It’s no secret that Filipinos have established good showings in Mixed Martial Arts contests throughout Asia. In fact, some of the region’s most compelling fighters hail from the Philippines.
It was setbacks galore for the country’s combatants, however, as they went 0-5 in May’s ONE FC 9: Rise to Power. The lack of grappling prowess and takedown defense were flushed upon the fighters following the conclusion of the event, as they stumbled heavily in front of their own home audience.
But if there’s one thing you can’t snatch away from the Filipinos, it’s their pride. Or, their willingness to rebound from adversity. And on December 6, ONE Fighting Championship will offer them the chance to do just that.
A blockbuster announcement was made earlier this week with regards to the said year-end event, titled “Moment of Truth”, which will feature the likes of Eduard Folayang, Honorio Banario and Geje Eustaquio among others as they look for redemption on home soil.
Filipino fighters will look to rebound at ONE FC 13: Moment of Truth
Banario will be looking to reclaim the very belt he lost in May, when he locks horns with champ Koji Oishi in the main event. The 24-year-old suffered a shock knockout blow against Oishi in the second stanza of their first meeting, a moment that silenced the crowd that were in attendance that night. But it wasn’t actually all doom and gloom for the Filipino. Banario came close to a finish himself, in the first round, after landing a barrage of strikes that dropped his Japanese counterpart.
As we edge closer to December 6, it’s going to be a whole new ballgame for Banario. The Team Lakay native will not only be fighting for redemption for both pride and country this time around, but also for his championship belt that he was fancied to retain on May 31.
It was perhaps back to the drawing board for Eduard Folayang when he was decisioned by former UFC & WEC vet Kamal Shalorus at ONE FC 9: Rise to Power. On a 2-fight losing skid, the reigning URCC 170-lbs champ holds notable victories over Vuyisile Colossa, A Sol Kwon and Felipe Enomoto, and has long been considered as Philippines’ best MMA fighter. As with his Team Lakay natives, the 28-year-old boasts a substantial stand-up game with Wushu, but his weaknesses on the canvas were sought after by Shalorus in their ONE FC tilt .
The same could be said of Geje Eustaquio, who was simply out-grappled in the mat department for fifteen minutes by Phuket Top Team’s Andrew Leone. Despite displaying some great submission defense, the American took down Eustaquio at will en route to a Unanimous Decision. Things will not get any easier for Eustaquio on December 6, as he welcomes undefeated PXC vet Eugene Toquero (4-0) to the ONE FC banner.
Fans, though, can now look forward to some renewed aggression from Folayang and Eustaquio with Team Lakay engaging the services of former Iranian national team wrestler Ali Heydarabadi. Heydarabadi has been brought in to help the fighters on their ground game, as they embark and improve in their journeys as Mixed Martial Artists.
But rest assured, history will be made on the night when ONE FC showcases its first female Filipino fighter on the fight card. A former WBC Asian Atomweight Women’s champ, Jujeath Nagaowa will be making her professional MMA debut following her transition from Boxing.
A re-match between Cambodia’s Khim Dima and multi-time Wushu champ Rene Catalan has been rumored for the event as well. It was an original TKO victory for Dima, however, replays showed that the Cambodian landed multiple strikes to the back of Catalan’s head, prompting officials to change the outcome to a no-contest.
CEO of ONE Fighting Championship Victor Cui stated, “We are coming back to Manila to put on one of the greatest fight cards in Asian MMA history. We know that the fans have been eagerly hoping for a rematch between ONE FC World Champion Koji Oishi and Honorio Banario and we are delivering what they want. This is a must see rematch for every MMA fan on the planet. Also, we are bringing in international and national stars. Eduard Folayang and Geje Eustaquio will be on the stacked fight card. Plus, the fierce MMA darling of the Philippines, Jujeath Nagaowa, will make her ONE FC debut in front of thousands of screaming home fans. We are putting together a fight card that will blow away the thousands of passionate Filipino fans in attendance and the millions watching live around the world are set for another evening of world-class MMA action featuring the best in Asia.”
That unforgettable night on May 31 will still be on the minds of many passionate Filipino MMA fans, as they bore the agony of watching their native fighters suffer defeats. As aptly named “Moment of Truth”, on December 6, the world will see if the Filipinos can indeed get some redemption for themselves.
ONE FC 13: Moment of Truth takes place December 6 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines. Following free prelims on YouTube, fans can catch all the main card action on either Star Sports or http://www.onefc.livesport.tv/.
Here’s the current line-up:
- Koji Oishi vs. Honorio Banario (For ONE FC Featherweight Championship belt)
- Eduard Folayang vs. TBA
- Geje Eustaquio vs. Eugene Toquero
- Jujeath Nagaowa vs. TBA