ONE FC 9: Rise To Power This May 31, 2013!
When In Manila sat down with Asian MMA stars Eduard Folayang, Honorio Banario, and Kevin Belingon as they are set to compete in ONE FC 9: Rise To Power this May 31 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
This is ONE FC’s second show, the first one held last year with a close to sold-out Smart Araneta Coliseum witnessing by far the best MMA event to grace our MMA-crazed country. If you’re not familiar with ONE FC, here’s a sort of primer on why it’s such a big thing: What Makes ONE FC One of the Best Promotions in the World?
Honorio Banario became the first ONE FC featherweight champion when he turned in a four-round TKO performance against fellow Filipino Eric Kelly. He is set to face Koji Oishi, a grappler who loves to take his opponents to the ground for a decision victory. According to Banario, he plans on using his height and reach advantage to keep the fight standing and he promises to look for the KO whenever the opportunity comes.
Perhaps more news-worthy was new ONE FC lightweight champ Shinya Aoki‘s statement that he plans on dropping to featherweight after his fight with Kotetsu Boku, which he won in convincing manner. Aoki is considered as Asia’s top lightweight and the thought of him dropping down to featherweight is just scary! When asked of this, Banario seems to welcome the thought of facing Aoki. “I see it as a challenge that he wants to come down to my weight class and test my abilities. I’m planning to hold on to this belt for a very long time.”
Kevin Belingon beat two tough bantamweights en route to his destined showdown with Masakatsu Ueda in the ONE FC Bantamweight Grand Prix finals. Belingon is a striker with blistering speed while Ueda is a grappling tactician who takes his time grinding his opponents on the ground, waiting to capitalize on any mistake from the other person.
When asked of his strategy for Ueda, Belingon replied, “I plan to keep the fight standing. I worked hard on my takedown defense, and I’ll punish him with knees if he tries [to take me down]. But I am confident I can defend myself when the fight goes to the ground.” The two losses on Belingon‘s record were both battles that ended on the ground. The first was when leglock specialist Masakazu Imanari lured Belingon into a 50/50 trap that ended with the Filipino grimacing in pain as he tapped. His second loss was to ONE FC bantamweight champ Soo Chul Kim who took him down again and again to eke out a unanimous decision victory.
So what has changed for Belingon to have such confidence? “There was a grappling competition here in Manila. Everyone was bigger than me, but I took home the gold. That gave me confidence that I can handle myself on the ground.” Whether or not Belingon actually tests himself on the ground against Ueda remains to be seen in ONE FC 9. Personally, I’d rather him implement his stand-up game to perfection and take home the bacon – and the Grand Prix belt!
Eduard Folayang‘s last outing in the ONE FC was a three-round war of attrition against the always game Swiss-Japanese Felipe Enomoto. After winning that match, ONE FC promised Folayang a shot at the inaugural ONE FC lightweight championship. Then, weird things happened. Evolve MMA‘s Zorobabel Moreria ended up fighting newly signed Shooto veteran Kotetsu Boku, the latter conking the Brazilian’s consciousness out with a huge right winger to win the inaugural title. (To read the full story, click on this link: Eduard Folayang and the Road Back to the ONE FC Championship.)
Folayang returns to the ONE FC cage against UFC veteran Kamal Shalorus, who is a powerful wrestler with serious all-around game. As part of his journey back to title contention, Folayang went to Las Vegas to train under celebrated BJJ world champion Robert Drysdale. “I worked hard on my offensive and defensive ground game. I think all in all, I learned how to defend myself in different positions and understand what my opponent will do next [on the ground]. It allows me to adjust and work some form of offense from the back. I have confidence that whatever happened last time will not happen again.” Folayang, of course, is talking about his last opponent Lowen Tynanes – someone he wouldn’t mind meeting inside the cage again. “I learned a lot about him and about myself in our last fight, and I am hoping to use those when we face again.”
When In Manila, ONE FC 9: Rise To Power is five days away! Get your tickets exclusively from Casino Filipino. Visit www.onefc.com for more details.
ONE FC 9: Rise To Power
31 May 2013 – SM Mall of Asia Arena
Honorio Banario (C) vs Koji Oishi (Featherweight Championship)
Bibiano Fernandes vs Koetsu Okazaki (Interim Bantamweight Championship)
Kevin Belingon vs Masakatsu Ueda (Bantamweight Grand Prix Finals)
Rey Docyogen vs Yasuhiro Urushitani
Phil Baroni vs Nobutatsu Suzuki
Eduard Folayang vs Kamal Shalorus
Geje Eustaquio vs Andrew Leone
Felipe Enomoto vs Lowen Tynanes
Tony Johnson Jr. vs Tim Sylvia
Ryan Diaz vs Yusup Saadulaev
ONE FC 9: Team Lakay’s Folayang, Banario, and Belingon on Their Place in Asian MMA