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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IN PHOTOS: URCC 27 Rebellion. 5 New Champions. 9 Awesome Fights.

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URCC 27 Rebellion Delivered. As Always.

 

Filipino MMA fans gathered to witness a parade of slobber-knocking action in URCC 27: Rebellion at the Marriott Grand Ballroom on April 23, 2016.

It was a rather quick night, with eight of the nine bouts leaving the judges out of the equation; five of which ended in the very first round. Here’s a rundown of the night’s hard-banging bouts, shared through the lenses of our talented photographers Yin Quintin and Raul Landingin.

In the first bout of the evening, after multiple tries Solomon Dultra makes Efren Marinias tap with a perfect arm bar in the very first round.

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Submission Sport’s Geli Bulaong submits Kafagway MMA debutante Jen Damaso with a standing guillotine in the first after the two engaged in multiple grappling exchanges.

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Drex “The T-Rex” Zamboanga dominates late replacement Dennis Domingo in the standup and on the ground, finishing him with a rear naked choke in the first round. (more…)

Will “The Kill” Chope: Fighting is Staying Alive

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Will Chope’s Fight Rate Puts Donald Cerrone to Shame

 

Will “The Kill” Chope is one of the busiest fighters on the planet. “So far in 2016 I have only had five fights,” Will opened up our conversation disappointed. That’s three Muay Thai and two MMA fights in three months and two days. And on April 23 at URCC: Rebellion, he will be fighting for the sixth time, vying for the promotion’s vacant lightweight title.

In 2013, Chope was next in line for a title shot in the featherweight division against Richie Sapno. That fight never materialized. Instead, four fights later, we saw Chope debut in the UFC against current top contender Max Holloway January of 2014. “Back in 2013, I left the URCC for a big fight to get me in the UFC. But I love the URCC. The URCC definitely helped me in my career early on, so it’s great to get back to my roots. Plus, fighting in the Philippines is always incredible,” Will told us about his motivation to fight for the URCC once again.

Will also enjoys a unique contractual agreement with the URCC in which he is not tied down to the promotion. According to Chope, “I am a freelance fighter. I have always managed to keep my freedom to fight. Nobody owns me as I am self-managed and gym hop all over Asia.” (more…)