ONE: Reign of Kings Lived Up to Its Billing
Last night’s ONE: Reign of Kings delivered one of the promotion’s most action-packed events with a stacked card that did not disappoint.
From epic finishes to crisp displays of technique to a legendary return (with a rare appearance of the yellow card) – Reign of Kings was as good as advertised.
However, Reign of Kings isn’t only a showcase of some of MMA’s brightest stars. It also served as an instrument to help us better understand where the sport is heading and how the Philippines is keeping up with its evolution.
With that, here are three takeaways from last night’s ONE: Reign of Kings:
Renzo’s Still Got Game
After an eight-year hiatus from professional fighting, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) blue-blood Renzo Gracie had a successful comeback fight against fellow PRIDE vet Yuki Kondo.
Gracie – whose clan introduced “the gentle art” into the world – did what his family “have been doing for over 100 years: choking people.”
Round one between the 51-year-old Gracie and the 45-year-old Kondo, however, was off to a very sluggish start which prompted the referee to issue a yellow card to both fighters.
Gracie later revealed that he was studying Kondo during the opening round while trying to avoid getting hit.
Team Encore is Slowly Gaining Mat Notoriety
When you come from an established team, building a new one from scratch can be a tall order. But Coach Joshua Abella is hopeful that Encore will pick up and reach the same level of success as his previous group.
I arrived at this relatively new gym before 7 on a Sunday morning. Apart from the receptionist, the only person I saw was a guy, perhaps in his early thirties, mopping the canvas. I was almost positive it was Michaelo “Mike” Sumulong, one of the owners.
Then the students started coming in. Looking around, I noticed that none of them were elite fighters. In fact, some of the guys started their martial arts journey right here, as I would learn later from their coach, two-stripe Fabricio purple belt, Joshua “Josh” Abella.
This is a stark contrast from the previous gyms we have featured where hardened fighters enter the premises day in and day out. Here, I see men who train almost as hard as they work for their families, and are willing to test their skills in competition. Yet their coach, himself an active jiu-jitsu competitor, encourages them to focus on improving without thinking too much of competing.
Cowboy’s Visit is One of MMA Philippines’ Favorite Fighter Tours Thus Far!
It’s been almost a week since Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone visited the Philippines for UFC and Cignal’s fighter tour. We took our sweet time post-processing the event photos, and finally here is MMA Philippines’ breakdown of the nation’s experience with the busiest, winningest fighter in the UFC!
Cerrone didn’t have time to put up his legs after arriving on Friday as he went straight to the press conference held at Marco Polo Ortigas in the evening. Members of the press had first dibs in asking Cowboy questions, which the WEC and UFC veteran was more than game to answer. Here are some of the topics touched during the press scrum:
1) Cerrone views his UFC career as a means to finance his vicious appetite for extreme sports, so don’t expect him to give up skydiving during training camp!