UFC Manila Scouting Report: Eight Local and Regional Prospects the UFC Can Sign

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Who do you want to see inside the Octagon?

The UFC returns to the Philippines with another UFC Fight Night on October 15, 2016. This is the second year in a row that the world’s premier mixed martial arts promotion is visiting the country, preceded by the massive success of their first outing headlined by former UFC lightweight champion Frankie “The Answer” Edgar and perennial bantamweight contender Urijah “The California Kid” Faber last May 2015.

Just like any UFC Fight Night card held outside the US, a healthy representation of local and regional talent is always welcome. So we did our due diligence to compile a list of top prospects in the local and regional MMA circuit who we have personally witnessed inside the cage. This list includes those who have publicly expressed their desire to compete in the UFC, as well as fighters whose current contracts allow them to transition to the said promotion without any legal impediments.

Carlo Laurel and Alvin Ramirez

URCC 27 Rebellion 9Alvin “Kastigo” Ramirez and Carlo “Samurai” Laurel engaged in a war inside the URCC cage last April that saw Ramirez victorious with a third-round TKO via doctor stoppage. Ramirez is as close to a real-life Tekken fighter as can be; and Laurel, a fighter known for his crafty grappling, surprised everyone when he decided to stand and bang with his Yaw-Yan Buhawi opponent. But both fighters’ worth goes beyond what they can give and receive inside the cage. These guys know what hype is all about.

With ONE Championship, PXC, and the URCC all holding events in Manila last April, a Nielsen TV viewing survey revealed that the URCC was the most watched MMA event that month, even surpassing UFC 197: Jones vs Saint Preux. We’d like to think that this was largely because of Carlo Laurel’s pre-fight antics rubbing Alvin Ramirez the wrong way, and the two engaging in an all-out Facebook war that led people to take notice. While some die-hard MMA purists disapprove of Laurel’s hype mechanism, MMA promotions are in the business of selling fights, and Carlo Laurel was the URCC’s golden goose in building interest for their April fight card.

12705274_10205582102381110_8482210303897796198_nWe casually chatted with Laurel and Ramirez, and as per Laurel, his contract stipulates that once the UFC comes knocking, the URCC will allow him to compete for the US-based promotion. We believe the same holds true for Ramirez and another top prospect from the URCC. In that same conversation, Laurel called out Ramirez to tango a second time around – this time inside the Octagon.

Kwan Ho Kwak

PXC 51 16TOP FC and PXC bantamweight champion Kwak Kwan Ho is clamoring for a chance to compete inside the Octagon. “I am ready for the UFC, and I want to make my debut in October in the Philippines,” the South Korean known as “Handsome” writes on Facebook. Not a stranger to the Filipino MMA crowd, Kwak dominated former champ Kyle Aguon across five rounds both in the stand up and on the ground.
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PXC 51 Recap: Kwak and Lausa Become New Champs; Iniong and Dy Impress

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7 Out of 9 Fights Go the Distance – Most in Fantastic Fashion

 

It was an awesome weekend for Filipino MMA fans as Pacific Xtreme Combat (PXC) returned to Manila with an eight-fight card at the Solaire Grand Ballroom, the first of four events between the Guam-based fight promotion and the casino resort.

PXC 51 did not disappoint as it was highlighted by two title matches between Kyle Aguon and Kwan Ho Kwak for the PXC World Bantamweight Championship and the much anticipated main event with Crisanto Pitpitunge facing Jenel Lausa for the vacant Flyweight Championship. Starting things off was…

Local MMA veteran Rex De Lara, who did his best Conor McGregor impersonation by starching Stephen Loman of Team Lakay 14 seconds into round 1 with a short right hand at the end of a fistic exchange. You can check out the KO on this link.

However, Han Seul Kim had to work extra hard to eke out a unanimous decision over Nao Yoneda in a fight where both played to their strengths. Yoneda’s lack of a set up game for his takedowns allowed the taller Korean to consistently score with straight lefts and ultimately decided the match. Han later said post-fight that he would like to fight Frank Camacho or avenge his loss to Zebaztian Kadestam for all the marbles at 170. With Han on the rise by picking up a win…

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Korean Top Team’s Han Seul Kim dominated Nao Yoneda in the standup exchanges of their fight at PXC 51.

Ernie Braca had yet to win his first fight in the PXC. Many were hoping that he would finally be able to do so against Emiliio Urrutia. What was surprising about this fight was that Urrutia, the Tiger Muay Thai product, was the one going for takedowns against his Filipino opponent. To Braca’s credit, he almost managed to lock in several submission attempts and win the standup battle in a fight which could have gone either way. In the end, Braca breaks his duck by winning a split decision. Such an exciting back and forth battle was followed by…

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Ernie Braca came so close to finishing Urrutia with this triangle choke at round 2 of their fight.


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PXC Bantamweight Challenger Kwan Ho Kwak: “Kyle Aguon had not been in a fight with a person like me”

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Kwan Ho Kwak is bent to become the new PXC bantamweight champion

 

With only weeks before the challenge fight, South Korean fighter Kwan Ho “The Handsome” Kwak is determined to take the PXC world bantamweight title from Kyle Aguon this month.

Kwak earned the right to challenge Aguon for the belt by knocking out Han Bin Park and winning the TOP FC bantamweight championship title, bringing his current win streak to seven straight. At 26 years old, Kwak has used his litheness and aggressiveness to prove himself as one of the top Korean prospects in MMA.
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