Friday, July 18, 2014

"The Hurricane" Now to Take on "Athena"

A couple of days ago, it was announced that Filipina World champion boxer Ana "The Hurricane" Julaton would have her second professional MMA fight at ONE Fighting Championship's first ever event in Dubai thic coming August. Her opponent was supposed to be against the debuting Irina Mazepa, a decorated Russian kickboxer and wushu parctioner making her MMA debut.

It seems however, that that match will no longer push through, as due to yet to be disclosed reasons, Mazepa is no longer part of the ONE FC: Reign of Champions card. In her place however, is the popular Ann "Athena" Osman.

"The Hurricane" vs. "Athena"

Osman was last seen in the ONE FC cage making her own MMA debut against Sherilyn Lim at ONE FC: Total Domination in Singapore. While Athena came up on the losing end of the bout, losing by split decision, the Malaysian mixed martial artist displayed great strength and wrestling skill. As the fight was close, it warranted a rematch, which unfortunately did push through however, due to Lim missing weight.

While the two fighters are basically new to the pro-MMA game, with Julaton winning her own ONE FC and MMA debut here in the Philippines last May, both have extensive experience in other combat sports. Julaton has won titles as a professional boxer, while Osman has competed at the amateur level in both MMA and Muay Thai.

Another intriguing factor in the fight will be weight, as Julaton competes at flyweight, which is a class higher than Osman's straw weight. While most may immediately cite Julaton as having the slight size advantage, a less strenuous weight cut may also play in the favor of Osman.

ONE FC: Reign of Champions

To see how it all goes down between two of the organization's most popular fighters, catch ONE FC: Reign of Champions this August 29th. The Dubai fight card will be headline by a bout between Shinya Aoki and Kamal Shalorus for the ONE FC World Lightweight Championship. The co-main event will also be a title bout, with Nobutatsu Suzuki defending his Welterweight Championship against American MMa star Ben Askren.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Truth Refuses to Be Denied: Brandon Vera Signs with ONE FC

After ending an 8-year run with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), many thought that Brandon "The Truth" Vera might step away from active competition. Not long after parting ways with UFC however, the Filipino-Italian fighter was signed by ONE Fighting Championship, the biggest MMA organization in Asia. The signing was announced via the organization's offical Twitter account, @onefcmma.

The Truth signs with the ONE FC.
Vera, 36, was at one point a highly touted talent, even considered a future champion, thanks to an amazing 8-0 start to his MMA career. With notable wins such as a finish over former UFC Heavyweight champion Frank Mir, it seemed like the sky was the limit for Vera.

Unfortunately, issues with old management would keep him inactive for some time, and the bad experience from an invasion of a friend's home would end up further derailing The Truth's momentum. Those challenges coupled with health issues, put Vera in a spot where he seemingly could not pick up where he left off. After exploring the UFC's light heavyweight ranks and returning to heavyweight for what would be his final fight for the organization, Vera would finish with 5-7 record after his undefeated start.

While some of his losses in the UFC were definitive, it must be noted that he put up an exciting fight against former Pride and UFC Champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, and dropped a rather questionable decision to former UFC Champion Randy 'The Natural" Couture.

Brandon "The Truth' Vera
While he may no longer be the hot prospect that he was earlier in his career, Vera still poses a great threat to his new organization's LHW and HW divisions. The Truth's muay thai-centered style lends itself well to ONE FC's rules.

It has yet to be determined which weight class Vera will compete in, or when his debut for ONE FC will be, as he is still currently tending to a nagging hand injury. Known as the biggest MMA organization in Asia, ONE FC has a large Filipino fan base, with may top class Pinoy fighters in its roster. With his Filipino lineage, Vera will likely be considered for the organization's year end event in Manila.

For Filipino MMA fans and the ONE FC, The Truth's signing is a winning situation. For Vera, it is a fresh start and an opportunity to re-establish a winning situation of his own.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

"The Natural" Earns Win, Bonus, and Title Shot After Submitting "Ruthless" in Hard Fought Battle

Last July 11, ONE Fighting Championship hosted its first ever in Taipei, Taiwan. In what turned out to be the most exciting fight of the night, Eric "The Natural" Kelly defeated "Ruthless" Rob Lisita in the ONE FC: War of Dragons main event.

ONE FC: War of Dragons
As the fight began, Lisita came out guns blazing, getting the better of the stand-up exchange with the Baguio-born Pinoy fighter. Eventually, he took "The Natural" to the ground in an attempt to outgrapple Kelly and win by submission. After an intense scramble, Kelly managed to take Lisita's back, but "Ruthless" managed to avoid significant danger as the round ended.

The second round opened with the two warriors trading blows once again. True to his nickname, Lisita dished out some ruthless strikes which eventually caught Kelly on the nose, making it bleed profusely. In an attempt to turn the tide and to save himself from danger, Kelly attempted a takedown, which Lisita successfully defended. He eventually found his way to Kelly's back, and proceeded to rain down blows to the head.

Displaying grit and skill, Kelly sneakilly slipped out of danger and proceeded to take the Aussie fighter's back and attempt a rear naked choke. As he continued to attempt the hold, blood continuously poured out of his nose, forcing the referee to stop the action and have the cageside doctor check on it.

After determining that Kelly could continue, the two fighters were placed back in their original position from before the pause in the fight, but Lisita eventually managed to escape the hold and got back to his feet. As he pushed forward, he proceeded to take Kelly back to the ground. While the Australian tried for submissions, it was the Pinoy fighter who eventually got to Lisita's back, sinking in a rear-naked choke that left Ruthless with no choice but to submit.

The winning maneuver. Photo property of ONE FC.

A decorated and very dangerous fighter, Lisita had Kelly in trouble a handful of times during the fight. Yet, by relying on his training, skill, and a whole lot of heart, Eric Kelly put together the perfect comeback to earn the victory.

With his gritty performance, "The Natural" earned the night's "One Warrior Bonus", which is awarded to the one fighter who puts on the most exceptional performance at a given event. As the bonus was just created recently, Kelly is the first ever competitor to earn the One Warrior distinction in the organization's history.

"The Natural" officially declared the victor. Photo property of ONE FC.

Along with the W, Kelly also earned another shot at the ONE FC Featherweight title. His last fight in the organization before the battle in Taipei was also for the belt, where he received his only professional defeat from countryman Honorio Banario.

It has yet to be announced where and when Kelly takes on current featherweight title holder Koji Oishi, but for the time being, it can be assumed that it may be soon. ONE FC recently announced that they are set to host a huge event in Dubai at the end of August, with four title bouts on the card.

If Kelly is set to compete by then, and Pinoy bantamweight Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio also gets his fight to be the first ever ONE FC Banatmweight Champion on the same night, August may prove to be historic for Filipino MMA.

Only time will tell if the two Pinoy contenders will fight, and hopefully win, on the same card. For the moment however, congratulations Eric "The Natural" Kelly, for putting on a performance for the ages in Taiwan and earning the win, the first ever One Warrior Bonus, and another crack at the title.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Pinoy Fighter Eric Kelly Headlines ONE FC Event Against Rob Lisita With a Title Shot on the Line

On July 11th, Eric "The Natural" Kelly battles Rob "Ruthless" Lisita in the main event of ONE FC: Rise of Dragons at the NTU Sports Center in Taipei, Taiwan.

Already expected by ONE FC fans to be hard hitting affair, more than a win is up for grabs as the bout is also a title eliminator, with the victor likely to be named the number one contender to Koji Oishi's ONE FC Featherweight Title.

ONE FC: War of Dragons

Kelly (10-1) last fought under the OneFC banner in November of 2013, losing a bout to fellow Pinoy fighter Honorio Banario for the inaugural ONE FC Featherweight Title. As the title is now on the waist of Oishi, a win over Lisita (14-5) will no doubt place Kelly back on the path towards his ultimate goal of being an MMA world title holder.

Eric Kelly vs. Jens Pulver. Photo property of ONE FC.

The journey will not be easy however, as he is pitted against a fighter who is on a four fight winning streak, with Ruthless's latest coming by way of TKO over Yusuke Kawanago at ONE FC: Rise of Heroes last May in Manila. With an eighty percent finish rate, Lisita has been calling for a title shot since his victorious ONE FC debut, and will likely get his shot should he defeat The Natural.

Rob "Ruthless" Lisita. Photo property of ONE FC.

While it's close to two years since Kelly's last ONE FC bout, the only loss of his pro MMA career, he is entering the Taipei bout coming off a win, as he last fought for local promotion Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC), earning a victory over Jianbo Lu last November. While some viewers worry about the possibility of ring rust due to extended periods in between bouts, Kelly's desire to be back in competition and all the hard work he's put in during the layoffs may be what can get him past the ruthless one.

A win away from a coveted title shot, count on both Kelly and Lisita to leave it all in the cage this Friday in Taipei.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Pacific X-treme Combat Launches Laban MMA in August

Pacific X-treme Combat (PXC), the premier Mixed Martial Arts Event company in the Pacific Region is set to launch Laban MMA, a provincial MMA development league to encourage the development of local MMA fighters. Laban MMA will provide a venue for fighters to begin their career path to becoming a world class pro fighter that can compete on the biggest stage.

Three years after entering the Philippines MMA scene, the PXC has successfully earned its position as the one of the Top Professional MMA promotions in the country. In continuing to pursue its mission to promote the spirit of athleticism and sportsmanship and to encourage the development of local and regional athletes, the PXC launches Laban MMA, a provincial MMA development league that will provide a starting point for local fighters to kick-off their career path to becoming a world class fighter.

Joey Calvo, PXC's President adds, "The PXC is consistently sending fighters to the world's top MMA leagues and Laban MMA will provide a breeding ground for future MMA legends to begin their journey to the top." 

 Laban MMA events are being planned in 10 Philippine cities: Baguio, Angeles City, Subic, Malolos Bulacan, Manila, Batangas, Boracay, Bacolod, Cebu and Davao are among the first Philippine MMA hotbeds that can expect to host a Laban MMA event.

 EJ Calvo, PXC’s CEO, reveals: “There’s a huge outcry from our fans and the MMA community in the Philippines for this league. The impact will be huge, and millions of new fans will be drawn to the sport as their hometown heroes compete for the opportunity to show their athletic skills and fighting spirit.”

 The first Laban MMA event will take place on August 16th in Batangas at the Lipa City Youth and Cultural Center. Updates on fight card for Laban MMA Batangas will be posted at

About Pacific X-treme Combat

Pacific X-treme Combat (PXC) was established in 2004 in the US island territory of Guam, and since then, has set the region on fire showcasing the highest level of MMA action on a consistent basis. Owned and operated by the Calvo family, PXC has produced over 40 professional events and 50 amateur shows in Guam and the Philippines, where PXC events consistency records over 700,000 viewers during live broadcasts, and thousands more during online stream.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Team Lakay Fighters Ready for Combat at PXC 44

While most Pinoy MMA fans will be paying close attention to Roldan Sangcha-an as he makes his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut in Auckaland, New Zealand, "The Executioner" will not be the only Pinoy fighter going in for combat over the weekend. Crisanto Pitpitunge (5-3) and Troy Bantiag (5-3), Sangcha-an's teammates from Team Lakay, will have their own bouts at PXC 44 this June 27th across the pond in Guam.

'The Slugger" Starting Road Back to the Title

Duenas vs. Pipitunge. Photo property of PXC.

Pipitunge, a former Pacific Xtreme Combat bantamweight champion, will be facing Josh Duenas (4-4) of Saipan in a three-round flyweight affair. With his most recent PXC outing resulting in a third-round submission lost at the  hands of Han Bin Park at PXC 41, fans can expect "The Slugger" to be looking to bounce back in dominant fashion and get his name back into title contention.

Duenas has evenly split the wins and losses of his total eight pro fights, with the most recent being a victory by way of submission. Despite the slightly lower win percentage, it must be taken not of that all four of Duenas' victories have come in the form of a stoppage. While a true challenge, Pinoy MMA fans can expect Pipitunge to go into battle in true Team Lakay fashion, backed by months of hardwork and an exceptional unwillingness to yield.

Bantiag Hunting for Big Win

Aguon v. Bantiag. Photo property of PXC.

Like Pipitunge, Bantiag will for the first time be competing outside of the Philippines, taking on Guam’s Kyle Aguon. While "The Hunter" will likely not have the live crowd's support going up against a Guam-based competitor, many can expect Bantiag to be fighting with a great sense of urgency as he looks to snap a two-fight losing skid with a victory in a bout with title implications.

Despite his last fight being a loss, Aguon last competed against current bantamweight champion Michinori Tanaka, and a win against Bantiag will immediately get him back in title contention. With different, yet both high, stakes in the fight for both competitors, many expect the great blend of speed and skill commonly associated with the lighter weight classed to be on full display for this bout.

Pacific X-Treme Combat 44.

Pacific X-treme Combat 44
Pacific Xtreme Combat 44 will be held on June 27 at the UOG Filedhouse in Mangilao, Guam, headlined by a five-round bout between Josh Calvo and Zebaztian Kadestam for the vacant PXC Welterweight Championship.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Another Team Lakay Standout Set to Make Octagon Debut

On June 28th, another exceptional Pinoy fighter will be making his debut in mixed martial art's biggest stage. Roldan Sangcha-an, a mixed martial artist from the famed Team Lakay, will have his first fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, taking on former TUF contestant Richie Vaculik in a three-round featherweight affair. The fight will be part of the preliminary card of UFC Fight Night 43: "Marquardt vs Te Huna", which will be held at the Vector Arena in Auckland New Zealand.

Roldan Sangcha-an

With a record of 4-0 as a pro, all victories of which came by way of stoppage, Sangcha-an was slated to fight for the Pacific Xtreme Combat (PXC) Featherweight title. That fight would eventually fall through, as Sangcha-an's opponent would have to withdraw after suffering an injury in training.

Tale of the Tape. Photo property of the UFC.

True to the adage good things come to those who wait and all things happen for a reason, Sangcha-an is now set to grace the Octagon for the very first time, and the third Team Lakay fighter to do so.

He takes on Richie "Vas" Vaculik (9-2), a former contestant of The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes, the season of the hit series in which Australian fighters were pit against those of England. During the show, Vaculik competed as a lightweight, but has since moved to the flyweight division, dropping his sole UFC bout to Justin Scoggins via TKO.

UFC Fight Night: Te Huna vs. Marquardt
Catch all the action of UFC Fight Night: Te Huna vs. Marquardt on June 28, 6:30pm Manila time, only on Balls Channel.