ONE FC 5: Just one week away!
When in the US and fight fans just learned that the entire UFC 151 event will be scrapped because Dan Henderson (We believe, Dan!) injured his knee and Jon Jones refused to fight against a VERY late replacement in Chael Sonnen, a much anticipated fight week just got blown to smithereens.
With a fight card that banked on its main event, no wonder UFC 151 got scrapped after Jones rejected a late replacement!
When In Manila, however, fight week is far from over. In fact, UFC 151 would have only been the cherry on top of a very sweet fight week. On August 31, Smart Araneta Coliseum will be the venue for arguably the most stacked card in the history of Asian MMA as ONE FC 5: Pride of a Nation hits the Big Dome. Then on September 1, we’re off to Ynares Sports Arena for PXC 33, featuring a championship match between Harris “Hitman” Sarmiento and Jon “Super Saiyan” Tuck. If you’re still moaping over the scrapped UFC event, C’MON SON! do you have a crush on Dana White or Joe Rogan or what!?
ONE FC 5 Full Fight Card: The last time I witnessed such a stacked card was at UFC 100!
ONE FC 5 Gracie Media Workout
In fact, fight week has already started.
When In Manila was at the exclusive media workout of Rolles, Gregor, and Igor Gracie, the three brothers from the first family of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu who will be competing at ONE FC 5: Pride of a Nation.
Rolles Gracie is perhaps the most recognizable brother as he has fought in the UFC once (his lone loss) and is known for putting a serious beating on the cuddly Bob Sapp. I asked Rolles about what it meant to fight and murder Bob Sapp. His mindset is that while Sapp has lost a lot of his street cred thanks to a horrible row of bludgeoning (him on the receiving end) losses, he didn’t know which Bob Sapp was going to show up that night. “The bottom line is, I train my butt off for every fight!” punctuated Rolles.
Now, he’s set to fight Tony Bonello, the KOTC cruiserweight champion whose only loss came from the recently retired Murilo “Ninja” Rua. “Honestly, I didn’t know anything about him at first. But when they matched me up with him, I had to do my homework. He is a tough son of a gun, so I expect a good fight.” Whether these two BJJ black belts decide to enter a technical war or stand and trade, it’s going to be a sight to see two technically sound big men go at it. (We can leave the non-technical war of attrition to Tim Sylvia and Andrei “Big Pee-Pee” Arlovski.)
Gregor Gracie is fighting a third time in ONE FC against Hybrid Yaw Yan standout Nicholas Mann. “If it were up to me, I want to submit him in two seconds!” Gregor joked when I asked him where he thinks this fight will go. The reality, however, is that this fight can go rather differently from what Gregor wished. So he has been training his stand-up as much as his ground game – his wrestling, Muay Thai, boxing, Judo, and of course BJJ – to grow closer to his goal of becoming a “complete fighter.”
Asked about whether being part of the Gracie family is a bane or boon for him, Gregor admitted, “I guess it’s both. It’s good because we have a very strong base (in BJJ). But there is a lot of pressure especially because people expect a lot from us.” His half-brother Igor Gracie has quite a different take on this question: “It’s good because it makes me want to train harder.” For Igor, being identified as a Gracie is a privilege, an opportunity to continue the family legacy.
Igor locking an Omoplata on Rolles.
While it is his first bout under the ONE FC banner, Igor has been a staple in the promotion’s events, cornering his brothers in all of their fights. “I love ONE FC!” Igor added, “The No. 1 thing is they take care of their fighters.” And taking care of their fighters include giving them quality match-ups. Igor will be facing a much more experienced fighter in Jung Hwan Cha, a guy who beat Ryo Chonan (AKA “the last man to defeat Anderson Silva not via disqualification”), albeit in the twilight of his career. Igor‘s game plan for his ONE FC debut? “I want to impose my rhythm. I want make him fight my fight.” It just so happens that Jung Hwan Cha also loves to submit his opponents. Things are getting interesting, aren’t they?
Rolles controlling Igor‘s back, going for a rear-naked choke.
When In Manila, Rolles, Gregor, and Igor are excited to get inside the cage and show Filipino MMA fans how Gracies roll! Meet them during the weigh-ins on Aug 30 at the Araneta Coliseum. And of course, don’t miss out as all three of them battle inside the ONE FC cage on August 31! Visit www.ticketnet.com.ph for your tickets. This show has EPIC written all over it!
Thank you, guys!