Philippine Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is on a rampage again this year, with our homegrown fighters delivering thunderous perfomances in the biggest MMA event ever held in the country – One Championship’s “Kings of Destiny,” which aired LIVE from the SM Mall of Asia Arena on S+A last April.
The card was loaded with Pinoy fighters from Baguio’s famed Team Lakay led by ONE Championship Lightweight champ Eduard Folayang. Folayang, Honorio Banario, Kevin Belingon, Danny Kingad, and Gina Iniong wore their hearts on their sleeves as they threw devastating strikes, debilitating takedowns, and suffocating submissions at their foes in a massive display of #PusongPalaban, fueled by the horde of screaming Filipino MMA fans.
It was a fight card for the books, and will be hard to beat in the near future. Good thing we have memories of that mammoth event immortalized for everyone to see.
5.) Gina Iniong successfully debuts in the ONE Championship ring
The lone female representative of Team Lakay in ONE Championship’s “Kings of Destiny” mega event made a good account of herself in scoring a unanimous decision over Filipino-Australian Natalie Gonzales Hills. It was Iniong’s debut in the Atomweight division of ONE and she exploded right out of the mats connecting with her right handed strikes repeatedly over Hills, who once shared the cage with Atomweight champ Angela Lee. Iniong even took down Hills for impressive assaults on the ground that led to her winning on all the judges’ scorecards.
4. Danny Kingad hurdles a battle of attrition
Everyone was looking forward to Danny Kingad fighting in the undercard. The Team Lakay stalwart had in his plate the former MIMMA champion, Muhammad “Jungle Cat” Aiman and it was a test for the flyweight fighter. The undefeated fighter took Aiman’s best shots but proved to be superior than the Bali MMA product when it came to close quarters combat, with Kingad landing the better shots overall. Kingad was able to hold on and secure the unanimous decision in the midst of the former champ’s triangle and armbar move.
3. Kevin Belingon’s merciless assault on Toni Tauru
Belingon had a shaky start. He executed a spinning back kick only to find his leg lodged in the crook of submission artist Tauru’s left arm. However, it turned out to be Belingon’s blessing as the Team Lakay fighter was able to get into close quarters with the Finnish who had a longer reach. “The Silencer” wasted no time in launching a barrage of punches to Tauru’s head, which eventually opened a cut. Like a shark smelling the blood of its victim, Belingon went for the jugular and hammered his foe until he verbally tapped out.
2. Honorio Banario rocks the Mall of Asia arena and destroys Jaroslav Jartim
It was the punch heard ‘round the arena. Honorio Banario delivered the “Fight of the Night” and a bone-crunching left that connected to Jaroslav Jartim’s jaw in the fight card. Nobody saw it coming. Banario, a knockout artist by trade, prepared for a long night against a versatile fighter in Jartim, who can go to his ground moves as well as a stand-up game. But the opportunity for a kill presented itself when “The Rock” planted a heart-stopper on Jartim to keep him at bay before detonating a left hook that knocked Jartim cold, dropping him like a log to the roar of approval by the crowd at the show of brute force by the Pinoy fighter.
1. Eduard Folayang’s stout defense of his Lightweight belt
The champ wasn’t the explosive beast that he was during the destruction of Shinya Aoki, where he utilized his massive advantage on strength as he pummeled the Japanese legend to grab his belt. Against Ev Ting, the “Landslide” came in the form of body crunching knees to Ting’s midsection who tried his darned best to bring the pride of Team Lakay to the ground, which is his strength. Folayang stood resolute and proceeded to smash again ang again on Ting’s ribcage, with Ting reduced to a pole resembling Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kun Do dummies. The champion eventually got some solid takedowns of Ting and a crushing spinning back fist which stunned the challenger. It was a display of Folayang’s versatility whether it be in an all-out brawl or one where his techniques are needed the most.
Were you pumped up after watching the heroic performances of our Filipino fighters? While we anticipate their next fights, catch the rest of the world’s best MMA athletes in action on “ONE Championship: Dynasty of Heroes,” airing live from Singapore on May 26, 8:30pm on S+A. Relive the cage wars in ONE Championship every Friday at 10:30pm on S+A, the home of ONE Championship in the Philippines.