Mark Raymundo’s Fight Tour: Lion’s Den Bicol Top Team

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Matching Skill with that Uragon Attitude

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The goal is to visit teams from different regions across the country. After visiting Team Tribal Torogi in Baguio, I headed to Bicol, particularly Daraga, Albay, where one team is proving to be a dominant force in the local circuit.

In case you’re wondering: Lion’s Den Bicol Top Team does not build their game around the shootfighting style popularized by Ken Shamrock.  While they emphasize the importance of bare-bones toughness, Lion’s Den acknowledges that attitude is king.

The team works their balls off and hones their skills to match their authentic Uragon grit. Under head coach Dante Madrideo, Lion’s Den has sent fighters to the URCC, PXC, King of the Cage, AFC, and now, Eruption.

It was at Eruption in Ibalong where I witnessed first-hand how Lion’s Den fighters claw their way from one victory to another. I was particularly impressed with the slick grappling of Herbert Locre and the veteran smarts of Elias Duran Sapo. Of course, this is the same team where ONE strawweight Jeremy Miado got his headstart and developed his craft. That itself is a testament to the level of training this gym offers.
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Brandon Vera and Other Superstars Grace Inaugural Eruption Event

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Bicolanos Rule in 7 of Eruption’s 11 Bouts

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A good way to gauge the popularity of mixed martial arts in a certain area is to hold an event. If it attracts enough athletes, sponsors, and spectators, you know it’s picking up steam.

Eruption in Ibalong came at just the right time. Fans are growing in number, public and private institutions aretaking notice, and gyms are springing from every corner.

Legazpi City isn’t exactly an MMA hotbed like Baguio, Manila, or Davao. But Eruption’s turnout is an unequivocal reminder that the scene is growing in the regional circuit. And like the unpredictable Mayon Volcano, it is ready to flare up at the slightest sign of heat.

On August 13, heat came in the form of 11 supercharged bouts pitting local talents against fighters across the country.

Local Fighters Sizzle

A blistering demo from the group representing Magdaraog Martial Arts System opened the event. Later on, guest international fighters Brandon Vera (ONE heavyweight champion), CJ De Tomas (UFC flyweight), Burn Soriano (ONE flyweight), and proud Bicolanos Ramon Gonzales (ONE flyweight and D1FC champion) and Jeremy Miado (ONE strawweight) were each called inside the cage to give inspirational talks. By the time they were done, the crowd’s anticipation had reached fever pitch.

Local bets were in no mood to disappoint as seven of them snatched victories in this event supported by the City Government of Legazpi, Congressman Joey Salceda, Boysen, Air 21, Kalibrant Marketing and Advertising, RH Inn, AOM Transport, Forza, Images by Ryan Studio, Karravva Media and Digital Marketing, McDonald’s, Izumi Wellness Center, Alamat Resto Bar, Architectonica, Lotus Blu Hotel, Embarcadero de Legazpi, Initial Arts, Mayon Skydrive ATV Adventure, 94.7 Spirit FM, Ayala Mall Legazpi, Fox 89.9, Glad Fitness Center, MNL Junkshop, Tap Secret, and Happy Hut.
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Mark Raymundo’s Fight Tour: Team Torogi Tribal Submission

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Baguio-Based MMA and Muay Thai Team Bridging the Gap to Build Future Champions

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Take a stool and observe one of Coach Christian Gazmin’s grappling or MMA classes. Handling a packed night class, the retired US Marine’s voice is loud and clear. Then you remember that this is Baguio, and you’re almost sure that a future world champion could be right there listening intently.

“Efficiency and hard work go hand in hand. We drill a lot so the techniques become second nature. We make sure the holes in our game are recognized and addressed.” Emphasizing the basics, Coach Christian, or Coach Cricket as he is fondly called, makes sure every technique is drilled perfectly down to the smallest detail before moving on to the next.

This great attention to detail, along with experience and sheer skill, is perhaps what got Coach Brent Velasco the coaching chores for the Muay Thai national team once again. Coach Brent is, of course, a three-time world Muay Thai champion and the founder of Team Torogi, the Muay Thai-based MMA team that merged with Gazmin’s Tribal Submission to form this new formidable team.
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