Team Lakay Now has Three ONE World Champions in Their Roster
One night after Team Lakay bagged four awards in ONE Championship’s Global Martial Arts Awards, Kevin Belingon outworked Bibiano Fernandes to become the new undisputed ONE bantamweight world champion. Winning by split decision, he joins Lakay teammates Geje Eustaquio and Joshua Pacio to hold three belts in Asia’s largest mixed martial arts organization. And, two weeks from now, Eduard Folayang has the opportunity to reclaim his belt and make it four out of the 11 available belts strapped around a Lakay’s waist.
ONE Championship was Damn Right in Giving Mark Sangiao Coach of the Year
The main event at ONE: Heart of a Lion was nothing short of a Fight of the Year candidate. Bibiano Fernandes came out to win, bringing the fight to Kevin Belingon with his trademark grappling, working to finish the fight with several submission attempts. On the other hand, as expected Belingon did his best work on the feet, punishing Fernandes with body kicks and combinations that left marks on the former bantamweight king’s face as the decision was read. Easily, Bibiano won Round 3, while Belingon took Round 5. The rest of the rounds, we could argue ’til kingdom come.
Most people’s light bulb memory of Kevin Belingon was his flash knockout of David Aranda at ONE: Moment of Truth. Personally, Kevin Belingon’s loss to Masakatsu Ueda is the memory I always refer to pertaining to ‘The Silencer’. Sure, he lost that bout, but it was an excellent performance as he used all his available tools to keep the Japanese grappling stalwart at bay. My favorite was his strategy of timing a knee whenever Ueda would dive for a takedown.
Is ONE FC the Next UFC?
ONE FC is the UFC in fast-forward motion. Holding its first event in 2011, the Singapore-based MMA promotion has in three years achieved what other MMA promotions have belabored to do so for a decade or more – most of them never even accomplished the feats ONE FC has reached thus far!
In this article, we reintroduce ONE FC and consider the future of the promotion that’s making all the headlines.
ONE FC: 0 to 18
While the early years of promotions like the UFC and the KOTC are well documented and a favorite topic of fans who have been “there” since the beginning, ONE FC has – surprisingly – none of that. What ONE FC CEO Victor Cui did was he took his first brainchild Martial Combat and injected it with gritty PRIDE rules and tournament formats along with beautiful UFC-esque production and marketing and rebranded it as ONE FC. And so, ONE FC was from the get go a promotion that had to succeed.
Taking what works and throwing out what doesn’t, ONE FC continues to evolve its formula for success. In the aftermath of ONE FC Pride of a Nation, the promotion changed their safety rule on soccer kicks to allow them anytime during the match. This made a lot of MMA fans exposed to PRIDE pay serious attention to what ONE FC has to offer. Former UFC middleweight champion and now ONE FC VP Rich Franklin puts it this way:
“Listen, I’ve only been with ONE FC for three months. And in those three months we had three shows. In those three shows alone I’ve seen the ONE FC grow at an unprecedented rate. [ONE FC SVP] Matt Hume is doing a fantastic job with the matchmaking. The production is getting better each event. We are creating great content in terms of entertainment.”
It wasn’t entirely a stroll in the park though. The one concept that Cui took from Martial Combat, relying on a network of promotions to supply ONE FC with fresh and exciting fighters, did not work out as originally intended. As local promotions are closing shop or running into fiscal problems, ONE FC had to change their strategy and source their talents individually or through affiliate gyms instead. In fact, one might say that until now ONE FC has yet to entrench itself with deep rosters across the divisions, with only the lightweight and bantamweight divisions being deep enough for title fights and division rankings to really matter. This doesn’t mean a complete bailout from their original vision, however. As per Rich, ONE FC is still committed to working with and developing their local partners – gyms and promotions alike – en route to expanding Asian MMA to a global market.
PXC 37 and ONE FC 9 Final Fight Cards Released (Part 2)
With just over a week before fight night, Guamanian MMA promotion Pacific Xtreme Combat has released its final fight card for PXC 37 to be held on May 18, 2013 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City, Metro Manila. On the same day, Asian MMA promotion ONE Fighting Championship announced three preliminary bouts to complete their roster for ONE FC 9: Rise to Power.
MMA Philippines looks at the two fight cards and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly of both.
ONE FC 9: ONE FC 5 ver. 2
If you look at the ONE FC 9 roster, about half of the fighters are the same as those that competed in last year’s ONE FC 5. You have Honorio Banario, Bibiano Fernandes, Kevin Belingon, Phil Baroni, Eduard Folayang, Felipe Enomoto, and Tim Sylvia making reappearances after last year’s phenomenal card.
For the most part, having five Lakay players in the mix is practical. Negotiations are easier. Travel is cheap. And having four URCC champions in one card is something to look forward to. Of all the match-ups, Kevin Belingon vs Masakatsu Ueda is definitely the one I look forward to the most. They’re the last men standing in the Bantamweight Grand Prix for good reason. Belingon reached the finals with brutalizing strikes and lightning-fast kicks, while Ueda suffocated Jens Pulver with his superior grappling en route to the May 31 showdown. This is as clear as it could get: If Belingon could punish Ueda early on with kicks, take the springs off the Jap’s legs, and keep this fight standing, then it will be a good night for The Silencer. If not, Ueda will take him to his world and get the job done for the Grand Prix title.