ONE FC Philippines This September 1, 2012!
When ONE FC holds its first event In Manila, Filipino MMA fans will not want to miss the best fighters in the emerging Asian MMA scene as they come face to face on Philippine soil this September 1, 2012.
As an MMA organization, ONE FC is a cut above the rest. Partnering with existing MMA promotions across Asia, the ONE FC network showcases the best talent from Asia as well as fighters from the rest of the world. The brainchild of Victor Cui, the Singapore-based promotion will hold its fourth event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this June 23. Then it’s time for ONE FC Philippines.
While ONE FC Philippines has just recently been announced, and neither the venue nor the fight card has been confirmed yet, this writer decided to do a simple survey, asking some of the more prolific Asian-based MMA writers their picks on the fighters they want to see in ONE FC Philippines. The Fight Nation’s Wesley De Souza, Bloody Elbow’s Anton Tabuena, MMA Mania’s James Goyder, MMA Orient’s Zike Sugawara, Ben Liu of Ben Does MMA, URCC’s Alfred Gealogo, and yours truly, along with URCC and Gods FC matchmakers Willy Carlos and Will Chope break down the ten fighters they wish to see in ONE FC Philippines.
10. Roy Docyogen
Many writers have identified Roy “The Punisher” Docyogen as one of the best Filipino fighters who have yet to fight in ONE FC. A product of Team Lakay in Baguio, Docyogen is the reigning pinweight champion of the URCC. For James Goyder, Roy‘s record speaks for itself. “Roy Docyogen has a better record than any fighter in the Philippines. He has fought and won ten times, and there aren’t many MMA fighters in the world who can say that,” says Goyder. With the signature gas tank of Team Lakay fighters, a death trap of a ground game, and perhaps the best boxing pedigree in the Lakay gym, ONE FC Philippines would be the perfect debut for “The Punisher”.
9. Rolles Gracie Jr.
The enigma and allure of the Gracie family continues to fascinate MMA fans the world over. “The Gracie family has always caught the imagination of Filipino MMA fans since the first UFC. Rolles is the most experienced of the fighting Gracies and would surely be a draw for Filipino fans,” notes URCC writer Alfred Gealogo. After demolishing Bob Sapp (which everyone knew was going to happen) and a rumored bout against the legendary Fedor Emelianenko, heavyweight Rolles Gracie is cementing his own legacy, not only as a 3rd degree BJJ black belt, but as a serious MMA contender as well.
8. Froilan Sarenas
Undoubtedly one of the best ground fighters in the URCC, middleweight champ Froilan Sarenas is another fighter waiting to burst into the international MMA scene. As MMA Orient’s Zike Sugawara points out, “Sarenas‘ BJJ is wicked and his stand up is improving tremendously. I consider Sarenas as the Royce Gracie of the Philippines. When you put this guy in a big event, it will be an exciting and crazy night for Filipino MMA enthusiasts!” Dropping a unanimous decision loss to light heavyweight champ Nicholas Mann in their URCC 21 superfight, Sarenas will be itching to redeem himself, and I’m pretty sure Filipino fight fans are equally excited to see him scrap once more.
7. Justin Buccholz
Having a UFC fighter in ONE FC Philippines will knock the socks off any Filipino MMA fan. While current UFC fighters cannot be tapped because of their exclusive contracts to Zuffa, “a perfect wild card pick for the upcoming Philippine event would be a quality free agent in Justin Buccholz.” Anton Tabuena adds, “He’s a half-Filipino UFC veteran who is one of the coaches in Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male in The Ultimate Fighter. He’s a great striker and has a very fan-friendly style, guaranteeing that he would fit in nicely in the Asian MMA scene.”
6. Shinya Aoki
To see Shinya Aoki in ONE FC Philippines would be an absolute Dream come true. The Pride, Shooto, and Strikeforce veteran and current Dream lightweight champion is perhaps the most recognizable MMA fighter from Asia. The first and last WAMMA lightweight champion, ranked No. 4 lightweight in the world, and earning the nickname “Tobikan Judan” (“Grand Master of Flying Submissions”), witnessing Shinya Aoki in actual competition will flip every fight fan with excitement. For a country that already has a rich pool of local talent and a steady influx of foreign competitors (both in the URCC and PXC), Shinya Aoki would be the penultimate draw for Filipinos who wish to see their international heroes and truly set ONE FC Philippines apart from the other MMA events held in the Philippines.
5. Mark Striegl
Mark “Mugen” Striegl is an undefeated Filipino-American fighter currently based in Baguio’s Team Buffet. He started training martial arts in Japanese dojo Wajutsu Keishukai Gods and has since victimized ten opponents across Asia. Fellow Team Buffet member Will Chope says this of Mark, “Striegl is hands down one of the best wrestlers in Asia, and with 8 out of 10 wins by submission, he’s exceptionally dangerous on the ground. He is undefeated, fighting in the biggest MMA organizations in Asia.” Having Mark Striegl in ONE FC Philippines will be a sweet homecoming for Mark and a monster of an event for Filipino fans!
4. Eric Kelly
Eric “The Natural” Kelly is one controversial fighter. After managerial and promotional woes, the Muay Fit fighter was pulled out of ONE FC 2. That said, no one can doubt Kelly‘s ability to strike, pound, and submit his opponents. “It would be a no brainer to have one of the Philippines’ biggest MMA stars on the ONE FC card. Eric‘s been itching to get back and this is the perfect event for a return,” says Wesley De Souza. The former URCC featherweight champion is unbeaten in six professional fights, winning all of them with emphatic submissions!
Kelly became an international sensation when he beat Martial Combat superstar Mitch Chilson in the inaugural ONE FC event. He’s been very apologetic and vocal about his desire to compete in the highest level once more. If only Kelly, the URCC, and ONE FC will be able to sort out their issues, then “The Natural” can have his triumphant return on ONE FC Philippines.
3. Eddie Ng
Ground-and-pound kingpin Eddie “The Magician” Ng is Hong Kong’s fastest rising MMA star. After watching his dominant performance in ONE FC 3, “The Magician” is quickly becoming a favorite among writers and fans in the Asian MMA community. Eddie‘s brand of GNP is exciting because he starts off with vicious strikes, and once his opponent hits the ground, he swarms in with an ultra-aggressive top game. With a stop-or-be-stopped mentality, “The Magician” has never gone the distance, and 5 times out of 6 he has come out on the winning end. If ever the Folayang-Laursen rematch does not push through, then Eddie Ng is a prime candidate to fight either one of them in ONE FC Philippines.
1-2. Eduard Folayang and Ole Laursen for ONE FC Philippines
As far as the obvious is concerned, Eduard Folayang and Ole Laursen took the top spots of our survey. Almost all writers had either Folayang or Laursen at the top of their lists. The question begs, should ONE FC Philippines be the battleground for the much-awaited rematch or not?
Wesley De Souza thinks such. “After their first meeting, many felt that Eduard deserved the win. However, it’s hard to deny that both men fought hard and put on one of the best fights of 2012. Having the rematch in the Philippines as a main event will be huge as it’ll give the Philippines’ favorite MMA star a chance to redeem the loss in front of his country men, ” De Souza says. James Goyder puts it more fairly, “There is controversy over Laursen‘s win over Folayang, so he deserves a second chance to put [that controversy] to bed by beating Folayang decisively. And Folayang deserves another chance to try and beat Laursen. It was a brilliant fight which the fans deserve to see happen again.”
Bloody Elbow’s Anton Tabuena thinks otherwise. “Folayang vs. Laursen was the most entertaining ONE FC fight to date, so I would be lying if I said that I’m completely opposed to an immediate rematch. It became an instant classic with the best possible outcome as both men came out as winners that night. That being said, you know what they say about sequels, and I don’t think there’s a need to potentially ruin what they achieved by rushing in and impulsively re-booking that fight. Both of their careers are suddenly on the upswing, and interest in both men are at an all-time high. So I think it would be best for these two friends and Filipinos to have separate fights. If down the road the stars align and the timing makes more sense, only then do you try and recreate that classic.”
Whether or not ONE FC decides to book a rematch for the September 1 event or not is totally up to Victor Cui and the other bosses. But having the top two Filipino warriors in Folayang and Laursen for ONE FC Philippines will definitely be an absolute draw for fight fans in the Philippines, the rest of Asia, and beyond!
When In Manila, be there on September 1, 2012 when ONE FC holds its first event in the Philippines. “Like” ONE FC on Facebook and be the first to learn of updates in ONE FC 5‘s fight card. Fight fans, HERE WE GO!