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.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Happy International Women's Month: Pinay MMA to Feature Prominenty This March

Hot on the heels of Filipina-American mixed martial artist Ana "The Hurricane" Julaton making a successful return to boxing with a dominant performance over Yolanda Segura, a victory of which possibly sets her up for a future bout with IBF super bantamweight women's champion Yulihan Alejandra Luna Ávila, Filipina competitors look to further their success during this year's International Women's Month.

April Osenio Makes Professional MMA Debut

© ONE Championship

First up is the professional mixed martial arts debut of April Osenio at ONE Championship: Age of Champions. Osenio, an accomplished Wushu and grappling champion, will face Kirstie Gannaway in a three-round atomweight bout. While Osenio has yet to gain experience in the professional ranks, and Gannaway has only one pro-fight and victory under her belt, the bout proves interesting for a number of reasons.

First are the training teams the two fight out of. Osenio has been training for years under Team Lakay, considered by many to be the best MMA team in the Philippines. Notable team members include the long-time face of Philippine MMA Eduard "The Landslide" Folayang, first ever ONE Championship Featherweight Champion Honorio "The Rock" Banario, and rising Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight Mark Eddiva.

Gannaway on the other hand, trains at Evolve MMA. Based in Singapore, it is one of Asia's most recognized gyms, and has been the sight of training camps for MMA luminaries like DREAM and ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya Aoki, ONE Welterweight Champion Ben Askren, and former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin. Evolve is also the current home Filipino-American fighter and new ONE Championship bantamweight Mark "Mugen" Striegl.

The other intriguing aspect is how Osenio came in as a replacement for Jujeath "Bad Girl" Nagaowa. The latter was Gannaway's original opponent but had to bow out due to injury. With Nagaowa an accomplished boxer turned MMA-pro, it will be interesting how Gannaway adjusted preparing for Nagaowa to Osenio. It will be similarly intriguing how much Osenio has learned from her highly touted coaches and teammates.

For more on April Osenio's pro debut and how to watch, visit ONEFC.com.

The Veloxity Movement Hosts Veloxity FC 1: Stigma

© Veloxity Movement
The Veloxity Movement, or VMove, a women empowerment organization using sports as a catalyst for social change, hosts its first MMA-centered event with Veloxity FC 1: Stigma.

Happening on March 15th at the Fishermall Activity Center in Quezon City, Stigma is an all-female MMA event. It will have participants from many of the Philippines top training facilities, including Team Lakay, Hybrid Yaw-Yan, Team Goatlocker, and Submission Sports Philippines, just to name a few.

The day before the all-female MMA event will be the Velocity Fit Fest. Also held at the Fishermall Activity Center, it will feature a self-defense demonstration and the official weigh-ins for the competitors in Stigma.

© Veloxity Movement
Veloxity Movement describes itself as an organization whose "core advocacy is to encourage active community participation and engagement towards ending violence against women and girls while creating positive changes to existing harmful athletic gender stereotypes and fostering safe athletic environments." They look to take the first steps towards that advocacy in Veloxity FC 1: Stigma, their first of what hopes to be many successful events.

To learn more about the Veloxity Movement, visit VeloxityWoman.com.