ONE FC 5: Pride of a Nation Happening This August 31, 2012!
When In Manila, the news of ONE FC’s biggest event as of date happening at the Smart Araneta Coliseum this August 31 has made many Filipino MMA fans cringe with excitement since its announcement a few months back. ONE FC announced their arrival in grand fashion last July 18 with the ONE FC 5 press conference, where various media outlets gobbled down the news and spat it across the networks, broadsheets, tabloids, and the internet like it was hot potato. Bringing along Dream superstars Shinya Aoki and Bibiano Fernandes, former UFC heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski, and CFC Australia bantamweight champ Gustavo Falciroli, ONE FC CEO Victor Cui made a bold statement about what he expects from the August 31 event: fireworks and a sold-out arena!
What makes ONE FC such an exciting promotion? And why should the casual, UFC-acquainted fight fan care about ONE FC and its events?
The Genius in Creating the ONE FC Network
In the underground MMA circles, ONE FC has oft been compared to the late Pride FC (all hail that once glorious entity!). Perhaps, because ever since Zuffa bought Pride and unflinchingly folded up the promotion, no other MMA promotion was able to compete against the UFC in terms of roster depth and production quality. Since Pride, most promotions have been operating in a specific country, with the fighters predominantly from that country, and the broadcast limited to the internet if not a local TV network. As a result, once the UFC notices a fighter from any other organization, the local promotion cannot compete against the more prestigious, more lucrative deal the UFC would offer.
Then came ONE FC.
Establishing a network of Asian-based promotions and signing an unprecedented 10-year partnership with sports cable TV giant ESPN Star, Victor Cui and ONE FC showed a lot of cajones when they introduced an impressive roster consisting of Asian MMA champions and world-class martial artists for their first event last year dubbed “Champion vs. Champion”. The theme of “Champion vs. Champion” continued beyond ONE FC’s first event, and Victor did not stop adding more names – big ones – to ONE FC’s roster, cutting across seven weight classes (flyweight to heavyweight), with the most talent arguably in the lighter weight divisions.
With over a decade’s experience in sports entertainment, ONE FC CEO Victor Cui knows what he’s doing.
ONE FC is revolutionary because unlike other promotions that either eat or are eaten up by other promotions, the ONE FC network provides an opportunity for local promotions and MMA teams to showcase their best talents in the international stage. It’s a no-brainer: If most of your fighters are winning in ONE FC, what does that say of the quality of the local promotion they’re representing? Choosing to cooperate in partnerships with other Asian promotions, ONE FC‘s strategy is now paying off. Local promotions are not threatened to send their best to compete in ONE FC. As a result, most of the fighters in ONE FC‘s roster are seasoned martial artists if not champions of local MMA promotions.
When the UFC started, the concept was for martial artists from different backgrounds to compete and see which discipline would come out on top. ONE FC promises to face champion against champion to see which MMA promotion or team has the best fighters.
Champion vs. Champion, you say? DREAM lightweight champion Shinya Aoki (photo: attempting a flying armbar submission against Fedor Emelianenko) will be competing under ONE FC for the first time in “Pride of a Nation”.
The ONE FC Cage: A Modern-Day Lion’s Den
As the UFC grows bigger and becomes better at what they do, so should other promotions up their game if they wish to have a piece of the growing MMA fandom pie. In the case of ONE FC, Victor Cui employs a on-holds-barred approach in matching up fighters, setting aside hype train mechanisms and foregoing the idea of building up fighters, as is the common criticism in the UFC. In ONE FC, fighters – whatever their standing records – are thrown into the lion’s den.
Take for example national pride Eduard Folayang. Cui intended a bout between Folayang and dangerous striker Ole Laursen in the very first event of ONE FC. With Ole injured, Folayang won a unanimous decision over HEAT FC champ A Sol Kwon. In ONE FC 3, the two Filipinos finally faced each other, leading to an all-out war and a split decision that left everyone hanging and wanting more. And in ONE FC 5: Pride of a Nation, Folayang will face Felipe Enomoto, someone who holds a win over Laursen via head kick!
Let’s put it this way: Folayang lost to Laursen, who lost to Enomoto. Now Folayang is set to face Enomoto, the vanquisher of his vanquisher. Does that sound anything like a pick-up fight? Enomoto isn’t getting a shortcut either. After being submitted by Zorobabel Moreira (AKA “the guy who soccer-kicked Roger Huerta” – making an Aoki-Huerta match-up not as palatable as it originally was), he now faces a tireless lion in Folayang, hungry to get back to his winning ways.
URCC champions Eric Kelly and Eduard Folayang. Pretty sure Folayang will have his game face on as he faces Felipe Enomoto in ONE FC 5: Pride of a Nation.
And let’s not forget about DREAM superstar Bibiano Fernandes, whose decision to fight for ONE FC instead of the UFC was a huge middle finger to the Big Man. He will be welcomed by CFC bantamweight champion Gustavo Falciroli, who himself was eyed for TUF but problems with citizenship papers did not permit him to join. Compare that to the warm-up fight Quinton Jackson enjoyed over Marvin Eastman when he joined the UFC! With four events in the books and two events coming up, having the resources to pull off stacked fight cards with exciting matches one after the other is one of the many things Victor has going for him.
In ONE FC, the fighters’ pretty, even unblemished records are always in danger of being tainted with losses – glorious losses nonetheless. No pretty boys allowed.
DREAM bantamweight champ Bibiano Fernandes. Talent, hard work, and cauliflower ears will earn you MMA glory.
I’m not asking anyone to jump off the UFC bandwagon and hop onto ONE FC instead. Far from it, I think having both ONE FC and the UFC (and in the same way our local promotions URCC and PXC) coexist benefits the continued growth of the region’s MMA culture. With an impressively deep lightweight division (the deepest division under the promotion) as well as good bantamweight and welterweight rosters, ONE FC challenges the notion that the best in the world can only be found in the Western mainstream MMA promotions.
When In Manila, all roads lead to the Big Dome on August 31 as ONE FC 5: Pride of a Nation brings champions, Gracies, and the best martial artists together for the biggest MMA event in our country thus far. For ticketing details, click here to view our previous post on the ONE FC 5 press conference.