his retirement durung the post-fight speech.  (READ ALSO: The MMA community reacts to Mark Munoz's final fight and retirement) On an episode of The Hit List Vodcast, Muñoz recalled that night and what it meant for him to end his career that way.  “Oh man. I would cherish that night forever,” Muñoz said. “Even when I came to the Philippines early and I visited my family, I still have four generations of my family still there and it was so cool to see my whole family and just to have the support there from everybody. It was amazing and for me, you know, I just felt the love.” “I loved it. And when I walked out, I heard just people cheering and as I was walking out, I slapped somebody’s hand and I started crying you know. Like, whoah, that’s crazy, I’m getting ready to fight and you know like, dude that’s nuts. For me to be able to have that impact on people because they love the sport I love and I’m able to do it in a high level, it made me just wanna give,” he continued.  Following the hard-fought three-round victory, Muñoz addressed the Pinoy crowd and gave a heartfelt message, thanking his fans and then expressing his desire to help the Philippines out in terms of wrestling, an aspect that has long been deemed lacking or inadequate among Filipino mixed martial artists.  “Like I said before, when I got on the microphone, they handed the microphone to me and they never do that, so when they handed the mic to me, I told everybody that I wanna go back to the Philippines and I wanna help in any way I can and so, right now I’m actually building a website that people could access from all around the world, so it’s a wrestling website and I have the best people on there.  Muñoz’s commitment to helping Filipino wrestlers remains to this day, saying that he would gladly fly out to the motherland if he was asked to do so.  “I have my wrestling room where you could have the capability of getting on there and learning from me, and if someone wants to bring me for a seminar out there, I’ll come. In a heartbeat. I’d love to go back to the Philippines and help my kababayan. Just be able to support and help everybody I can,” he said.  While Muñoz did decide to call it a career that night, the former collegiate wrestling star believed that he could still compete at a high level, especially since he was working with world champions and elite-level talent on a daily basis.  “I honestly felt that I was still in my prime,” Muñoz admitted. “I honestly felt that I could have fought more and I felt like I could beat still the guys that beat me. I trained with all the best guys. I trained with Lyoto Machida and fought him and I do very well with him inside the gym. Michael Bisping was a training partner of mine. Anderson Silva I trained with him for a very long time. I know that level and I can be at that level. I felt like I could still compete at that level.” The reason why he left the sport, Muñoz explained, is to be able to spend more time with his family.  “To answer your question, the reason why I stepped away from the sport was not because my body wasn’t able to do it. I stepped away because my family needed me more than me being in the sport. Because, I’m telling you it was hard for my wife, she was a single mom with all the kids for a long time so it was hard. Things at home was pretty rough for us and I didn’t like that at all. All the while I was coaching and travelling all the time so something has to give. I felt like yes, it was a storybook ending but a the same time, I can still compete with the best guys in the division.” Check out the full interview HERE .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJun 15th, 2020

Filipino-American MMA star Mark Muñoz recalls retirement bout in Manila

In 2015, Filipino mixed martial arts fans’ prayers were answered when the UFC, finally brought the legendary Octagon to the Philippines.  UFC Fight Night Manila was headlined by Frankie Edgar and Urijah Faber, two former world champions and two of the world’s best at the time.  But while the main event was indeed on worthy of a pay-per-view card, Pinoy fans flocked to the Mall of Asia Arena to see one of their own compete in the Octagon for the very last time.  The UFC’s inaugural card in Manila also featured the retirement bout of Filipino-American Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Muñoz.  (READ ALSO: Mark Muñoz ends career on the highest of notes) Muñoz was 37 at the time, and was already a veteran in the UFC, having fought 14 times for the North American promotion. During his peak in the UFC, the California-native won seven out of eight fights and came within a win away from becoming a title contender, before losing to eventual middleweight titleholder Chris Weidman.  Following the loss to Weidman, Munoz went on to drop three of his next four bouts.  In the final fight of his MMA career, Muñoz had the chance to go out on top and retire in front of his fellow Filipinos. In front of over 13,000 strong, Muñoz did just that, beating Luke Barnatt via unanimous decision and announcing his retirement durung the post-fight speech.  (READ ALSO: The MMA community reacts to Mark Munoz's final fight and retirement) On an episode of The Hit List Vodcast, Muñoz recalled that night and what it meant for him to end his career that way.  “Oh man. I would cherish that night forever,” Muñoz said. “Even when I came to the Philippines early and I visited my family, I still have four generations of my family still there and it was so cool to see my whole family and just to have the support there from everybody. It was amazing and for me, you know, I just felt the love.” “I loved it. And when I walked out, I heard just people cheering and as I was walking out, I slapped somebody’s hand and I started crying you know. Like, whoah, that’s crazy, I’m getting ready to fight and you know like, dude that’s nuts. For me to be able to have that impact on people because they love the sport I love and I’m able to do it in a high level, it made me just wanna give,” he continued.  Following the hard-fought three-round victory, Muñoz addressed the Pinoy crowd and gave a heartfelt message, thanking his fans and then expressing his desire to help the Philippines out in terms of wrestling, an aspect that has long been deemed lacking or inadequate among Filipino mixed martial artists.  “Like I said before, when I got on the microphone, they handed the microphone to me and they never do that, so when they handed the mic to me, I told everybody that I wanna go back to the Philippines and I wanna help in any way I can and so, right now I’m actually building a website that people could access from all around the world, so it’s a wrestling website and I have the best people on there.  Muñoz’s commitment to helping Filipino wrestlers remains to this day, saying that he would gladly fly out to the motherland if he was asked to do so.  “I have my wrestling room where you could have the capability of getting on there and learning from me, and if someone wants to bring me for a seminar out there, I’ll come. In a heartbeat. I’d love to go back to the Philippines and help my kababayan. Just be able to support and help everybody I can,” he said.  While Muñoz did decide to call it a career that night, the former collegiate wrestling star believed that he could still compete at a high level, especially since he was working with world champions and elite-level talent on a daily basis.  “I honestly felt that I was still in my prime,” Muñoz admitted. “I honestly felt that I could have fought more and I felt like I could beat still the guys that beat me. I trained with all the best guys. I trained with Lyoto Machida and fought him and I do very well with him inside the gym. Michael Bisping was a training partner of mine. Anderson Silva I trained with him for a very long time. I know that level and I can be at that level. I felt like I could still compete at that level.” The reason why he left the sport, Muñoz explained, is to be able to spend more time with his family.  “To answer your question, the reason why I stepped away from the sport was not because my body wasn’t able to do it. I stepped away because my family needed me more than me being in the sport. Because, I’m telling you it was hard for my wife, she was a single mom with all the kids for a long time so it was hard. Things at home was pretty rough for us and I didn’t like that at all. All the while I was coaching and travelling all the time so something has to give. I felt like yes, it was a storybook ending but a the same time, I can still compete with the best guys in the division.” Check out the full interview HERE .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 15th, 2020

WHAT IF: Eduard Folayang had stopped Eddie Alvarez back in 2019?

In August of 2019, the Mall of Asia Arena in Metro Manila played host to arguably one of the biggest matches in ONE Championship lightweight history.  In one corner was Filipino mixed martial arts icon and hometown favorite Eduard “The Landslide” Folayang, a two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion who was looking to bounce back after dropping the title to Japanese legend Shinya Aoki in Japan earlier that year.  Standing in the opposite corner was American star Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez, a former UFC and Bellator Lightweight Champion and one of ONE’s biggest acquisitions in recent memory. Like Folayang, Alvarez was also looking to get back on track after a disappointing KO loss to Timofey Nastyukhin in his ONE debut.  Considered a dream match by ONE Championship fans, Folayang versus Alvarez was billed as East versus West. One of ONE’s pioneers against one of ONE’s newest stars.  As much as the storylines made the match very intriguing, the stakes were quite high as well.  With the semifinals of the then-ongoing ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix doomed by injuries, the Folayang-Alvarez bout was elevated to Grand Prix semifinals status, meaning that the winner would go on to face Turkish knockout artist Saygid “Dagi” Guseyn Arslanaliev in the Finals at ONE: CENTURY.  For Folayang, it was a step towards reclaiming the title that he held at the start of the year. For Alvarez, it was a way to erase the memory of his bitter debut loss and also a step closer towards capturing his third major world championship.  While the Folayang-Alvarez was the third-to-the last bout on the bill, for many of the Pinoy fans in attendance at the MOA Arena that night, it sure felt like the main event.  From the opening bell, the crowd was buzzing, anxious to see of their hometown hero could pull off the massive victory.  Chants of “Folayang! Folayang!” rang through MoA Arena just seconds before the Pinoy connected on a solid counter left hook that definitely got the American star’s attention.  After a flurry of kicks from Folayang, the briefly fell into a nervous silence as Alvarez caught a leg kick and managed to get Folayang to the ground before trapping him in a standing guillotine.  Folayang simply shrugged off the half-hearted submission attempt, much to the delight of the partisan-Pinoy crowd. So far so good for Team Philippines.  A flying knee from Alvarez collided with a spinning back kick from Folayang, which elicited some oohs and ahhs from the crowd, which was ready to go off as soon as their bet landed something big.  Folayang began to pick up steam as he launched strike after strike, throwing kicks, punches, and elbows. It was clear that the Team Lakay star was in control of the stand-up aspect of the fight.  Then, at the 3:37 mark of the first round, the big strike that the fans were waiting for finally came. Folayang, with his massive tree-trunk legs, whipped a right low kick that connected on Alvarez’s left leg, sending the American down to the mat. The way Alvarez sat back down, it looked like he was hurt.  Sensing blood in the water, Folayang went for the kill and began dropping fists as Alvarez tried to defend himself. A failed armbar attempt from Alvarez forced Folayang to reposition himself, moving into side control while still throwing hammerfist after hammerfist.  Then, all of a sudden, Alvarez managed to slip his right hand in between Folayang’s legs and then flip the Pinoy over. Just like that, it was Alvarez who was on top.  Unlike his Pinoy opponent however, Alvarez remained calm and slowly transitioned into full mount. Making things worse, Folayang, likely looking to prevent and ground and pound damage, turned and gave up his back.  Almost immediately, Alvarez sinked his hooks in and flattened Folayang out before locking in a rear naked choke and forcing the Pinoy to tap out.  While he did win, Alvarez would miss out on the Finals anyway after an injury would force him to withdraw as well. As a result, Dagi ended up facing - and losing to - reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian Lee.  Folayang was offered the Finals spot against Dagi, but last-minute visa issues would prevent him from being able to step up.  The loss was quite a painful one to swallow, not just for Folayang, but also for the fans.  Folayang admitted after the fight that he had rushed to get the finish, causing him to be a bit careless and make some costly mistakes.  "I was too eager to get the finish, and I think that’s the mistake, I became impatient, and I wanted to finish him as soon as possible but it didn’t go that way, so, that happened," Folayang explained.  But WHAT IF Folayang hadn’t rushed? Close your eyes and imagine:  After chopping Alvarez down with the leg kick at the 3:37 mark, Folayang pounced and picked his spots, landing some good shots to the head, enough to stun the American and force the referee to step in and stop the fight.  Or, what if instead of pouncing, Folayang allowed the visibly hurt Alvarez to get back up and from there, continued to punish The Underground King’s leg (or legs) en route to a TKO finish.  Folayang would have booked his ticked to the ONE Lightweight Grand Prix Finals. More importantly, Folayang would have been able to add Alvarez to the name of legend’s he’s beaten, and it would have skyrocketed his stock to even greater heights.  Would he have been able to defeat Dagi in the Finale? Of course it was very much possible. At the rate Dagi was knocking guys out up to that point, Folayang would have likely been considered an underdog, but a high-level striker like Folayang is never without his chances.  If Folayang had been able to get past Dagi as well, it would set up a very intriguing matchup between himself and Lee, which could have been a good matchup for the Pinoy star.  Now, Folayang finds himself once again looking to bounce back following a close loss to Dutch striker Pieter Buist.  Still hungry for a third run as world champion, Folayang will need to work his way back to the top of the division.  Who knows? Maybe two or three wins in, Folayang could find himself standing opposite Alvarez once again, with the chance to re-write history. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 27th, 2020

New Stars and New Eras: A look back at MMA in 2019

2019 was once again a pretty eventful year in terms of mixed martial arts, especially on the local front. In 2019, we saw Pinoy stars rise and fall, and some have managed to rise again before the decade’s end. Before we look forward to 2020, let’s take a look back at some of the biggest storylines in the world of Filipino, Asian and international mixed martial arts.   Team Lakay’s Troubles 2019 kicked off with not one, not two, but five world champions from the famed Filipino MMA stable Team Lakay. Pinoy MMA icon Eduard Folayang was on his second run as the ONE Lightweight World Champion, Kevin Belingon was enjoying his status as the ONE Bantamweight World Champion, Geje Eustaquio reigned over the flyweight division as the ONE Flyweight World Champion, and rising star Joshua Pacio, the ONE Strawweight World Champion, was the team’s youngest titleholder. Outside ONE, Stephen Loman continued on his reign as the BRAVE CF Bantamweight World Champion. And then, the dominoes began to fall. Pacio was the first to drop his title, losing a close split decision to Japan’s Yosuke Saruta. Eustaquio followed suit, dropping a controversial decision to rival Adriano Moraes, and then Folayang and Belingon would also lose their titles in heartbreaking fashion at ONE: A New Era in Japan. It was, to say the least, a rough start to the year for the Benguet-based team, but they would manage to bounce back before the year was done, with Folayang and Eustaquio both claiming wins to end the year.   The Rise of "The Passion" 23-year old prodigy Joshua “The Passion” Pacio was the youngest member of Team Lakay to hold a title heading into 2019, and heading into 2020, he remains the lone member of  Team Lakay to hold a ONE world title. After losing to Yosuke Saruta in January, Pacio was granted an immediate rematch and made good on the second opportunity by blasting Saruta with a head kick to score the KO and reclaim the ONE Strawweight World Championship. Pacio would then take on the clear-cut number one contender in fellow Pinoy Rene “D’ Challenger” Catalan, and make quick work of him as well, scoring a second-round submission win to retain the title. Even before the end of the year, Pacio already has his next assignment, as he’s set to face former champion Alex Silva at ONE: Fire and Fury in Manila on January 31st. A win for Pacio cements his status as one of, if not, the best ONE strawweight ever. While Team Lakay’s 2019 was, for the most part, a struggle, Pacio was no doubt the Team’s brightest spot.   A New Era 2019 proved to be another milestone year for Asia-based martial arts promotion ONE Championship, as they were able to penetrate new markets in terms of live shows as well as broadcast deals. ONE began the year with a new partnership with Turner Broadcasting, which gave North American fans access to ONE’s brand of martial arts through B/R Live and TNT. In terms of live events, ONE was able to finally plant their flag in one of the biggest markets for MMA in the world, Japan. In March, ONE put on their first ever show in Japan, ONE: A New Era in Tokyo, which featured some of the promotion’s biggest names including  Demetrious Johnson, Eddie Alvarez, Shinya Aoki, Angela Lee, Aung La N Sang, Eduard Folayang, and many more. To celebrate their historic 100th event, ONE returned to Tokyo for ONE: Century, their biggest card ever, featuring seven world title bouts and the promotion’s biggest stars, and then some.   In 2020, ONE plans to break through to even more new markets, possible including a show in the United States.   The ‘Return’ of Jon Jones While Jon Jones officially reclaimed his spot at the top of the UFC’s light heavyweight division in December of 2018, it was in 2019 that he returned to his dominant ways. After stopping Alexander Gustafsson in 2018 to reclaim the UFC Light Heavyweight crown, Jones handily defeated tough challengers in Anthony Smith and Thiago “Maretta” Santos to retain the titles. While the Smith and Santos bouts were lackluster in the eyes of many, it showed that even on his bad days, Jon Jones is better than most people on their best days.   “Rush” Retires Again While it was something that was expected, 37-year old Georges St-Pierre officially retired from MMA, again, in February. The former long-time welterweight king and pound-for-pound great made a triumphant return to the UFC in 2017, dethroning Michael Bisping to become the new UFC Middleweight Champion. GSP would never get to defend the title, as he would relinquish it not long after due to concerns with ulcerative colitis. While GSP has remained inactive since, the whispers of a super-fight with reigning UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov remain present, and 2020 could possibly see that coming to fruition.   Grand Prix Greatness In 2019, ONE Championship introduced a new and exciting attraction, the ONE Lightweight and Flyweight World Grand Prix tournaments.  Eight of the best fighters from each division would battle it out in a tournament-style competition, and the winner would become the ONE World Grand Prix Champion and earn a title shot against the division's respective titleholder.  Making their debuts in the lightweight and flyweight tournaments were former UFC champs Eddie Alvarez and Demetrious Johnson respectively, and as it played out the two would have very different outcomes.  Alvarez saw himself get upset in the quarterfinals by Russian knockout artist Timofey Nastyukhin. The former UFC lightweight king would get another chance in the tournament after defeating Eduard Folayang in a last-minute semifinal matchup, but another injury would keep him out of the finale at ONE: Century in Tokyo. Reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian Lee ended up stepping in on short notice to defeat tournament favorite Saygid Guseyn Arslanalieve and become a double-champion.  Johnson, meanwhile, breezed through his quarterfinals and semifinals bouts to set up a finale showdown with Filipino star Danny Kingad. In the Finale, Kingad fought valiantly but ultimately fell to Johnson via Unanimous Decision, setting up a must-see matchup between DJ and reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano Moraes in 2020.    Baddest Motherf**ker Jorge Masdival has long been a staple in the UFC’s lightweight ranks for years, but it wasn’t until 2019 that “Gamebred” made headlines. After a hiatus in 2018, Masvidal returned with a bang in 2019, knocking out former title challenger Darren Till, and then followed that up with a 5-second flying knee knockout over former ONE Welterweight king Ben Askren. The popularity and momentum that Masvidal had garnered was enough to bring a certain Stockton star out of retirement and that set up one of the most talked-about UFC title bouts in 2019: Masvidal vs. Nate Diaz for the title of Baddest Motherf**ker. Masvidal lived up to the name and pieced Diaz up with strikes in the early rounds, before eventually opening up a cut that was just too big for the fight to go on. Much to the dismay of Masvidal, Diaz, and the crowd in New York, the fight was stopped. Still, it was nothing short of a testament to just how dangerous the new and improved version of Jorge Masvidal is. Expect him to challenge for a title in 2020.   MMA stars shine in 2019 SEA Games A number of Pinoy mixed martial artists showcased their skills in different battlegrounds during the recently-concluded 2019 Southeast Asian Games, which was held in the Philippines. from November 30 to December 11. Reigning URCC champion Mark “Mugen” Striegl took home gold in Combat Sambo, while former ONE title challenger Rene Catalan settled for Silver after an injury dashed his dreams of getting gold. Another URCC veteran in Ariel Lee Lampacan also took home SEA Games gold, this time in the Muay Thai competition. ONE Super Series veteran Ryan Jakiri took home silver. The SEA Games kickboxing event saw three MMA stars from Team Lakay take home gold medals, as Gina Iniong, Jerry Olsim, and Jean Claude Saclag all reigned over their respective divisions. Iniong, of course, is a ONE Women’s Atomweight contender, while Olsim is a veteran of Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series. Saclag, meanwhile, is one of Team Lakay’s representatives in the Japan-based promotion Shooto.       .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 24th, 2019

ONE Championship: After disappointing night in Manila, it’s back to the drawing board again for Team Lakay

ONE Championship’s third trip to Manila for 2019, ONE: Dawn of Heroes which was held last August 2nd at the Mall of Asia Arena, was tagged as the biggest martial arts event in Philippine history.    With fans packing the stadium, it was the perfect platform for La Trinidad-based mixed martial arts stable Team Lakay to showcase their talents in front of what could possibly be the biggest ONE crowd in Manila.    Unfortunately for Team Lakay, ONE: Dawn of Heroes would prove to be an unfavorable night for the most part.    “1 and 4,” said Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao during the post-event press conference. “One win and four losses, but again, it’s not the first time that we’ve experienced a case like this. We’ve gone 0-5, and again, we learned a lot of lessons from tonight, and we’ll be back to the drawing board. We’ll go back to the hotel and discuss what happened.”   The preliminary card was nothing short of a disaster for Team Lakay, as former champions Geje Eustaquio and Honorio Banario, and featherweight contender Edward Kelly all absorbed painful losses.    Kelly, who was the first on deck, fell victim to unintentional illegal blows to the back of the head at the hands of Chinese contender Xie Bin, rendering him unable to continue. With the bout already past the halfway point when the infraction occurred, a technical decision needed to be made, and it went in favor of Xie, who had been dominating Kelly all throughout the first one-and-a-half rounds.    Hoping to right the ship and get himself back on track as well was former ONE Featherweight World Champion Banario, who took on a short-notice replacement in South Korean Dae Sung Park. Banario was originally slated to face Russian Timofey Nastyukhin, but instead went to the prelims after Nastyukhin needed to pull out due to an injury.    Banario found himself in trouble early on after getting rocked with a left high kick and an elbow, but was able to survive and make things competitive for the rest of the bout. Banario had his moments, but it was Park who was in control for the better part of the three-round bout, leading to a unanimous decision win.    “Siguro the lesson I learned in this fight is I need to train more,” a dejected Banario said during the post-fight presser. “I gave everything in the fight, but it wasn’t my night, so I think the next time, I need to train more and improve my game.”    With the loss, Banario is now riding a two-fight losing streak, and while he admitted that the short-notice opponent change may have thrown him off his game for a bit, “The Rock” offered up no excuses for the defeat.    “Just a little bit, because my opponent changed to a southpaw, I tried to adapt for three weeks, but there’s no excuses. I lost the fight and [I need] to go back to the drawing board,” he said.    Hoping to be able to end the slump was former ONE Flyweight World Champion Eustaquio, who was coming off a bounce-back win back in Singapore. Against a heavy-handed Japanese striker in Yuya Wakamatsu, Eustaquio was hoping to get a win and throw himself back into title contention. Instead, Wakamatsu had other plans, as he landed a stiff right straight that knocked Eustaquio out in the first round.   It was Eustaquio’s first loss via knockout.    “Things happen, you know? In this level of competition, it’s either you get knocked out or you will knock him out. It’s just that tonight was not my night. I hope, and I believe that this is going to be a big stepping stone for me to become a better athlete,” he said.    In what was Team Lakay’s main event for the night, former two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang faced arguably his toughest challenge yet in former UFC and Bellator Lightweight World Champion Eddie Alvarez in a ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix semifinal bout.    Folayang appeared to be within moments of victory after chopping Alvarez down with a vicious leg kick and pouncing on the grounded American.    Over-aggression led to a bit of carelessness for Folayang as he found himself getting reversed as he was looking to finish Alvarez off.    With the American star now in dominant position, it was only a matter of moments before he managed to impose his superior grappling and submitted the Filipino hero with a Rear Naked Choke just a little over two minutes into the opening round.   “I think, for Eduard in this fight, the major lesson that we learned is that ‘Don’t rush. We’re winning.’ I thought we won already, but because of small details, we’re in the [world-class] calibre, so small details will finish everything and lose the fight, so next time, we’ll be cautious,” Sangiao said of Folayang’s loss.    The lone bright spot for the team was their youngest Lakay in Danny Kingad, who rallied back to defeat Reece McLaren in their ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix semifinal bout. With the win, Kingad advances to the Finals to face American MMA icon and former long-time UFC Flyweight king Demetrious Johnson, who was also victorious that night against Japanese contender Tatsumitsu Wada.    Kingad and Johnson are set to square off at ONE: Century in Tokyo, Japan this October.    As Coach Mark said, this isn’t the first time that Team Lakay has felt disappointment in Manila. In fact, they have gone worse.    Back in 2013, Team Lakay went 0-5, with Folayang, Eustaquio, and Banario and Kevin Belingon all suffering losses that night in Manila.    But following the downs are usually ups, and Team Lakay has had their share of ups as well since then. They have gotten quite a few clean sweeps and even ended 2018 with four world championships, which means that all is not lost for the Igorot warriors, and Sangiao is confident that his team will regain their glory in the future.    “As I’ve said, this isn’t the first time that we’ve experienced cases like this. Before, we experienced going 0-5, and now we will be back again, and I know that they will be back stronger and better.”   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2019

Joshua Pacio and Alex Silva face off at ONE: FIRE & FURY Open Workouts

ONE Championship returns to the Philippines for the first time in 2020 with ONE: FIRE & FURY this coming Friday, January 31st at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. Before 'The Home of Martial Arts' puts on yet another exciting show for its loyal Pinoy fans however, some of the athletes seeing action on Friday's must-see card gave the media a taste of what to expect on fight night during the official ONE: FIRE & FURY Open Workouts, Tuesday afternoon at One Esplanade.  Headlining Friday's card will be an intriguing ONE Strawweight World Championship bout between the Philippines' very own reigning titlist Joshua "The Passion" Pacio and former champion Alex "Little Rock" Silva of Brazil.  The champ is here! ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio will be defending his title against Alex Silva this Friday. Pacio will look for his second successful title defense | #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/9IPuy5IVlk — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 The 24-year old Pacio, a member of the famed Team Lakay stable up in Benguet, will be looking to defend his ONE Strawweight World Championship for a second time, as he's coming off a successful title defense against compatriot Rene "D' Challenger" Catalan also in Manila last November.  Former ONE Strawweight World Champion Alex Silva of Brazil will try to regain his title against reigning champ Joshua Pacio this Friday | #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/ZZ9AjY7hHk — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 Standing opposite Pacio will be a dangerous test in former ONE Strawweight World Champion Silva, who captured the title back in 2017 with a decision win over Yoshitaka Naito. Silva's reign would not be a long one however, as Naito would reclaim the title the following year. Silva has managed to bounce back successfully and has racked off two straight wins over Stefer Rahardian and Peng Xuewen to earn another shot at gold.    Two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion @efolayang returns to action against Pietr Buist. He’s looking to kick off another run to the top of the division | #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/3pT963fEbi — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 In the co-main event, Filipino mixed martial arts icon and two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard "Landslide" Folayang of Team Lakay returns to action to face Dutch up-and-comer Pietr "The Archangel" Buist.  Coming off his technical decision win over Amarsanaa Tsogookhuu in Manila back in Noveber, Folayang looks to score back-to-back wins and work his way back to the top of the ONE Championship lightweight title picture. Buist on the other hand, is looking to make a big impact on short notice, as he meets a big name in the Pinoy star. The Dutchman is currently 2-0 under the ONE banner.    ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix finalist Danny Kingad of Team Lakay returns to action against Xie Wei. He’s coming off a great performance in a loss against Demetrious Johnson | #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/qSVTtg2Igq — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 Fresh off his ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix finals bout against Demetrious Johnson, Danny "The King" Kingad steps back into the circle to face China's "The Hunter" Xie Wei. In spite of falling to Johnson in the flyweight tournament finale, the young Kingad, also a member of Team Lakay, drew praise from the American MMA star, and now looks to use his experience as fuel to return to the upper echelon of the flyweight division. With a five-fight winning streak in tow, Xie will look to score the biggest win of his career against a proven contender in Kingad.    ONE Warrior Series contract winner Lito Adiwang of Team Lakay does some shadow boxing before hitting the mitts. He faces Pongsiri Mitsatit on Friday. | #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/hPwePNnOAt — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 Looking to build off his explosive debut, strawweight Lito "Thunder Kid" Adiwang makes his way back to the Circle to face Thai veteran Pongsiri "The Smiling Assassin" Mitsatit.  Team Lakay's Adiwang, a ONE Warrior Series contract winner, announced his arrival with quick submission win over Senzo Ikeda in Tokyo back in October. He hopes to keep the momentum going as he faces another tough test in the form of Mitsatit.  With four losses in his last five bouts, Mitsatit is definitely hungry for a victory, and he hopes to finally return to the winners column at the expense of Team Lakay's newest soldier in the ONE ranks.    Women’s Atomweight contender and #SEAGames2019 Kickboxing Gold Medalist Gina Iniong of Team Lakay out next. She faces Asha Roka on Friday | #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/X5hVVAUOzt — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 After dominating the field in kickboxing during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, gold medalist Gina "Conviction" Iniong returns to MMA and the ONE Circle to face India's Asha "Knockout Queen" Roka.  Team Lakay's Iniong is coming off an impressive split decision win over Jihin Radzuan back in 2019, and look to keep her momentum going as she faces one of the division's newest faces.  Losing to Stamp Fairtex in her maiden ONE appearance, Roka finds herself against an even more experienced opponent in perennial contender Iniong.    Filipina Jomary Torres of Catalan Fighting System first out. She trains with former title contender Rene Catalan. She faces Jenny Huang on Friday | #ONEChampionship #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/hJTCNemV1J — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 Kicking things off on Friday will be Jomary "The Zamboanginian Fighter" Torres of Catalan Fighting System taking on former title contender Jenny "Lady GoGo" Huang of Chinese Taipei.  After a scorching start in ONE which saw her win her first three outings, Torres has cooled down drastically, losing her last four bouts. She hopes to finally arrest her losing skid against someone on the same boat in Huang.  Much like Torres, Huang was impressive to begin her ONE career, winning her first four assignments to earn a shot at Angela Lee and the ONE Women's Atomweight World Championship. Huang would lose to Lee and then drop her next four bouts to make it an excruciating five-fight losing streak.    Catch ONE: FIRE & FURY on Friday, January 31st at 8:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 28th, 2020

ONE Championship: Pinoy Roel Rosauro victorious at ONE: A NEW TOMORROW in Bangkok

BANGKOK, THAILAND - The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), put together another electric martial arts extravaganza at Bangkok’s sprawling IMPACT Arena last Friday night, 10 January. ONE: A NEW TOMORROW featured the absolute best in local and international martial arts talent, who all showcased their incredible skills inside the ONE Championship ring. Kicking off the action at ONE: A NEW TOMORROW were featherweights Roel Rosauro of the Philippines and “The Ice Man” Yohan Mulia Legowo of Indonesia. Rosauro, a Filipino national Muay Thai champion, put together a clinical display of striking for three rounds, tagging Legowo with punishing combinations to the head and midsection. Although Legowo would give Rosauro a good challenge, he was a step behind constantly throughout the bout. All three judges saw the bout in favor of the Filipino to win by unanimous decision. In the main event, Thailand’s own Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon put on a striking clinic, needing just three rounds to finish off former world champion Jonathan “The General” Haggerty of England to retain the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship.  Rodtang closed the show in impressive fashion, stopping Haggerty via technical knockout behind staggering body shots and his usual forward aggressiveness. Rodtang set the tone early in the bout, landing a shot to the body that sent Haggerty down to the canvas in round one. Rodtang continued to put the pressure on Haggerty in the third round as the Thai star scored three consecutive knockdowns to put the challenger away and successfully defend his title. In the co-main event, two-sport world champion Stamp Fairtex of Thailand remained perfect in her mixed martial arts career after defeating India’s Puja “The Cyclone” Tomar by first-round technical knockout. A botched takedown attempt from Tomar led to Stamp taking her back and eventually getting to back-mount. From there, Stamp began to punish Tomar with punches and elbows to get the stoppage victory and move one step closer to the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship. Thailand’s own “The Million Dollar Baby” Sangmanee Sathian Muaythai put on a kicking clinic as he punished Japan’s Kenta Yamada en route to a unanimous decision win in a ONE Super Series Muay Thai contest. From the opening bell, Sangmanee peppered Yamada with a barrage of kicks to the legs, body, and head. Yamada remained game and kept coming forward, but that did little to stop Sangmanee from unloading even more kicks, as the seven-time world champion cruised to a dominant decision victory in his home country.  Vietnamese-American Thanh Le continues to steamroll through the featherweight division after knocking out Japan’s Ryogo “Kaitai” Takahashi in the first round. Le connected on a thunderous right hand that dropped Takahashi and spelled the beginning of the end. Le, sensing a finish was within reach, turned up the aggression and swarmed on Takahashi, landing punches and knees to end the bout midway through the opening round.  England’s Liam “Hitman” Harrison opened the main card in spectacular fashion, scoring a first-round knockout win over Malaysia’s Mohammed “Jordan Boy” Bin Mahmoud in a Muay Thai bout. Harrison, an eight-time Muay Thai world champion, scored the first knockdown early in the first round after connecting on a well-placed left hook. Mohammed answered the count, but would be sent right back down moments later, courtesy of a succession of elbows from Harrison. “Hitman” then took “Jordan Boy” out with a flurry of punches that forced the referee to step in and end the bout.  In a ONE Super Series Muay Thai contest, three-time Muay Thai World Champion “The Elbow Zombie” Muangthai PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym put on a show in front of his hometown fans, eking out a split decision win over Algerian former ONE World Title challenger Brice “The Truck” Delval. Muangthai got off to a slow start but picked up steam in the second round, as he began to walk through Delval’s shots while landing punches and kicks of his own. Muangthai continued to push the action in the final round, coming forward and landing strikes as Delval tried to evade the contact. The continuous pressure was enough for Muangthai to earn the hard-fought unanimous decision.  Russian Hand-to-Hand Combat World Champion Raimond Magomedaliev impressed in his second appearance on the ONE Championship stage, dominating American newcomer and COGA Welterweight Champion Joey “Mama’s Boy” Pierotti. Pierotti was certainly a game challenger for the duration of the contest, however, Magomedaliev picked this evening to show off his impeccable striking. He sliced the American with a plethora of sharp elbows to start the bout. Pierotti tried to fall back on his wrestling, but Magomedaliev proved his ring savvy by avoiding a war on the mat with great takedown defense. Just under four minutes in, Magomedaliev swept Pierotti from underneath and then quickly sunk in the bout-ending guillotine choke. In a ONE Super Series kickboxing bout, 2-time IFMA Muay Thai World Champion Adam Noi of Algeria delivered a thorough three-round performance, defeating Victor “Leo” Pinto of France by decision. Noi shocked Pinto in the first round, catching him with a question mark kick that put his opponent on the canvas. Pinto, however, beat the count and was back on his feet to end the frame. Action continued in the second round, with both men going back and forth with powerful combinations. The third round was again close, as the two warriors traded strikes at the center of the ONE Championship ring. Though Pinto showed great defense, Noi’s attacks were on point, enough for the judges to award him the unanimous nod. ONE Warrior Series contract winner Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg of Mongolia made his ONE Championship main roster debut in spectacular fashion, knocking out top-rated Chinese featherweight “Cannon” Ma Jia Wen of China in under a minute. Shinechagtga was aggressive from the opening bell, actively seeking to finish with explosive striking combinations. At the 55-second mark, Shinechagtga caught Ma coming in, connecting on a thudding overhand right that turned the lights out on the Chinese athlete. Shinechagtga threw 29 total strikes, seven of which were significant strikes to the head. In a ONE Super Series Muay Thai contest, ISKA and WBC World Champion Mehdi “Diamond Heart” Zatout of Algeria took on Top King Muay Thai World Champion and former ONE World Title challenger Han Zi Hao of China. Zatout was aggressive to start the bout, but Han was slightly more accurate with his shots. In the second round, Han started off strong, while Zatout came on late with a flurry. By the end of the frame, Han began to fall behind as Zatout picked up the pace. In a close final round, Zatout pulled away in the last minute with accurate combinations to earn a close split decision. Japanese female strawweight Ayaka Miura continued her run of excellence with a dominant showing against Brazilian newcomer and Pan American Sanda Champion Maira Mazar. Miura, a 3rd degree Judo Black Belt, showcased her tremendous grappling skills early, scoring on a spectacular headlock takedown. On the mat, Miura went to her favorite scarfhold position to do damage. In the second round, another headlock takedown from Miura led to an Americana submission, which forced Mazar to tap. Official results for ONE: A NEW TOMORROW ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship: Rodtang Jitmuangnon defeats Jonathan Haggerty by Technical Knockout (TKO) at 2:39 minutes of round 3 Mixed Martial Arts Atomweight: Stamp Fairtex defeats Puja Tomar by Technical Knockout (TKO) at 4:27 minutes of round 1 Muay Thai Bantamweight: Sangmanee Sathian Muaythai defeats Kenta Yamada by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Featherweight: Thanh Le defeats Ryogo Takahashi by Knockout (KO) at 2:51 minutes of round 1 Muay Thai Bantamweight: Liam Harrison defeats Mohammed Bin Mahmoud by Knockout (KO) at 2:03 minutes of round 1 Muay Thai Bantamweight: Muangthai PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym defeats Brice Delval by Split Decision (SD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Welterweight: Raimond Magomedaliev defeats Joey Pierotti by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 3:50 minutes of round 1 Kickboxing Bantamweight: Adam Noi defeats Victor Pinto by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Featherweight: Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg defeats Ma Jia Wen by Knockout (KO) at 0:55 minutes of round 1 Muay Thai Bantamweight: Mehdi Zatout defeats Han Zi Hao by Split Decision (SD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Strawweight: Ayaka Miura defeats Maira Mazar by Submission (Americana) at 3:01 minutes of round 2 Mixed Martial Arts Featherweight: Roel Rosauro defeats Yohan Mulia Legowo by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2020

ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS Results: Filipina Denice Zamboanga impressive in ONE debut

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), closed 2019 on a high note, giving fans another thrilling evening of world-class martial arts action. The Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur played host to ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS, featuring the absolute best in global martial arts talent. In the main event, Muay Thai legend Sam-A Gaiyanghadao made history by becoming a two-sport and two-division World Champion by defeating China’s “Golden Boy” Wang Junguang by unanimous decision to become the new ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Champion. In a five-round back-and-forth bout, Sam-A’s speed and experience shone through as he outstruck and outmaneuvered Wang for the majority of the contest. In the end, it was Sam-A who prevailed, capturing his second World Championship in ONE.  In the co-main event, Alaverdi “Babyface Killer” Ramazanov of Russia survived China’s “Muay Thai Boy” Zhang Chenglong to become the new ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion. Ramazanov started out strong, using his reach to connect on Zhang, leading to a knockdown in the third round. Zhang came to life in the later rounds, looking to swing the momentum in his favor. After five rounds of striking action, it was Ramazanov who earned the decision and finally realized his dream of becoming a ONE World Champion.  Denice “The Menace Fairtex” Zamboanga of the Philippines was impressive in her ONE Championship debut, edging out hometown favorite Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan by unanimous decision. Zamboanga was relentless in her takedown attempts as she was able to take Radzuan down at will and control her on the ground in the first two rounds. Radzuan tried to bounce back in the final round, throwing up submission attempt after submission attempt, but in the end, it wasn’t enough to sway the judges, as Zamboanga came away victorious. Malaysia’s own Agilan “Alligator” Thani had the hometown crowd on their feet after scoring an exciting split decision win over American newcomer Dante Schiro. Thani was able to control Schiro on the ground in the opening round, but the American rallied in the second and nearly finished the bout with a deep rear naked choke. Thani, however, was more effective with his game plan all throughout the contest. After three rounds of action, it was Thani who walked away with a razor-thin decision win.  Former ONE World Title challenger Reece “Lightning” McLaren of Australia returned to the winner’s circle in spectacular fashion, submitting Indian rising star Gurdarshan “Saint Lion” Mangat in the first round. McLaren put on a grappling clinic as he took Mangat down and imposed his will on the ground early. Towards the closing moments of the first round, McLaren was able to get to the mounted position and seamlessly transitioned into a rear naked choke, forcing Mangat to tap out with just seconds remaining.  Andrei “Mister KO” Stoica of Romania recorded the biggest win of his kickboxing career, knocking out Brazilian star Anderson “Braddock” Silva in just the first round. Stoica did well in keeping his distance from the hard-hitting Silva before uncorking a massive right hook of his own that had the Brazilian on unsteady footing. Stoica put Silva down with a thunderous right jab that spelled the beginning of the end for his opponent, who tried to answer the count but was visibly too rocked to continue.  Highly-touted South African standout Bokang “Little Giant” Masunyane announced his arrival to ONE Championship with a dominant unanimous decision win over ONE Warrior Series contract winner Ryuto “Dragon Boy” Sawada of Japan. Masunyane’s grappling was simply too much to handle, as he was able to take Sawada down and keep him grounded. After three rounds of action, Masunyane walked away with the clear-cut victory.   In a ONE Super Series Muay Thai contest, Elias “The Sniper” Mahmoudi of Algeria authored a masterful performance, trumping Thai legend Lerdsila Phuket Top Team across three tough rounds. Lerdsila was aggressive, showcasing his trademark power kicks from start to finish. Mahmoudi, however, was long and stayed mostly out of range with his reach. From the outside, Mahmoudi sniped Lerdsila with his combinations. Although the bout was close and both men had their moments, it was Mahmoudi who emerged the victor in the end with all three judges scoring the bout in his favor. China’s “The Ghost” Chen Rui came forth with a virtuoso performance against Malaysian hometown bet Muhammad “Jungle Cat” Aiman, bagging a unanimous decision for his efforts across all three judges’ scorecards. Chen stormed out of the gates in round one, pushing the pace with his aggression. Chen had Aiman hurt on the back foot on a couple of occasions, but the Malaysian was able to recover well. Action continued much the same for the rest of the bout, with Chen landing a handful of big shots while Aiman played defense and was a shade behind the majority of the contest. Myanmar’s “The Dragon Leg” Tial Thang came out to a thunderous chorus of cheers, as he made his walk to the ONE Circle with teammates ONE Light Heavyweight and Middleweight World Champion “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang, and ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen. Thang certainly did not disappoint, putting together a noteworthy performance against game challenger “The Kid” Kim Woon Kyoum of South Korea. Thang was aggressive all throughout, doing some good damage both on the feet and on the ground. Kim stood right in front of him, but was slightly a step behind for the majority of exchanges. In the end, all three judges scored the bout in favor of Thang to win by unanimous decision. South Korea’s “The Big Heart” Yoon Chang Min turned in another dominant performance, battering Filipino opponent Rodian “The Redeemer” Menchavez on the feet before finishing him with a submission. Yoon picked Menchavez apart methodically in the first round, wearing the Filipino down with pinpoint accurate strikes. In the second round, Yoon continued his dominance, beating Menchavez to the punch on every occasion. Not long after, Yoon locked in a Ninja Choke to force the tap, notching his fourth straight victory in ONE. In a Muay Thai contest, former Shoot Boxing Super Bantamweight Champion Taiki “Silent Sniper” Naito of Japan continued his unbeaten run so far in ONE Super Series, defeating former WKA European Champion Rui Botelho of Portugal by unanimous decision. Naito unleashed a bevy of leg kicks and body attacks to keep Botelho off center for the duration of the bout. Although Botelho would try his best to remain competitive, Naito was far too slick and accurate. In the end, all three judges scored the bout in favor of Naito. ONE Championship newcomer Rayane Bastos of Brazil made a triumphant promotional debut, finishing the highly-regarded Sovannahry Em via first-round submission to kick off the festivities at ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS. After a brief exchange of strikes on the feet, action hit the mat, giving Bastos an opportunity to showcase her ground skills. Not long after, Bastos caught Em in a guillotine choke in full mount, forcing the tap. Official results for ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Championship: Sam-A Gaiyanghadao defeats Wang Junguang by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 5 rounds ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Championship: Alaverdi Ramazanov defeats Zhang Chenglong by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 5 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Atomweight: Denice Zamboanga defeats Jihin Radzuan by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Welterweight: Agilan Thani defeats Dante Schiro by Split Decision (SD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Flyweight: Reece McLaren defeats Gurdarshan Mangat by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:35 minutes of round 1 Kickboxing Light Heavyweight: Andrei Stoica defeats Anderson Silva by Knockout (KO) at 1:57 minutes of round 1 Mixed Martial Arts Strawweight: Bokang Masunyane defeats Ryuto Sawada by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Muay Thai Flyweight: Elias Mahmoudi defeats Lerdsila Phuket Top Team by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Bantamweight: Chen Rui defeats Muhammad Aiman by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Bantamweight: Tial Thang defeats Kim Woon Kyoum by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Catchweight (77 KG): Yoon Chang Min defeats Rodian Menchavez by Submission (Ninja Choke) at 1:45 minutes of round 2 Muay Thai Flyweight: Taiki Naito defeats Rui Botelho by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Atomweight: Rayane Bastos defeats Sovannahry Em by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 2:40 minutes of round 1.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 9th, 2019

ONE Championship: Andun pa yung fire - Eduard Folayang highly motivated as he begins his comeback

After absorbing back-to-back defeats for just the second time in his professional mixed martial arts career, Filipino star Eduard “Landslide” Folayang once again finds himself on the comeback trail as he tries to once again have his hand raised in victory inside the ONE Circle.  The former two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion dropped the title to Shinya Aoki in the first defense of his second run as champion back in March, and then followed that up with a loss to Eddie Alvarez in August.  At 34 years of age, there really isn’t much left for Folayang to prove. A professional since 2007, Folayang has a respectable 21-8 professional record which includes championships in regional promotions and two world championship runs under the ONE banner. As it stands, he is already the face of Filipino MMA.  If he were to, say, hang his gloves up and dedicate his life to coaching future champions from Team Lakay, it’s highly unlikely that anyone would take it against him.  Yet, Folayang is gearing up for a return to action at ONE: Masters of Fate this coming Friday, November 8th at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Manila, Philippines. He faces Mongolian up-and-comer Amarsanaa “Spear” Tsogookhu in the co-main event. When asked what keeps him motivated, even after back-to-back losses, the former Philippine Wushu National Team Member and multiple-time SEA Games gold medalist says that he believes there’s still a lot for him to show.  “Yung pakiramdam na alam mong mayroon ka pang potential, hindi mo pa nai-uunleash yung full potential mo, yun yung parang nagpapalakas sa akin, na hindi pa dapat mag-give up, kasi still, andun parin yung fire na mag-rise up again,” Folayang told ABS-CBN Sports. “I think purposely, inallow ni God [yung mga losses ko] para makita ko yung mga areas na kailangan kong ayusin and yung mga pagkakamali talaga na kailangan kong iwasan sa mga future bouts ko.” For Folayang, the Alvarez bout in Manila last August is one that stung quite a bit.  A former UFC and Bellator Lightweight World Champion, Alvarez’s signing with ONE was met with lots of hype and anticipation. As early as then, a potential matchup with Folayang was already something that fans of the Asian martial arts promotion were intrigued to see.  When the bout was finally going to take place, it was billed as a must-see matchup between two of the division’s biggest stars.  Indeed, the bout lived up to the hype as it included a little bit of everything that a fight fan would want to see. Folayang, a striking expert, was the more aggressive fighter on the feet and was able to use his best weapon - his tree-trunk legs - to do damage and chop Alvarez down.  Once he had dropped “The Underground King” Folayang went in for the kill, and that eagerness to get the finish was what ultimately led to the Pinoy hero’s downfall in the match.  While obviously hurt by the chopping leg kick he had absorbed just moments earlier, Alvarez remained composed as he tried to survive the landslide of strikes coming from Folayang. The American found his opening and flipped Folayang over for the reversal before taking the Filipino’s back and finally getting the Rear Naked Choke Submission, forcing the hometown bet to tap out.  “Gina-gauge ko yung sarili ko eh, alam mo yun? Yung expectations ko sa kanya, hindi ganun eh. Sobrang taas, tapos nung laglaban kami, naramdaman ko, pero siyempre, nakalimutan ko siguro na magaling din siya sa ground, or either nang-gigil ako na gusto kong tumayo ulit para tapusin na namin yung laban sa taas,” Folayang explained.  “Siguro yun yung naging mga pagkakamali ko that time, na ayaw ko maulit. Hindi ako naging composed sa sarili ko, nakalimutan ko na yung laban ay mixed martial arts, kung saan lahat ng angle, kapag dun ka kinuha, kahit nananalo ka na sa isang area, hindi yun yung laban eh. Yung laban ay yung kung natapos na. Siguro yun yung parang nakita ko na nagkamali ako,” he added.  Had Folayang won, he would have advanced to the Finals of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix at ONE: Century in Tokyo, Japan.  Alvarez ultimately pulled out after an injury had barred him from competing in the finale against Turkey’s Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev. Arslanaliev ultimately lost to Christian Lee, who stepped in as Alvarez’s replacement.  Throughout his career, Folayang has had some rather heartbreaking losses, but the Alvarez one has to be up there as one of the most, especially since he was quite dominant in the opening moments of the bout.  Folayang admits that it took quite a bit for him to get over that.  “Hindi [ako agad naka-get over] eh, kasi everytime, may makaka-salubong na na ireremind sayo, ‘Sayang!’ yung ganun,” But it was also that bout against Alvarez - specifically that sequence that nearly ended the fight in his favor - that somehow made him realize what he is still capable of.   “Dun ko din talaga nakita na, kung yung ganung level ni Alvarez, sa kalakasan niya, nasurpass ko, I think mayroon pa talaga eh. Hindi ko pa talaga nare-reach yung full potential ko eh, may mas maipapakita pa ako na mas magandang performance, lalo na kapag idinagdag ko yung mga experience ko na kagaya nung mga ganung experience.” To help move past the loss, Folayang returned to the gym to help his teammates who were getting ready for their big matches in Tokyo.  Hardly taking any damage in the loss to Alvarez, Folayang was pretty much in shape to get back in action, and a small window of opportunity appeared when it was announced that Alvarez had pulled out.  According to ONE Championship Chairman Chatri Sityodtong, Folayang was the first option to replace Alvarez, but with just around two weeks left before fight night, visa issues prevented the Filipino star from stepping in, opening the door for Lee to do so.  “Siyempre, hindi naman natin alam kung ano yung mangyayari, kasi professional na tayo, kailangan lagi parin tayong handa, although siyempre, yung nasa utak natin talaga ay gusto natin lumaban, kaya nagte-training pa din. So nung sinabi yung late replacement kay Dagi, nag-oo ako, pero unfortunately, hindi talaga siguro time,” Folayang said.  The time for Folayang’s comeback, as it turns out, was the month after.  Facing a relatively unknown opponent in Tsogookhu, Folayang has the chance to get back on track and pick up a solid win, but it could also prove to be a high-risk challenge, as Tsogookhu was impressive in his debut against veteran Shannon Wiratchai.  Folayang says that he fully understands the risk behind the fight, but to be able to get back to the top of the division, he must be able to face risk head on.  “Yun yung maganda sa MMA, the more na naiintindihan mo na it’s high risk, alam mo yun. Kasi kahit sabihin mo na more experienced ka, kung mag-commit ka ng single mistake, kakainin ka eh, so, yun. We are fighters, as much as possible, kung sino man yung mag-sstand dun sa way natin, kailangan natin i-face para makabalik tayo doon sa inaasam natin.”   Catch ONE: MASTERS OF FATE live on Friday, November 8th LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23 on LIVESTREAM via the ABS-CBN Sports Facebook Page and on iWant starting at 8:30 PM. ONE: MASTERS OF FATE will also air on Sunday's Best on November 17th, Sunday, at 11:30 PM with local commentatry from Anton Roxas and Theo Castillo  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 7th, 2019

ONE Championship: Martin Nguyen reigns supreme at ONE: Dawn of Heroes in Manila

2 August 2019 – Manila, Philippines: The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), returned to a packed Mall of Asia Arena in Manila for the biggest martial arts event in Philippine history with ONE: DAWN OF HEROES. Once again, the finest martial arts talent in the world came out to showcase their incredible skills. In the main event, Martin Nguyen retained his ONE Featherweight World Championship with a technical knockout victory over Koyomi Matsushima. In the co-main event, Rodtang Jitmuangnon captured the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship with a unanimous decision victory over Jonathan Haggerty. In the main event, Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen of Australia and Vietnam continued his reign over the featherweight division with a second-round technical knockout victory over Japanese challenger Koyomi “Moushigo” Matsushima to retain the ONE Featherweight World Championship. Matsushima put the pressure on Nguyen early in the opening round with his solid ground game. The champion was able to make the necessary adjustments in the second round, however, as he picked apart a tired Matsushima with a barrage of strikes to get the stoppage win and successfully defend his title for a third time.  In the co-main event, Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon of Thailand dethroned English striking sensation Jonathan “The General” Haggerty via unanimous decision to become the new ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion. Haggerty utilized his length in the early going, using front kicks to keep the challenger at bay. Rodtang picked up steam in the succeeding rounds and managed to drop Haggerty twice. After five rounds of explosive action, it was Rodtang who walked away with the victory and the prestigious ONE World Title.  In the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Semi-finals, Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez of the United States recorded his first victory under the ONE banner with a rear naked choke of former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang of the Philippines. Folayang attacked Alvarez with a blitz of strikes to open the contest and a low kick brought “The Underground King” to the mat. Alvarez, however, was able to sweep Folayang to wind up in mount. From there, Alvarez took Folayang’s back, fished for the submission, and forced the tap. In the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Semi-finals, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson of the United States outlasted Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada of Japan to take home a three-round unanimous decision. After a brief exchange on the feet in the first round, Wada was able to take Johnson to the mat and secure his back. Johnson however defended very well. Action continued in the second round with Johnson dominating the grappling exchanges. In the third and final round, Johnson appeared to have Wada figured out and took control of the bout to cruise to a unanimous decision victory. Filipino flyweight star Danny “The King” Kingad secured his spot in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Finals with a split decision win over Australian Reece “Lightning” McLaren. Kingad survived a number of precarious situations in the first two rounds to rally back in the final round. In the last two minutes of the bout, Kingad dominated a fading McLaren as he was able to land a couple of takedowns and unload some ground-and-pound to swing the decision in his favor. Kingad is now one win away from becoming the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Champion. Muay Thai star Rodlek PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym of Thailand opened the main card in spectacular fashion with a third round knockout victory over Andrew “Maddog Fairtex” Miller of Scotland. Rodlek overcame Miller’s significant height and reach advantage as he outstruck his foe in the first two rounds of action. In the opening minute of the final round, Rodlek dropped Miller with a short right elbow followed by a knee to score the stoppage win. Japanese flyweight Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu captured his first win under the ONE banner in highlight-reel fashion with a first round knockout of former ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio of the Philippines. The heavy-handed Wakamatsu timed his shot, found the opening and unloaded a solid straight right hand that had Eustaquio out before hitting the canvas. Wakamatsu followed up with a few more shots before the referee stepped in to stop the bout. In a lightweight contest, South Korea’s “Crazy Dog” Dae Sung Park overwhelmed former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario of the Philippines over three rounds. Park came out firing powerful combinations and actively pursuing the takedown in the first round. He dropped Banario with a head kick and followed him to the mat for some ground-and-pound nearly finishing the Filipino. Banario survived and came back with a flurry of his own, sending Park reeling towards the ropes. Park rocked Banario again in the third with a high kick, which “The Rock” again recovered well from. In the end, all three ringside judges scored the bout in favor of Park to  win by unanimous decision. Japan’s Daichi Takenaka and Brazil’s Leandro “Brodinho” Issa figured in an epic back-and-forth battle in a bantamweight contest. Takenaka and Issa began the bout testing each other’s grappling skills, with both men taking turns in dominant positions. As the bout wore on however, action shifted to the feet and Takenaka began to pull away with superior striking. After a right hand put Issa down in the third, Takenaka followed up with a plethora of punches on the ground to force the stoppage. American top welterweight contender James “Nako” Nakashima put together a well-rounded performance, defeating Japanese mixed martial arts legend Yushin “Thunder” Okami. Nakashima came out to a fast and aggressive start, taking the action right to Okami in the opening moments of the contest. For three full rounds, Nakashima got the better of Okami in the striking and grappling departments. In the end, all three judges scored the bout in favor of Nakashima to win by unanimous decision. In a featherweight contest, China’s “The Stalker” Xie Bin took on the Philippines’ Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly. However, after an unfortunate halt to the bout in round two, Xie was awarded a technical decision victory over the Filipino. China’s Miao Li Tao was impressive in his return to the ring, defeating Thailand’s Pongsiri “The Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit via unanimous decision. Miao was in control from the get-go as he took Mitsatit down and controlled him on the mat for the majority of the three-round contest. Mitsatit had no answer for Miao’s aggressive and powerful grappling as the Chinese warrior coasted to a convincing decision win. Japanese women’s strawweight contender Ayaka Miura continued to roll in her ONE Championship career, defeating former World Title challenger Samara “Marituba” Santos of Brazil with an Americana submission in the second round. Miura bucked a slow start in the opening round and displayed her superior grappling in the second round by taking Santos down and locking in the Americana in just 39 seconds. Malaysia’s Muhammad “Jungle Cat” Aiman kicked off the action at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES with a unanimous decision victory over Indonesian veteran “The Terminator” Sunoto. Aiman remained a step ahead throughout the three-round bout as he outstruck and outgrappled Sunoto to walk away with the curtain-raising win. Official results for ONE: DAWN OF HEROES ONE Featherweight World Championship bout: Martin Nguyen defeats Koyomi Matsushima by TKO (Strikes) at 4:40 minutes of round 2 ONE Super Series Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship bout: Rodtang Jitmuangnon defeats Jonathan Haggerty by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 5 rounds ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Semi-final bout: Eddie Alvarez defeats Eduard Folayang by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:16 minutes of round 1 ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Semi-final bout: Demetrious Johnson defeats Tatsumitsu Wada by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Semi-final bout: Danny Kingad defeats Reece McLaren by Split Decision (SD) after 3 rounds ONE Super Series Muay Thai Bantamweight bout: Rodlek PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym defeats Andrew Miller by Knockout (KO) at 0:49 minutes of round 3 Mixed Martial Arts Flyweight bout: Yuya Wakamatsu defeats Geje Eustaquio by Knockout (KO) at 1:59 minutes of round 1 Mixed Martial Arts Lightweight bout: Dae Sung Park defeats Honorio Banario by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Bantamweight bout: Daichi Takenaka defeats Leandro Issa by TKO (Strikes) at 1:39 minutes of round 3 Mixed Martial Arts Welterweight bout: James Nakashima defeats Yushin Okami by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Featherweight bout: Xie Bin defeats Edward Kelly by Technical Decision (TD) Mixed Martial Arts Catchweight bout (57.0kg): Miao Li Tao defeats Pongsiri Mitsatit by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Women’s Strawweight bout: Ayaka Miura defeats Samara Santos by Submission (Americana) at 0:39  minutes of round 2 Mixed Martial Arts Bantamweight bout: Muhammad Aiman defeats Sunoto by Unanimous Decision at after 3 rounds.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2019

ONE Championship: I rushed - Eduard Folayang on loss to Eddie Alvarez

Eduard "Landslide" Folayang was seemingly within moments of picking up what could have been one of the biggest wins of his career, Friday night at ONE: Dawn of Heroes in Manila.  The Filipino mixed martial arts hero and two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion was taking on former UFC and Bellator Lightweight World Champion Eddie "The Underground King" Alvarez in a ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix semifinal bout and one of the night's most highly-anticipated bouts.  Early in the round opening round, Folayang landed a vicious right low kick that landed flush on Alvarez's ankle, sending the American to the mat.  As the crowed at the Mall of Asia Arena roared, Folayang pounced on the fallen Alvarez with every intention of ending the bout early.  Folayang landed punch after punch as Alvarez fought to survive and repositioned himself as often as he could to avoid taking damage.  Almost as suddenly as Folayang put Alvarez on his seat, the American was able to grab a hold of the Filipino star's leg and reverse positions, landing inside guard.  Folayang, presumably a bit spent from all the ground and pound, was now the one in survival mode and looked to escape the guard but insted ended up giving his back up.  Now, Alvarez is known for his come-forward brawling style, but "The Underground King" is also a gifted grappler, and he showed that by almost immediately locking in a Rear Naked Choke and forcing Folayang to tap out. All in just two minutes and 16 seconds.  Obviously, it was a bitter pill to swallow for Folayang, who was once again on track for a third world title run, had he emerged victorious.  The 35-year old Baguio City-native admits that he rushed himself to get the stoppage win.  "Yeah, I rushed. I think that’s one of the mistakes I made," Folayang said during the post-fight press conference. "I was not cautious, and I wanted to get up as soon as possible, and I forgot that I’m very vulnerable in that position." Folayang was the last member of Team Lakay to see action that night, and with his loss, the La Trinidad-based stable went 1-4. "I was too so eager to get the finish, and I think that’s the mistake, I became impatient, and I wanted to finish him as soon as possible but it didn’t go that way, so, that happened." Now coming off back-to-back losses, Folayang, as well as the rest of Team Lakay, will need to go back to the drawing board and make the necessary adjustments before their respective returns to action.   Coming off a loss is no longer a foreign feeling for Folayang, who has seen his highest moments come after the lowest of lows.  Before ending the post-fight presser, Folayang grabbed the mic one last time with a parting message for the media in attendance. "I just want to quote what Douglas McArthur said: 'We shall return.'"   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2019

Magsayo stays unbeaten, escapes game vs Hermosillo

MANILA, Philippines — Mark Magsayo maintained his perfect run after overcoming Rigoberto Hermosillo and come away with a split decision victory in their 10-round featherweight bout Sunday (Manila time) at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Hermosillo was a late replacement for Jose Haro, who announced his retirement just weeks before the Premier Boxing Champions card, […] The post Magsayo stays unbeaten, escapes game vs Hermosillo appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 4th, 2020

UFC: Fil-Am Mark Striegl takes on Khabib’s cousin in debut fight

After recovering from COVID-19, Filipino-American Mark Striegl will finally make his UFC debut against Russian foe Said Nurmagedov in their three-round bantamweight clash in October. The post UFC: Fil-Am Mark Striegl takes on Khabib’s cousin in debut fight appeared first on Manila Bulletin......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsSep 11th, 2020

Eduard Folayang: When an underdog finally became a world champion

In the five years that I was with the ABS-CBN Sports website, I was fortunate enough to have covered quite a number of memorable sports moments, so when I was asked to write about which was the most memorable for me, it was tough to narrow it down to just one single coverage. I could have written about Letran’s momentous upset of a dynasty-seeking San Beda in the NCAA Season 91 Finals, or I could have written about the Philippine Azkals making history by clinching a spot in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.  Being an MMA fan, I could have written about getting to be Octagon-side for the UFC’s first and only trip to Manila, which was indeed a dream come true for me.  When I think about it however, the coverage that sticks with me to this day, even four years later, was being cage-side, just inches away from Eduard  “Landslide” Folayang as he pummeled Shinya Aoki to become the ONE Lightweight World Champion in Singapore back in 2016.  I tell people about that night all the time, and I believe I’ll continue to do so for the rest of my life.  A Fan First As I mentioned earlier, I’m an MMA fan. In fact, being a fan was actually how I eventually got into sports writing.  During my first year or so with ABS-CBN, I got wind of a show on Balls Channel entitled “The Takedown” which was, you guessed it, about the UFC. Immediately, I knew that I wanted to be a part of that show, in any capacity. I even offered to research or write for free, LOL.  While I never did get to work on the show (because unfortunately, it lasted only a few episodes), I did get to make some connections (shoutout to Sir Lori, Ms. Jo, and Ms. Anna!) which eventually landed me a gig as a UFC writer for the Balls Channel Website. During that time, I got to meet and interview stars like BJ Penn, Alexander Gustafsson, Urijah Faber, Cung Le, and even Arianny Celeste. For an MMA fan like me, it was like working a dream job. It was a pretty sweet gig.  Eventually, that job with the Balls Channel Website would lead me to a spot on the ABS-CBN Sports Website which was launched in 2015. By 2016, I had started covering Asia-based MMA promotion ONE Championship quite a bit because ABS-CBN had signed a broadcast deal with them, and because ONE had a ton of homegrown Pinoy fighters on their roster, most notably Folayang and the Team Lakay guys.  Folayang, whose contract with ONE expired in March of 2016, re-signed with the promotion and returned to action in August, defeating Adrian Pang by Unanimous Decision in Macau. That win over Pang earned Folayang the biggest bout of his career at that point: a title shot against reigning champion Aoki.  When I learned of that title fight, I was very excited for Folayang, but had little expectations for his chances, being that Aoki was a legend in the sport.  Best Seat in the House Eduard Folayang finally getting to fight for a world championship was a huge deal for Filipino MMA fans, especially those that had followed the Baguio-based star’s career since his days in the URCC. The Pinoy star was on ONE’s first ever event, but could never seem to gain enough momentum to compete for a world title, until that point.  That November night in Singapore, all the years of work sacrifice that Folayang had put in during his nine-year MMA career would finally pay off.  This was only my second time to cover a ONE event overseas, so apart from having to write stories, I also had to take pictures. Learning from my past mistakes, I asked if I could have a spot cage-side so that I could take some at least decent photos. Thankfully, the ONE people agreed and gave me a spot just beside one of the judges’ tables.  I had the best seat in the house.  Now, as I said, I had tapered my expectations for the fight. I had seen what Aoki could do in the cage. I’ve seen the guy break peoples’ bones before, so honestly, I was just hoping that he wouldn’t injure Folayang. Our guy was the underdog heading into this fight, no doubt about it.  Of course, as a Filipino and as a fan I was hoping for a massive upset. The beautiful thing about MMA is anything can happen.  Shock The World This was legitimately the first time that I felt nervous covering a fight. It’s like that feeling you have when your favorite basketball team is in a close game with just seconds left.  That first round was a frigging whirlwind of emotions if you’re a Pinoy MMA fan. It looked like Aoki was within moments of being able to submit Folayang on multiple occasions.  The second round was a little bit more relaxed for Folayang, especially since he had been able to survive Aoki’s opening round grappling blitz. It looked like he was a bit more confident and he started to throw some of his trademark spinning kicks and elbows.  A miscalculated flying knee attempt led to another Aoki takedown, but this time around, Folayang appeared a little more calm and relaxed under the pressure.  Late in the round, Folayang began to attack Aoki’s torso with punches and kicks, and it looked like it had the Japanese legend a bit winded. The tide had shifted.  Heading into the third round, there was a different feeling in the air. It felt like Aoki was done, and it felt like Folayang knew it.  In the opening seconds of that fateful third frame, Folayang knew exactly what Aoki was going to do and had an answer for it. Aoki shot in for a takedown, and Folayang countered it with a jumping knee to the jaw.  For a brief second, Folayang was on his behind, but managed to outmuscle Aoki and deliver another vicious knee.  “Oh sh*t!” I yelled internally while scrambling to take photos of the ensuing beatdown.  Folayang turned Aoki over and began to connect with punch after unanswered punch.  Without taking my eye away from my camera’s viewfinder, I started yelling for Folayang to finish it.  Folayang continued to punish Aoki with piston-like punches as the Singapore Indoor Stadium began to erupt.  For what felt like an eternity, referee Yuji Shimada watched as Folayang unloaded nine years worth of heartbreak and frustration into a ground-and-pound sequence.  And then, it was over.  There was a new lightweight king.  AND NEW! EDUARD FOLAYANG STOPS SHINYA AOKI IN ROUND 3! — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) November 11, 2016     The Landslide Reigns As much as I would have wanted to keep it cool, I started to freak out. I looked to my right and saw my fellow Pinoy journalists doing the same, one was even standing on the table, cheering the new world champion on.  At that point, I had watched UAAP championships, NCAA championships, even some boxing world championships, but this one was different. I knew what Folayang had gone through. I knew that the odds were stacked against him.  As the confetti began to rain down and the celebration inside the ring continued, I recomposed myself and started to take pictures again. I wanted to be able to capture this moment.  After the official decision and the post-fight interview, I remember calling out to Folayang so that I could take a photo of him with his shiny new toy.  I’ve gotten to witness other members of Team Lakay become champions since then. I’ve been blessed enough to see Geje Eustaquio, Kevin Belingon and Joshua Pacio all become titleholders within a single year. While getting to see Team Lakay draped in gold to end 2018 was definitely a sight to behold, being there cage side as ‘Manong Ed’ realized a life-long dream was definitely an experience that I won’t soon forget.  Folayang's title win wasn't Team Lakay's first world champmionship, and it isn't the last. For me however, I think it's the most important, because it showed that no matter how many times you fall, you can still find your way to the top.  Everyone loves a good underdog story.  -- Santino Honasan has served as a sub-section editor for ABS-CBN Sports' website since 2015. He is among thousands of ABS-CBN employees who will be retrenched on August 31, 2020. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2020

Mark Magsayo vs. Jose Haro set for September 23rd in Los Angeles

Undefeated Filipino featherweight Mark "Magnifico" Magsayo's return to the ring this year has been confirmed.  The 25-year old will be making his first walk out to the ring as a member of Manny Pacquiao's MP Promotions stable on Wednesday, September 23rd in Los Angeles, California when he faces American Jose "Pepito" Haro in a ten-round contest.  Both MP Promotions and Magsayo himself posted the bout announcement on their respective social media pages.  Magsayo (20-0, 14 KO), one of the country's most promising prospects, will be looking to gain momentum once again after competing just two times in the last two years or so. Formerly an up-and-coming project of the recently-folded ALA Promotions, Magsayo made a name for himself an an exciting knockout artist with world championship potential.  Following a split with ALA Promotions in 2017, Magsayo was inactive for all of 2018, before returning to the ring twice in 2019.  Earlier this year, the Tagbilaran-native announced his signing with MP Promotions. In July, Magsayo flew to the US to begin training camp.  Facing Magsayo is 33-year old Haro, who owns a 15-1-1 pro record with 8 wins via KO. The Washington native is currently riding a seven-fight winning streak. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 20th, 2020

Fil-Am MMA fighter Mark Striegl to kick-off UFC Fight Night card in Las Vegas

Filipino-American mixed martial artist Mark "Mugen" Striegl will be kicking off the upcoming UFC Fight Night: Munhoz vs. Edgar fight card in the UFC Apex in Las Vegas this coming Saturday, August 22nd (August 23rd, Manila time).  The UFC posted the event's full fight card on their official website, and it shows Striegl in the opening fight of the preliminary card against fellow newcomer Timur Valiev of Russia, confirming earlier reports.  Valiev owns a 16-2 professional record with previous stints in the World Series of Fighting and the Professional Fighters League.  The 32-year old Striegl officially signed his UFC contract last week, calling the jump to the world's biggest MMA organization "a dream come true."  The Baguio-based Striegl owns an 18-2-0, 1 No Contest professional record with stints in the PXC, ONE Championship and the URCC, where he was most recently the promotion's featherweight titleholder.  Striegl owns a submission victory over #7-ranked UFC flyweight contender Kai Kara-France. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 17th, 2020

Fil-Am MMA fighter Mark Striegl officially announces UFC signing

It's official.  The Philippines will once again be represented inside the UFC Octagon after the signing of Filipino-American MMA fighter Mark "Mugen" Streigl.  A day after reports surfaced that Striegl was UFC-bound, he himself confirmed the news on his Instagram account.          View this post on Instagram                   Today I signed with the @ufc! A dream come true. I will be fighting on August 22nd in Las Vegas. Thank you @rubyse! Let’s go! ?????????????? A post shared by Mark "Mugen" Striegl (@markmugen) on Aug 12, 2020 at 11:36pm PDT "Today I signed with the UFC! A dream come true. I will be fighting on August 22nd in Las Vegas," Striegl announced.  The 32-year old Baguio-born Striegl, who had stints with PXC, ONE Championship, and was the URCC's Featherweight Champion, is reportedly set to face fellow newcomer Timur Valiev of Russia on the undercard of UFC Fight Night: Munhoz vs. Edgar at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 22nd (August 23rd in Manila). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 14th, 2020

FIBA: Mighty Jimmy and the shot that introduced Gilas to the World

This story was originally published on Feb. 24, 2019 It’s Saturday night at Mall of Asia and the arena is absolutely rocking. Eternal basketball rivals in the Philippines and South Korea are delivering another classic. Gilas Pilipinas is down to the final minute of regulation against its longtime tormentor in the second of two semifinal games. The national team is up by two, 81-79. The Philippines is hosting the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships where three tickets to the 2014 World Cup are at stake and the winner of this particular game gets one of those tickets. Given the rich history of both teams and what it would mean to the winner, this pivotal game has gone down the wire as everyone pretty much expected. Also knowing the history of both teams in international play, Gilas’ precarious two-point lead was not safe at all. A ghost was lurking in the background and a dreaded curse felt almost inevitable. Down to the final minute of the crucial grudge match between the Philippines and South Korea, guard Jimmy Alapag has the ball and a two-point lead. What he will do will help define not only his career but the legacy of the Gilas name as a national team.   WAKE-UP CALL Even before the Philippines-Korea game, Gilas Pilipinas already had to go through one emotional game early in its homestand for the Asian Championships. In a preliminary round showdown against Chinese Taipei, the Filipinos collapsed in the fourth quarter, allowing the Taiwanese to steal a morale-boosting 84-79 win. In 2013, the relationship between the two countries hit a rough patch over the death of one Taiwanese fisherman. In an updated May 17 report by CNN’s Jethro Mullen, “Taiwan has reacted angrily after one of its fishermen was killed by a Philippine coast guard vessel.” Taiwan had frozen applications from OFWs seeking jobs in its territory and the government of then President Ma Ying-jeou demanded an apology, among other things, from the Philippines. While the national basketball teams of both countries never really had any prior animosity with each other, tension was naturally present as both teams squared off in Group A action. Gilas Pilipinas and Chinese-Taipei both entered the showdown with identical 2-0 records and the winner would take control of solo Group A lead heading into round 2. Taking a good lead into the fourth quarter, the Philippines was outscored by 18 in the last 10 minutes and the national team took its worst home loss in quite some time. “At the time, it was a huge game for us. We understood what was happening in Taipei during that particular time. We really wanted to win for what our kababayans were going through at that time,” guard Jimmy Alapag said on that first home loss in the 2013 Asian Championships. “We didn’t get the job done, and it was tough especially to lose a game like that, it was a very emotional and it was a game that we knew we needed,” he added. The crushing loss meant that the Philippines had little room for error in round 2. While Gilas didn’t have any world beaters lined up in the second round, anything less than a perfect run would have meant an early clash with Asia’s established powerhouse teams in the knockout stages. On the other side of the bracket, defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea were battling for position and were expected to finish in the top-3. That means if Gilas Pilipinas failed to finish no. 1 in its group, the national team would have faced one of those teams in the quarterfinals. Gilas picked up a crucial win over Qatar in the 6th of August and the day after, the Philippines got some help from those same Qataris as they beat Taipei in a close decision. At the end of round 2, all teams finished with identical win-loss records but Gilas Pilipinas would take over first place after all tiebreaks were considered, barely edging out Taipei. The Philippines ended up avoiding defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea and instead got Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals. No. 2 Taipei drew China and the third-running Qataris were matched up with the South Koreans. “I think that was the moment we grew up and grew closer. I think that was the lowest of the lows, just because of the atmosphere and what was going on between both countries. It kind of felt that we let our end of the bargain down, you know what I mean? We’re on our home soil and we didn’t take care of business. I think that was one of those moments where we had to really check ourselves and find a way to make it right,” forward Gabe Norwood said of the Taipei loss. “But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. In tournaments like FIBA-Asia it’s important that you have short-term memory whether it was a win or a loss. We needed to let go of that game and continue to stay the course, keep our focus in the tournament,” Alapag added. On August 7, four days after Gilas lost to Taipei, the rift between the Philippines and Taiwan would reach a resolution and the latter country lifted its freeze hiring and other sanctions on the former. The Philippines also did issue on official apology over the death of the Taiwanese fisherman a couple of months prior and the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila recommended the pressing of homicide charges to erring members of the Philippine Coast Guard.   DARK HISTORY If the word “rival” is to be defined as a, “person or group that tries to defeat or be more successful than another person or group” then sure, the Philippines and South Korea are rivals. Both countries are rivals in the Asian basketball scene and they have been going at it for a very long time. But if the word rival can also mean “equal” or “peer,” is the Philippines really a worthy basketball rival to South Korea? The Philippines’ history with South Korea in terms of basketball is dark. Very dark. Consider the most high-profile matches between the two countries and you’ll see that the Philippine national team is just not at the level of South Korea. Or at the very least, Koreans always seem to reach 120 percent of their potential when they play Filipinos and we barely bring out 80 percent of our abilities when matched up against our East Asian neighbors. The 1998 PBA Centennial team, arguably the greatest Philippine team ever assembled, was demolished by South Korea in the Asian Games. A national team set up for gold only settled for bronze. Speaking of a bronze medal game, the original Gilas Pilipinas team lost a podium finish to South Korea in the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships. That team squandered a double-digit lead and collapsed late. Of course, who can forget the semifinals of the 2002 Asian Games in Busan when Olsen Racela had the chance to put the Philippines up four but missed two free throws. South Korea would win with a booming triple at the buzzer off a broken play and would later take down China to capture the gold medal. South Korea is the Philippines’ basketball nemesis for all intents and purposes. A worthy adversary that always seem to emerge victorious at our expense. Still, all that previous disappointment didn’t seem to bother Gilas Pilipinas six years ago. The team was not scared and instead, they were excited even. One factor to greatly consider was that fact that the game was in Manila. It makes all the difference to play at home. “We understood the bad history that we had with Korea. We haven’t been very successful with them in quite some time but we knew from Day 1 that if ever we got an opportunity to play them at home, then we have a great chance,” Alapag said. “Man, pre-game, it was just the focus. Everybody was up for the challenge, I don’t think anybody was really nervous, I think it was just the anxiety... we wanted to get out there and do it already,” Norwood added. Playing at home had its perks for sure, but it also had its drawbacks. For all the painful losses the Philippines suffered at the hands of South Korea, it would have been devastating if Gilas actually took a beating in Manila. Stakes were extra high in this particular chapter of this long, ongoing saga. “There was always pressure, it was something that we acknowledged early. Playing at home, it’s great having that support but at the same time, there is some added pressure because you wanna make sure that you make our home crowd proud of the team that they watch and ultimately, win games,” Alapag said, making sure to note that the national team knew of the disadvantages of playing at home even before the Korea game. “It was there but it was something that we acknowledged and we wanted to make sure that we took advantage of the opportunity playing at home,” he added.   ALL FILIPINO, ALL HEART Once it was go time, the Philippines-South Korea game went about pretty normal, as you would expect any game from these two national teams. But even before halftime, an injury to Gilas center Marcus Douthit changed the complexion of the semifinals showdown. All of a sudden, the Philippines was without its anchor, without its best player. Sure, there were players on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace Douthit’s size but there was simply no one on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace his talent, production, and just overall presence. June Mar Fajardo was in that Gilas bench but it 2013, the would-be five-time PBA Most Valuable Player was just not at that level yet. It would have been easy for Gilas Pilipinas to fold like cheap furniture and succumb to the overwhelming pressure of trying to overcome South Korea to reach a stage very few Filipinos have reached before. Gilas didn’t fold and instead, the Douthit injury rallied the team even further. “Alam mo sa totoo lang, puso na lang yun eh. Nung nawala si Marcus talaga, sabi ni coach kailangan doble kayod tayo. Dahil sobrang dehado tayo kumbaga, wala na tayong import, wala tayong malaki,” forward Marc Pingris said. With Douthit gone, Ping ate up all of his minutes and worked by committee with guys like Ranidel De Ocampo and Japeth Aguilar to fill in the gaps. “As a player naman, kami nagusap-usap kami na kahit anong mangyari, lalaban kami. Yung time na yun, talagang patay kung patay,” Ping added. Despite losing its best player to an untimely injury, Gilas Pilipinas’ confidence in winning never wavered. With their collective backs against the wall, the Philippine national team played even better. Unlike the later iterations of Gilas Pilipinas, the 2013 team, aptly called Gilas 2.0, had the luxury of having actual preparation before the FIBA-Asia Championships. The amount of work that came before the tournament and the Korea game, the bond built over countless hours of training, all of that helped the national team avoid a monumental meltdown in front of a rabid Manila crowd. “We were such a close-knit team in terms of our chemistry, in terms of the talent that we had, so we felt confident even when Marcus went down early in the game. If you looked at our huddle, you had 11 more very confident guys, not just in themselves but more importantly, in each other,” Alapag said. “That just boiled down to the chemistry that we had. I don’t think any of us panicked, we were all confident in each other. We’ve all been into that situation with our PBA teams, having the ball in our hands and making a play. Knowing that we had five weapons on the floor that could make the winning play, I think it made us very confident and we were able to sustain our composure,” the former Gilas captain added.   THE GHOST AND ITS CURSE Shin Dong Pa, Hur Jae, Lee Sang-min, Oh Se-Keun, TJ Moon, and Cho Sung-min are just some players from the South Korean national team that inflicted incredible damage to the Philippines over the course of decades. The dreaded Ghost of South Korea takes form in these players and its curse is to give Filipinos the most heart-crushing loss possible. In 2013, the Ghost was Kim Min-goo and his curse was to beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Despite losing Marcus Douthit and trailing by three points at the break, the Philippines started to turn the tables in the second half. Gilas Pilipinas unleashed Jayson Castro and the Blur led a blazing offense in the third quarter, finding a way to take a 10-point lead over South Korea, the Philippines’ largest of the night. But as the dust settled and Gilas holding a 65-56 lead entering the final period, an ominous figure would make his presence felt. The Korean Ghost has arrived and his name was Kim Min-goo. His curse? Beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Kim was 22 and a senior in college when he made the South Korean national basketball team as a backup shooter in 2013. In nine games in Manila, Kim would play well enough to make the tournament’s All-Star team, averaging 12.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. He led Asian Championships with 25 three-point field goals, 10 came in the last two games and five came against Gilas Pilipinas. Kim drilled back-to-back triples to open the fourth quarter against the Philippines. Later, his fifth triple — a four-point play at that — pushed the Koreans to within a point, 72-73. South Korea would take over soon after as Lee Seung-jun dunked the basketball on a fastbreak. The Ghost has arrived and his curse is in effect. “Ako pumasok sa isip ko yun nung lumamang Korea, na putek ito na naman,” Pingris said. “Pero ang sabi ko, sayang yung opportunity, kaya naman eh. So sabi ni Jimmy samin, no matter what happens wag kami gi-give up. Pinaghirapan natin to at may goal tayo, this year aalis tayo,” he added, noting the team’s goal to get into Spain and compete with the world’s best national teams. Faced with the possibility of dealing with a devastating defeat, Gilas had enough mental fortitude to keep things going. Trust your system, trust your preparation, trust your crowd, trust your teammates, and more importantly, trust yourselves. “You’re never out of the game if you’re playing at home,” Norwood said as they stared a deficit late against their destined rivals. “I think that was our mindset, keep it close and just find a way,” he added. Jimmy Alapag found a way.   BORN READY Down 73-75, Jimmy Alapag was under heavy duress when he let go of a three-pointer from the left wing just in front of his bench. It was good to go. The Philippines was back on top by one as Alapag somehow managed to get his team to snap out of an initial shock following Korea’s strong fourth-quarter rally. The stage is now set for a wild finish and Jimmy will star in the final act of what has been an incredible show by Gilas and South Korea. “In situations like that, as an athlete and as a pro, that’s the situations that you dream about,” Alapag said.  “Those are shots that you practice when you were a kid. When the shot clock is winding down, to have an opportunity to knock down a shot. It’s a shot that I practiced thousands of times,” he added. After the Philippines and South Korea traded baskets for the lead, Alapag made perhaps the most underrated play in this crazy and emotional encounter between two basketball rivals. Tasked with inbounding the ball just near underneath his own basket, Alapag found his Talk ‘N Text teammate Ranidel De Ocampo for an open look at three. Swish. Gilas leads, 81-77, with 91 seconds to go. “Ranidel was my favorite target for a very, very long time in my career,” Alapag said on the play that most people probably don’t even remember. “Once I saw that he got open, I wanted to make sure that I gave him as great a pass as possible and Ranidel has been known for a long time to take care of the rest,” he added.   THE EXORCIST “Yeah, I was right under the basket,” Gabe Norwood says with a laugh when asked if he remembers the shot that changed the course of Gilas Pilipinas as a national team. Late in the fourth quarter of what was essentially a heavyweight bout, the Philippines just landed two strong haymakers but South Korea would refuse to go down without a fight, beating the count of 10 each time. Down to the final minute of a crucial grudge match with a World Cup berth on the line, Jimmy Alapag had his hands on the basketball as Gilas would go to its halfcourt set. Jimmy will never let go of said basketball. Up two, Jimmy did what Olsen wished he could 11 years prior. Up two against South Korea in a pivotal semifinal game, Alapag received a screen from Marc Pingris, which was enough to momentarily shake off Kim Tae-sul. With some room, Alapag drifted to his left and let a three-point shot fly. Boom. Gilas leads, 84-79, with 54 seconds to go. The shot would later be remembered as the one that ended the Korean Curse, the one that finally exorcised the Ghost. “The first thought that came to my mind was don’t miss,” Jimmy said of the clutch jumper. “That last one, Ping sets a good screen and I got a clean look. It’s a shot that myself, and Jayson [Castro], and Larry [Fonacier], and Gary [David], and Jeff [Chan], all of us, we practice that shot time and time again after practice. So you know, it was a shot that I was confident in but in that moment, all you’re thinking about was don’t miss,” he added. It’s one thing to be confident in yourself and to be confidednt in your preparation. It’s a different thing to actually perform under such pressure. As soon as Alapag managed to shoot his shot, Gabe Norwood did what any other good teammate would do and got in position to get the offensive rebound. You know, just in case. Gabe got the ball alright, but he got it after it swished through the rim. “When he put the shot up, I tried to crash for the rebound but I basically knew that it was going in,” he said. “I had probably the best view, I was right under the basket. I think caught it after it went through too,” Norwood added. Alapag checked out moments later as the Philippines went to its defensive lineup in order to stop another Korean comeback. South Korea turned to its most effective shooter in Kim and as he rose up to try and answer Alapag’s triple, Norwood met him at the apex for the game’s most dramatic stop. Gabe blocked Kim and Gilas would finish things off with a final Marc Pingris basket on the other end. A historic 86-79 win was complete. “I still get chills thinking about it, to look up and see grown men just breaking down. My wife was trying to hold my kids and she was holding back tears. It was just an awesome moment, the bond that we had on that team, the stuff that we did to get prepare, I think we poured it all out in that game,” Norwood said on the monumental victory. “I think it probably didn’t hit me until the final buzzer sounded. Not just for me but for the entire team, when that final buzzer sounded, it was such a special group of guys and the fact that we could share that moment with not just with each other but the entire country, it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Alapag added, savoring the moment of a Philippine win over Korea 28 years in the making.   THE INTRODUCTION Gilas Pilipinas would lose to Iran the next day in the Finals of the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships. The Philippines put up a fight but Hamed Haddadi would prove to be too powerful to stop. It would take another two years for Gilas to beat Iran but that didn’t really matter in the moment. The Philippines is headed to the World Championships for the first time in three decades. The Philippines has beaten South Korea and one singular shot has allowed the Gilas name to be known around the world. Jimmy wouldn’t say that though. At least not directly in that way. “For me, that shot was the biggest for my career. But really, it was our entire team. We’ve gone through so much and that was just one particular play that really culminated the entire game and all the contributions from other guys from Gabe’s defense, to Ping’s rebounding, to Japeth’s rim protecting, to Jayson and LA doing a lot of the legwork,” Alapag said. “Everybody had their part in contribution to the game. After the shot, after the buzzer sounded, it was just a very special moment for us as a team and for Philippine basketball to show that all of the sacrifices, all of the hard work, now it’s given an opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to the world,” he added. Jimmy wouldn’t say it, but his teammates would. That shot of his that beat South Korea in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships introduced the Gilas name to the world. It announced that the Philippines has finally arrived. Gilas’ breakthrough overtime win a year later in Spain against Senegal — a game Jimmy pretty much decided late as well — made it known that Filipinos are here to stay on the World stage. “I would say so, it got us to where we wanted to be in the World Cup. I think we shocked some people there as well. But just the work that went in, I think it showed the country that we can get back to where we want to be as long as you work together,” Norwood said. “Yung puso ni Jimmy, grabe naman. Makikita mo maliit pero gusto lang niya talaga manalo. Ang liit pero parang lion pag nagalit eh, nandoon yung tiwala namin sa kanya. Ano pa ba masasabi mo, Jimmy is Jimmy Alapag,” Pingris would add.   [NOTES: At the time of original publishing, Gilas Pilipinas was fighting to make a return trip to the FIBA World Cup, this time in China in 2019. To secure its slot, the the Philippine national team needed to beat Kazakhstan in Astana plus a loss from Japan, Jordan, and/or Lebanon. One of the teams that can help Gilas is South Korea... ironically. Jimmy Alapag retired from national team play in 2014 and retired playing for good in 2016. He has since made himself a champion basketball coach in the ABL. Marc Pingris suffered an ACL injury in 2018 and is in the process of returning for his PBA team in the current 2019 season. Gabe Norwood is still in Gilas. He’s still an effective two-way weapon. He can still dunk and will stop your best player too.]   [Updated Notes: The Philippines beat Kazakhstan to make the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. Gilas got help from... South Korea. The Koreans beat Lebanon on the road, allowing Gilas to advance to the World Championships outright with a victory over Kazakhstan.]   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2020

Coach Tab calls Philippines the Mecca of basketball

Tab Baldwin has been in the Philippines for five years now. First brought here to coach Gilas Pilipinas, the brilliant tactician has since assembled a juggernaut in Ateneo de Manila University which has won the past three championships in the UAAP. It didn't take long for Coach Tab to fall in love with the Philippines and, of course, that was all because of Philippine basketball. "I love the Philippines and I think one of the most endearing aspects of the Philippines is this is a basketball paradise. Everywhere you look there are players, there are teams, there are competitions, there are fans, there are facilities," he said in the inaugural episode of Coaches Unfiltered. "I can tell you from the countries that I've been that much of what I've said isn't there, never is all of it there. That includes the US." The American-Kiwi had been around in the international basketball circuit and his most successful stint prior to the Philippines was in New Zealand. For him, though, the Filipino homeland is something special. "This, to me, is the Mecca of basketball," he said. And for him, the fact that Filipinos are not necessarily built for basketball makes all of this more special. As he put it, "You may say we don't have the greatest players in the world and that's true. Demographically, we are challenged with our size, but that doesn't really impact the passion for the game, the love for the game." That fire and desire, first and foremost, the reason why Coach Tab views the Philippines as the center of basketball. "When you put on top of that that this is one of the most hospitable countries in the planet with one of the kindest, gentlest, and friendliest populations, I start to ask myself where else would I wanna be and there aren't too many answers to that questions," he said. Does that mean that he will retire here - just like Tim Cone, Norman Black, and Alex Compton did? "Retirement? Why not," he said. "And if then, I can still continue being part of the basketball community to help coaches, to help young players, even if they have to push me around in a wheelchair, why not?" Of course, nothing is set in stone. What is for sure, however, is that Tab Baldwin loves Philippine basketball and will only continue to do so. "I love this country. I love the basketball landscape here even with its flaws and I hope to be a part of helping better every aspect of it because I know (Philippine basketball) has done so much to better my life," he shared. He then continued, "I think I can show my appreciation for that in no better way than to submit myself to what is good for Philippine basketball." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 8th, 2020

UFC President Dana White on Manny Pacquiao vs. Conor McGregor rumours: “I don’t care about any of that s**t”

Back in 2017, Irish MMA star Conor McGregor faced undefeated American boxing star Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a big-money superfight, arguably the biggest combat sports event of that year.  McGregor was, at the time, at an all-time high in his UFC career and was coming off a demolition of Eddie Alvarez to become the UFC’s first simultaneous two-division UFC champion.  Looking for even bigger paydays and an even bigger spot in the limelight, McGregor set his sights on Mayweather Jr, and the two ultimately agreed to a 12-round boxing bout.  During the lead-up to the bout, one of the people actively promoting the event was none other than UFC president Dana White. McGregor was the UFC’s biggest star at the time, and his superfight with Mayweather Jr. definitely helped draw eyes onto the world’s largest MMA promotion.  Three years later, McGregor is once again the topic of conversation after some mysterious tweets.  The Irish superstar tweeted the Filipino phrase “Tinatanggap ko”, which means “I accept” in english. Many believe that it’s a not-so-subtle dig at Filipino boxing star and eight-division boxing world champion Manny Pacquiao.  This comes after McGregor and Pacquiao already had an interesting exchange on Twitter a few weeks back.  It looks like “The Notorious” is once again angling for a big-money boxing bout against one of the world’s best. The difference now however, is that he’s retired from the UFC.  Which is why when White was asked about the McGregor-Pacquiao rumours, he had a simple answer: “I don’t care about any of that s**t.”  White’s response is understandable, given that McGregor, who last fought in the UFC in January, defeating Donald Cerrone in just 40 seconds, is supposedly no longer connected to the North American mixed martial arts giant.  Should the Pacquiao-McGregor fight actually come to fruition however, would White remain as unconcerned as he is now? .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2020

Mikey Garcia confident he can give Manny Pacquiao problems inside the ring

Four-division world champion Mikey Garcia is confident that he can give Filipino boxing star and eight-division world champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao problems inside the ring, if they do get matched up.  Garcia has long been a name linked to Pacquiao as a possible opponent, and while the American top contender understands the magnitude of a possible Pacquiao versus Terence Crawford bout, he still would like to have the opportunity to share the ring with Pinoy boxing icon.  Garcia is coming off a decision win over former world champion Jessie Vargas, bouncing back from his first and only career loss to IBF Welterweight World Champion Errol Spence Jr. back in March of 2019.  The 32-year old sees a potential Pacquiao bout as a better matchup for him, given physical differences compared to Spence.  "He doesn’t have the height and reach advantage like Errol, so I think that makes it a better fight for me,” Garcia told Fox Sports (via BoxingScene.com). “I know he’s going to engage and I know he’s going to fight hard. He’s a great fighter. He's a living legend, and I would love to add that to my resume.” Much like most fighters today, Garcia sees facing the legendary Pacquiao as a way to boost their legacy, apart from the challenge of course.  “Fighting the great Manny Pacquiao would be tremendous for my legacy," said Garcia.  At 41 years old, it’s hard to claim that Pacquiao is still in his peak, but what he did prove was that he was still one of the best in the world, as evidenced by his performances against Adrien Broner and Keith Thurman in 2019.  Those two wins, especially the one against Thurman, has made Pacquiao a coveted bout for the welterweight division’s best.  Garcia, who’s undoubtedly one of the division’s top contenders, believes that he can defeat Pacquiao, who’s the reigning WBA (Super) Welterweight World Champion.  "If I'm capable of securing a victory over him and that definitely adds to what I want to accomplish with my legacy and those big triumphs. I’m excited if we can get that fight, that would be the best fight,” Garcia stated.  “I know there are other opportunities for him, there's other options that you mentioned like Keith Thurman, maybe Errol Spence or Danny Garcia. I'm sure all of these are big fights for Manny, but I would love the opportunity as well. It's a great fight, the fanbase would love that. I have a lot of fans and he’s obviously the biggest draw,” Garcia added.  While Pacquiao is among those seriously being discussed for Crawford’s return later this year, a bout against Garcia still isn’t out of the realm of possibility, and Garcia says that if he does get the fight, he won’t squander the opportunity to do something big.  "So I think it would be a great fight. If I get that, I’m definitely taking care of business and I'm not gonna let this pass me by. I hope we secure that and look forward to it,” Garcia said, even comparing himself to a former Pacquiao rival in Juan Manuel Marquez. “I can fight really well. I feel that my boxing style can complicate things a lot for him similar to the way Marquez complicated things for Manny in all those fights." .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 1st, 2020