ONE FC Rise of Heroes: Filipino Fighters Dominate Foes
When in Manila, Filipinos just can’t get enough of the rapidly-growing sport of mixed martial arts. Because of this, ONE FC, the largest MMA organization in Asia, made a return to the Philippines on May 2, 2014, at the Mall of Asia Arena for a night of exciting brawls.
The ONE FC night was given the subtitle ‘Rise of Heroes’ and, true to its name, heroes have emerged and put on an explosive show for the eager Filipino fans to enjoy. It’s noteworthy to add that all the Filipinos in the card won their respective fights (1 on the undercard, 3 on the main card), which is a reason to rejoice for Filipinos everywhere.
Ana Julaton vs. Aya Saber
Starting the main card off was the highly-anticipated debut of Filipino female boxing champion Ana Julaton as she faced Egyptian kickboxer Aya Saeid Saber. In the 1st round, the Egyptian scored some takedowns while countering the Filipina’s dangerous fists and Julaton’s inexperience in the ground showed a bit. The same happened in the 2nd round. Saber was even able to lock in a guillotine choke on Julaton, but somehow managed to slip her head out. This seemed to be the turning point as the noise level in the stadium grew and finally, in the 3rd round, Julaton capitalized on an error on the ground by raining punch after punch until the referee called a halt to the contest. Watch out, Asia, a new Filipina heroine has emerged by the name of Ana Julaton.
Leandro Ataides v Tatsuya Mizuno
The 5-time Brazilian Jiu-jitsu champion Leandro Ataides entered the cage with an impressive undefeated record of 7-0. The Japanese fighter Mizuno aimed to put a blemish on the Brazilian’s clean record, but as soon as the bell rang, Ataides was all over Mizuno. The Japanese fighter couldn’t even keep up with the monstrous pace of the Brazilian powerhouse. Ataides displayed what I’d like to call ‘beast mode’ in this fight and within seconds of starting the fight, it had ended with a referee stoppage. The middleweight division has a new bad boy now.
Result: Ataides def. Mizuno via TKO due to strikes in the 1st round
Chris Lokteff v James McSweeney
Australia and Great Britain always had a bit of a rivalry brewing between them, and these two heavyweight fighters made mention of this in the pre-fight promotion clip. Lokteff says he would love to do his country (Australian) proud by beating the British fighter McSweeney, but the Brit answered with the intimidating fact that he’s finished all his Australian foes in the 1st round. And surely, after a few powerful shots by both fighters, McSweeney rocked Lokteff and sent him crashing towards the cage, where the Brit finished the Australian with a devastating knee that I swear felt all the way from the lowerbox seats. Now any Australian would think twice before challenging McSweeney, appropriately nicknamed “Sledgehammer”.
Result: McSweeney def. Lokteff via KO due to a flying knee in the 1st round
Rob Lisita v Yusuke Kawanago
A match two years in the making, Rob Lisita aimed to claim revenge for his decision loss back in 2012 against Yusuke Kawanago—and he did. Right in the very first round, Lisita caught Kawanago with a clean left hook which sent the Japanese fighter to the floor where Lisita landed a few missiles, some might say too much, until the match was officially stopped. Based on the replays on the jumbotrons, it appeared as though it was a late stoppage. The good thing, though, is that Kawanago was just fine. Rob Lisita has now claimed his revenge.
Result: Lista def. Kawanago via TKO due to strikes in the 1st round
Joshua Alvarez v Ray Docyogen
In the flyweight division, Guamese fighter Joshua Alvarez faced Filipino URCC champion Ray Docyogen. The 1st round was pretty even; Alvarez scored some takedowns while Docyogen landed a few powerful punches. In the 2nd round, it was a stand up battle for most of it. Then, in the 3rd round, Docyogen hit Alvarez with an accidental low blow, which led to a few minutes of stoppage as the Guamese fighter recovered himself; in the process, Docyogen got precious minutes to rest. This was evident as he took down Alvarez and began picking the Guamese fighter apart, who proved he has a solid chin. The match went to a decision which went the Filipino’s way.
Result: Docyogen def. Alvarez via unanimous decision
Kotestsu Boku v Edward Folayang
Wanting to follow up his impressive victory from last year, Edward “Landslide” Folayang faces dangerous Kotetsu Boku in the cage. The Japanese striker was a former ONE FC champion but that didn’t seem to faze Landslide as he dominated most of the fight. Throughout the fight he displayed his much improved wrestling game with a couple of explosive WWE-esque slams. And when Boku was on the ground, Folayang managed to execute a few locks, like the armbar in the final seconds of the 1st round and the guillotine choke in the 2nd round.
The most exciting part of Folayang’s performance were his swift and powerful kicks which grazed Boku a few times; had it connected cleanly, the Japanese striker would have easily been put to sleep. After a hard-fought fight, Folayang is deservedly given the decision, completing the Filipino sweep in Rise of Heroes fight card.
Result: Folayang def. Boku via unanimous decision
Masakatsu Ueda v Bibiano Fernandes
This match in the bantamweight division was set to be the main event of the night, which was quite a letdown, after all the action that the crowd has seen all night. Ueda v Fernandes was an interesting match on-paper but wasn’t that way at all. Punches were landed here and there by both fighters but it felt like they were feeling each other out the whole match. Fernandes got his way with the takedowns, but when Ueda was actually under him, the Brazilian failed to do any significant damage and ultimately just pinned his weight on the Japanese fighter until the referee stood them up.
In the final round, there was a significant spring in Ueda’s step as he did his best to finish the fight, possibly knowing that it was going Fernandes’ way had it reached the judge’s scorecards. But it was too little too late for Ueda, as minutes ran out and Bibiano Fernandes retained the title.
Result: Fernandes def. Ueda via unanimous decision
Filipinos definitely have a reason to rejoice as every one of our countrymen and women impressed with their performances in the recently concluded ONE FC Rise of Heroes. Filiipino MMA surely is gaining a lot of ground now and I bet in a few years we will be seeing countless Pinoys and Pinays dominate Asia (and maybe even the UFC!) For now, let us celebrate these heroes of ours because they have brought glory and honor to our country yet again.