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


Matching Skill with that Uragon Attitude


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.

Brandon Vera and Other Superstars Grace Inaugural Eruption Event


Bicolanos Rule in 7 of Eruption’s 11 Bouts


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.

Team Estroso Returns for 3-on-3 Match at URCC XXX


URCC’s Team Fighting Championship among URCC XXX’s Attractions


The cage looked a little too crowded from any point of the Marriott Grand Ballroom. Six fighters engaging in a brawl as three uniformed men look on. This is unlike any we have seen in Philippine MMA. But this is the URCC, and the most compelling things can happen.

On August 12, this same scenario is bound to take place in a bigger venue, specifically at the historic Araneta Coliseum. Last edition’s winners, Team Estroso, will be facing a new set of animals spearheaded by Mark Gatmaitan.

Team captain Sugar Ray Estroso, who surprised everyone with his game-changing strategy the last time out, will be joined once again by Patrick Dos Santos. Completing the group is Iyoy Espinosa, the guy who eliminated Dos Santos in that match. On the other end, Jovit Laxamana and Brian Paule team up with Gatmaitan.