Sunday, July 26, 2015

ONE Championship Announces Events for the Remainder of 2015. Will the Manila Card Be Where Eric Kelly Fights Again?

 ©ONE Championship

Two day prior to their Kingdom of Warriors card held in Yangon, Myanmar last July 18, mixed martial arts promotion ONE Championship announced the dates of six upcoming events which will fill out the remainder of 2015. Shows have been booked to take place in Shanghai, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, and the promotion’s base of Singapore.

Pinoy fight fans can look forward to ONE closing out the year as they always do on December 11th, where the promotion will once again hold a card in Manila.

While the Singapore-based promotion is known to prominently feature homegrown fighters of the country they are currently holding an even in, the recently announced schedule now begs the question, is this where we see the return of Pinoy fighter Eric “The Natural” Kelly?

Eric Kelly declared the victor versus Rob Lisita at "War of Dragons."
 ©ONE Championship.
Kelly was last seen gracing the ONE cage July of last year, at ONE's "War of Dragoons" event, where he took on “Rutless” Rob Lisita and earned an impressive come-from-behind victory against the elite Australian mixed martial artist. In the fight, Kelly submitted Lisita after a brutal war, where he effectively earned a performance bonus, and what was then a guaranteed title shot for the ONE Featherweight title.

Unfortunately, the injured nose Kelly sustained in the fight against Lisita prevented him from being medically cleared to challenge then-champion Koji Oishi later that August. By the time he was ready to contend, a new champion had emerged in Jadamba Narantungalag, who originally replaced the injured Kelly as contender months before.

Slated to be the title bout for the December 2014 “Warriors Way” card of ONE in Manila, Kelly's shot did not push through due to a failure in contract negotiations. Reports have indicated that Kelly was unsatisfied with the low fight purse offered, which was reported to be significantly lower than that of other top fighters.

Due to the impasse, Kelly had remained inactive in MMA, and it was then thought that his contract with ONE had expired in March. However, it seems it was merely put on hold, and numerous news outlets have reported in this past week that the fighter is eager to finish the said contract.

It has yet to be determined if it will be finished via a buyout or termination, or if Kelly will compete in whichever number of fights remain. Most fight fans in the Philippines would unquestionably want to see Kelly compete again, especially if it were in the December 2015 card of ONE Championship.

For now however, we wait, and hope that “The Natural” finds himself in the best situation possible, both from a financial and competitive standpoint.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My UFC Manila Experience

The UFC finally made it's way to Manila. Let's get it on!

The world's most popular mixed martial arts promotion had finally made it's way to the country and not only did it deliver but it provided Filipino fight fans with an experience of a lifetime.

From pillar to post, the UFC and its various sponsors provided many opportunities to meet and greet the fighters and UFC ambassadors that they flew in to promote the event.

It was such a great experience getting to watch our own local and fil-am fighters lock horns with international fighters, but most of all the win by the retiring "Filipino Wrecking Machine" Mark Munoz really brought the house down. Oh, and just watching Urijah Faber and Frankie Edgar fight had me breathing hard.

Kudos to all the fighters and you gave us all great fights.

Here's a run down of my UFC experience from fight week to the fights themselves.

Meet and Greet with Bryan Caraway and Miesha Tate at Solaire Resort and Casino

Meet and Greet with UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson and
UFC Manila ring girl Red Dela Cruz at Watch Republic 

Attended the weigh-ins

With my wife and bro at the weigh-ins

Mighty Mouse and Miesha Tate doing a Q&A before the weigh-ins
Fight Night "Let's Get It On!"
Thank you Solaire Resort and Casino and Watch Republic for the opportunity to meet and greet the fighters and for bringing us a great UFC experience.

Great job and thank you UFC for coming to Manila!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

It's Official: "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" Will Compete in UFC Fight Night Manila

At the official on-sale event for UFC Fight Night Manila, it was announced that "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" Mark Munoz (13-6) will compete at the May 16 event against "The Big Slow" Luke Barnatt (8-2). Munoz was last seen in the Octagon at UFC 184, where he unfortunately dropped a submission loss to UFC-returnee Roan Carneiro.

That would serve as the third straight defeat for Munoz, as he was also previously defeated by Lyoto Machida and Gegard Mousasi. For many pundits it seemed like this would be it for the former Oklahoma State University wrestling standout.

The Filipino Wrecking Machine... doing some... well... wrecking. ©UFC
However. there is "Filipino" in "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" for a reason, and Mark would not go out until getting to fight for his fans and relatives in his homeland. With that said, we can all expect Mark Munoz to rely on his amateur wrestling work ethic and Filipino tenacity to pull out all the stops in getting this next win.

A win, apparently, that will be his last. It was also reported during the event that this will be Mark Munoz's final fight in the Octagon.

The warrior that he is, what could be his final win will not be easy to get. His opponent, Luke Barnatt, has also lost his last two, and a fight scheduled for April 4th with fellow The Ultimate Fighter alum Clint Hester was cancelled due to Hester suffering a foot injury.

Luke Barnatt. ©UFC
Standing at 6-feet-6-inches, Barnatt was introduced to taekwondo at age 15, but mostly competed in wrestling before training mixed martial arts. Prior to his recent two losses, Barnatt won eight straight, and on the heels of a fight cancellation, can be expected to wanting to play spoiler in Munoz's homeland retirement fight.

At the UFC Manila On-Sale Event / © Karl Vernon
***As a person who's had the honor and pleasuer of meeting Mark Munoz on three separate occasions, I wish nothing but the best for Mark in May and beyond. He's one off the most affable guys one can meet, always gracious to his fans despite how insanely popular he is. So thanks Mark, and I'll undoubtedly be rooting for you in everything you do.

UFC Fight Night Manila is scheduled for May 16 and will happen at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. The main event is a five-round featherweight bout between Frankie "The Answer" Edgar and "The California Kid" Urijah Faber.