PH’s Krisna Limbaga hopes to translate Muay Thai success in ONE Championship

Filipino female kickboxer Krisna Limbaga seeks to defy odds by translating her in-ring accomplishment into the ONE Championship cage as she makes her professional debut on Friday, 23 February.

In her first appearance as a ONE Championship athlete, Limbaga squares off with Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol of Indonesia in a three-round atomweight contest at ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD, which takes place at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.

Owning an impressive record of 35-5 in Muay Thai, Limbaga is now ready to carry over her wealth of combat experience and exceptional skills on the ultimate proving grounds of martial arts.

“I am very excited and little bit nervous for this upcoming bout,” she said. “This is my debut match as a pro and in ONE Championship. Everybody knows ONE Championship is a big event that draws huge audiences. I am training very hard for my bout to get the victory.”

The challenge of entering the mixed martial arts world seems to be inevitable for Limbaga, who is always looking for something to improve as a competitor and as a person.

“It’s an honor to represent the Philippines and to showcase my skills inside the cage,” she stated. “I’m getting better, getting stronger and learning more as day goes by.”

In deep training for her cage encounter with Gaol, the 28-year-old resident of Marikina City, Metro Manila is focused on learning all the disciplines that are necessary in her new martial arts journey.

“My training camp is progressing very well.​ I’ve had to learn how to mix up the different martial arts and how to put it all together into cohesive movements and strategies,” Limbaga shared about her training.

While Limbaga pins her hopes on a triumphant transition to mixed martial arts, her Indonesian opponent seeks the spoil the party by furnishing a statement win over the Filipina striker.

Gaol is an Indonesian national Wushu champion who has trained in various striking disciplines such as kickboxing and Wushu.

At ONE: KINGS OF COURAGE this past January, the 29-year-old native of Jakarta, Indonesia notched her first win under the ONE Championship banner with a first-round stoppage of Malaysia’s Audreylaura “Ice Comet” Boniface.

Gaol seeks to build momentum and begin her ascension up the atomweight division’s ranks at ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD.

Limbaga is well aware of the problems that she can present in the stand-up realm of the match against Gaol and fully intends to maximize those strengths.

“I’m expecting a good challenge. She is a strong warrior. I am preparing a solid defense against her, but of course, I am mixing in some offense as well. I am not sure if she will expect that I will add a twist to my game,” she explained.

“For this match, I think the strategy will flow once I am in the cage. I will just do my best to get the win, but also provide an exciting bout for the audience to enjoy,” Limbaga added.

Knowing that she has a future in the sport, Limbaga believes that a win over Gaol will lead her to the big names of ONE Championship’s 52.2-kilogram weight class.

“I want to be the best and to show the best that I can offer. Fighting is my life, and I love competing. A victory means that I’ll be facing tougher opponents in the future. I’m hungry for success,” she ended.

Martin Nguyen privileged to face legend Bibiano Fernandes

Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, who currently holds the ONE Featherweight World Championship and the ONE Lightweight World Championship, is putting all the stops as he attempts to snare a third world title on 24 March.

Nguyen will drop down in weight to challenge ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes for his title in the main event of ONE: IRON WILL, which takes place at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.

The 28-year-old Vietnamese-Australian dual titleholder is one of the most talked about martial artists in the world today after scoring scintillating knockout victory over the Philippines’ Eduard Folayang in November 2017 to become the first man in ONE Championship history to hold two world titles simultaneously in two different weight divisions.

Nguyen seeks to make history again as he shares the ONE Championship cage with Fernandes, who is widely considered one of the best martial artists in the world regardless of promotion.

For the past several months, Nguyen has been vocal about his desire to test his mettle against Fernandes, who made his ONE Championship debut back in 2012 and has remained unbeaten ever since.

According to Nguyen, facing Fernandes in a scheduled five-round bantamweight title encounter will serve as a standard of measure to determine if he is within the top-caliber rank in the sport.

“He is a legend. How I see it is he is at the top of the mountain. He is at the pinnacle of his career, and is one of the top bantamweight athletes in the world. I only want to test myself against the best,” he stated.

“Although I faced Eduard and won the second world title, I have to face the best now. I see Bibiano at the top of the mountain, and I am the underdog, like in every match. I am the lone wolf, and it is the lone wolf who is always hungrier, so I want to get to the top of the mountain and take him out,” Nguyen added.

Fernandes has not lost a match in seven years and is currently riding high on an astonishing 13-bout winning streak with victories over elite athletes such as Reece McLaren, Kevin Belingon and Dae Hwan Kim.

“He is an all-around martial artist, and he is a tough opponent. Not only do I want this match, but the fans want to see it. He has knockout power, he has slick Jiu-Jitsu, he has great cardio – he has it all. He is as complete of a martial artist you would want,” Nguyen said of Fernandes.

In preparation for the historic bout, Nguyen has methodically followed a strict diet to meet bantamweight division limit of 65.8 kilograms.

“My weight is on track. Everything is on track. My nutritionist has my body going up and down on a calorie deficit diet, and the kilos have been dropping off the past couple of months. I have dropped from 72kg to 68kg,” he shared.

Although he admitted that he could already feel the effect of the weight cut in training, Nguyen asserted that he trusts the entire process of his stringent diet plan.

“I am much more shredded, and my speed and cardio has picked up. You have to lose a little bit of strength, though — you’ve got to give and take. But we are working on my strength at the moment, so I do not lose too much. But as far as my speed and my timing go, it is on point, and when I start peaking, everything will fall into place,” he explained.

Aside from having a nutritionist to oversee his daily meals, Nguyen revealed that he invited a familiar face to his training camp as he tapped the services of McLaren.

McLaren nearly defeated Fernandes for the ONE Bantamweight World Championship in December 2016, ultimately losing by a razor-thin split decision.

“We even had Reece down here for a sparring session, and he has given me some tips on how he thinks Bibiano competes,” he bared.

“This was coach Fari Salievski’s idea. He was like, ‘Bibiano has faced Reece before, and we thought Reece won. So let’s get him down here and get his opinion.’ And it worked out in our favor,” Nguyen further detailed.

With a tall order in front of him at ONE: IRON WILL, Nguyen is confident that he is capable in cracking the code to defeat Fernandes.

“There is no pressure. I am 100 percent confident in this win, and it is not a matter of how I am going to do it, but when I am going to do it. At the start of the match, I will have to weather the storm, but I will take him out from there,” he declared.

Roel Rosauro ​relish​es chance to introduce Yaw-Yan on global stage

After years of strutting his wares in the local ranks, Filipino martial artist Roel “Akiyama” Rosauro finally gets his long-awaited break into the international scene as he is set to make his promotional debut in ONE Championship on 23 February.

Rosauro is slated to square off with Chinese prospect Li Kai Wen in a three-round featherweight bout on the undercard of ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD, which takes place at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.

The 29-year-old native of Cebu, Philippines stepped in as a replacement for compatriot Rodian Menchavez, who was forced to withdraw from his clash with Li at the aforementioned event due to an injury.

Rosauro is the fifth Cebuano to showcase his skills on Asia’s premier martial arts stage, following in the footsteps of Cary Bullos, Vaughn Donayre, Eugene Toquero and Jimmy Yabo.

“I was shocked, but I’m very happy because this is what I have been dreaming of, to reach this level,” he said. “I have waited for this opportunity for so long. This is a dream come true for me to compete on one of the sport’s biggest stages. I will fight not only for myself but also for the pride of my country.”

Holding a professional record of 4-1, Rosauro is a practitioner of the Filipino martial arts discipline Yaw-Yan, which was derived from the last two syllables of Sayaw ng Kamatayan meaning “Dance of Death.”

Yaw-Yan is a Filipino style of kickboxing, which was developed by the late grandmaster Napoleon “Nap” Fernandez to specifically suit the smaller Filipino body frame.

It closely resembles Muay Thai, but Yaw-Yan differs in the hip-torquing motion as well as the downward-cutting nature of its kicks with emphasis on delivering attacks from long range.

Rosauro sees his maiden appearance in ONE Championship as an opportunity to showcase Yaw-Yan in front of a worldwide audience as the live events of the organization are broadcasted to over 1.7-billion potential viewers across 136 countries.

“Yaw-Yan’s ultimate goal is to preserve, promote and continuously improve and further develop our very own Filipino martial arts. As I make my debut in ONE Championship on February 23, I have the chance and honor to formally introduce Yaw-Yan to the world and showcase its strength and beauty,” he stated.

Rosauro will pay his respects to Fernandez, who passed away this past January at the age of 92, by dedicating his international martial arts debut at ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD to Yaw-Yan’s deceased grandmaster.

“I wouldn’t be here at this point of my career if not for Yaw-Yan. Grandmaster Nap paved the way for all of us. Now that I am part of ONE Championship, I will honor his great work and represent Yaw-Yan on the global stage with pride,” he stressed.

Rosauro has honed his skills under the tutelage of Benigno “Ekin” Caniga Jr., the headmaster of the Cebu chapter of Yaw-Yan Ardigma.

As he steps inside the ONE Championship cage for the first time at ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD, Rosauro has been working on his ground game, which paid dividends when he won a silver medal at the recent Dumau International Jiu-Jitsu Tournament.

Rosauro believes that he has a tall order in front of him as the Filipino expects Li to capitalize on his experience

Li has already faced some of the best athletes in the promotion’s 70.3-kilogram weight class, including two-division world champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, who defeated him via first-round stoppage in April 2016.

“I’m putting pressure on my training because this came all of a sudden. He’s a striker and a brawler, and I think he’s also a champion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. But in this fight, I believe that he will be striking,” Rosauro shared.

Although he has a tough opposition on 23 February, Rosauro is confident that he could notch a decisive triumph in his favor.

“It is a difficult task, but I know deep in my heart that I can do it. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I am not here to waste it,” he ended.

Filipino MMA Veterans To Watch Out For

MMA in the Philippines may have only recently risen in popularity, but it has been around for quite some time.

While the Philippines was put on the combat sports map by the accomplishments of Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire, and Milan Melindo among others, the local talent isn’t quite limited to boxing. Even the famed Elorde Gym of boxing now has MMA fighters training with them.

The Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC) and Pacific Xtreme Combat (PXC) have regularly featured some of the best talents from the Philippines. Prospects and champions alike have moved to bigger international promotions later in their careers. Meanwhile, Team Lakay of Baguio has produced multiple champions and is considered one of the best MMA stables in the country.

Here’s a look at some of the best Filipino MMA veterans that are still competing in popular promotions:

Eduard “Landslide” Folayang
See Him At: ONE Championship
Fight Record: 18-6-0

The 33-year-old from Baguio has represented the Philippines in international wushu competitions as far back as 2002. In 2007, he made the transition to MMA and made waves in the local scene with the URCC and later in the international scene with Gorilla Warfare and Martial Combat. The Team Lakay product later moved to ONE Championship, where he continued his success and reached the pinnacle by winning the ONE Lightweight World Championship. Last November, he lost the title to the current champion, Martin Nguyen of Australia.

Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly
See Him At: ONE Championship
Fight Record: 10-4-0

The younger brother of another top Filipino MMA fighter in Eric “The Natural” Kelly, Edward is currently 4-1 since 2016, with all his wins coming by way of stoppages and his lone loss going all the way to the cards. Another product of Team Lakay, Kelly’s latest conquest came last January at ONE: Global Superheroes in front of a home crowd in the Mall of Asia Arena. The 33-year-old featherweight may have flown under the radar because of his more popular brother, but he has certainly earned every victory with skill and not by name.

Eric “The Natural” Kelly
See Him At: ONE Championship
Fight Record: 12-5-0

“The Natural” prides himself as not being part of a particular gym or stable and instead develops his own training regimen. The elder Kelly was a teammate of Folayang during their wushu days, but made the transition to MMA a little bit later. The 36-year-old started his MMA career blazing, going undefeated in his first nine fights. His first loss would be against fellow Filipino Honorio “The Rock” Banario for the inaugural ONE Featherweight World Championship, and while he would rebound from that loss with three straight victories (2 of which in ONE), he would suffer four straight defeats, with the latest one just this January in ONE: Global Superheroes.

Honorio “The Rock” Banario
See Him At: ONE Championship
Fight Record: 12-6-0

An undefeated URCC career with six wins all by way of stoppages saw Banario winning the promotion’s Lightweight Championship. The 28-year-old fighter of the famed Team Lakay moved to ONE Championship in 2012 where he would suffer his first career defeat. After getting his first win, he was given a chance to compete for the inaugural ONE Featherweight World Championship. There, he would notch Eric Kelly’s first career defeat. However, he wouldn’t be able to defend the title, as he stumbled with five straight losses. A move back to lightweight seemed to be what he needed as he is now rolling with a four-fight win streak.

Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon
See Him At: ONE Championship
Fight Record: 17-5-0

The 30-year-old was one of the first Team Lakay members, having been part of the group with the team’s founder, Mark Sangiao even before Team Lakay was officially formed. He dominated the competition in URCC, Marital Combat (MC), and Legend FC before suffering back to back losses in his first two fights with ONE Championship. He continued to impress despite alternating some wins and losses, and had the chance to compete for the championship against ONE Bantamweight Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes. While he would go on to lose that fight, he would rebound with a four-fight win streak, including an undefeated three wins in 2017 that earned him the honor of being one of ONE Championship’s top fighters of the year. He’s primed to get a rematch against Fernandes soon.

Mark “Mugen” Streigl
See Him At: URCC
Fight Record: 17-2-0

The 29-year-old Japanese-born Filipino-American fighter has been around, fighting in various promotions throughout the region. After eight months on the sidelines and six years away from the promotion, Streigl returned to URCC in 2017 and scored a triumphant return with a first-round submission of URCC veteran Andrew Benibe. The contender fighting out of Evolve MMA followed up the win with a unanimous decision victory against South Korean Gi Sung Kim last December, setting himself up for a potential clash with URCC Featherweight Champion Do Gyeom Lee in the near future.

Reydon “The Filipino Bolo Punch” Romero
See Him At: URCC
Fight Record: 12-7-0

The “Filipino Bolo Punch” is a former URCC Featherweight champion and is a product of URCC’s grass root MMA league, The University Challenge. The Yaw-Yan Kampilan fighter recently won an the opportunity to compete in a $1 Million South Korea-based ROAD FC tour by beating three other competitors in URCC. While he failed to advance in the round of 16, he showed that he’s capable of competing with the best.

ONE Championship launches global kickboxing league

ONE Championship™ (ONE), has announced its establishment of a professional kickboxing league that will feature feature elite talents from the discipline’s local and international scenes.

Named as ONE Championship Kickboxing, it aims to provide the world’s best martial artists a global platform to showcase Asia’s striking arts such as Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu, Wushu, Sanda, Silat, Lethwei, and more.

Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship, stated: “Over the years, ONE Championship has earned its reputation as the Home of Martial Arts by showcasing the most exciting authentic martial arts action on the planet. Asia has been the home of martial arts for 5,000 years, and we will now showcase Asia’s striking arts to fans from around the world. Featuring the best martial arts talent across the globe, ONE Championship Kickboxing aims to showcase Asia’s striking arts front and center as part of our ONE Championship live events. As a fan, you will see an array of Asia’s martial arts in action such as Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Kung Fu, Lethwei, and many others.”

ONE Championship Kickboxing will launch in Manila, Philippines at ONE: HEROES OF HONOR on 20 April at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Some of the warriors who have signed on with ONE Championship Kickboxing include top Muay Thai talents such as multiple-time Muay Thai world champions Petchboonchu FA Group, Nong-O Gaiyanghadao, Yodsaenklai Fairtex, Sam-A Gaiyanghadao, Singtongnoi Por Telakun, Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke, Sagetdao Petpayathai, Kwankhao Mor. Rattanabandit, Yodcherry Sityodtong, as well as international superstar world champions Giorgio Petrosyan, Fabio Pinca, Alain Ngalani, Regian Ersel, Sergej Maslobojev, and many others.

Sityodtong continued: “ONE Championship is dedicated to giving fans an authentic martial arts experience. We are proud to announce that the absolute best strikers in the world have chosen to continue their professional careers under the ONE banner. Fans will be treated to the most exciting kickboxing matches where the best face the best inside of both our ring and our cage. Some matches will be under standard international kickboxing rules in our ring, and other matches will be under modified hybrid striking rules in our cage. This is a game changer in the world of martial arts, and I am excited to kick things off this April.”

32-year-old Giorgio Petrosyan of Italy is known as one of the finest offensive talents in the world. Petrosyan began his professional Muay Thai career at the age of 16 competing between bantamweight and middleweight, winning multiple titles across each division. He sports a professional kickboxing record of 85-2-2, 2NC and is known for his incredible 6-year 42-bout win streak which is considered one of the most dominant reigns in middleweight history.

Petrosyan will face Jo Nattawut in his ONE Championship Kickboxing debut in April at ONE: Heroes of Honor in Manila.

“Smokin” Jo Nattawut of Korat, Thailand is a 25-year-old kickboxing star from Atlanta, Georgia with a professional kickboxing record of 60-11-2. A Lion Fight Super Welterweight Champion and WMC Champion, Nattawut is known for his powerful elbow and knee strikes.

Nattawut will make his ONE Championship Kickboxing debut opposite global superstar Giorgio Petrosyan.

ONE Championship Kickboxing was created to showcase world-class kickboxing in an authentic martial arts competition. It is designed to promote the purest form of world-class striking across all of Asia’s major martial arts.

For more updates on ONE Championship, please visit

Pierce joins Celtics legends as team retires his No. 34

BOSTON (AP) Paul Pierce used to walk onto the court at TD Garden and imagine seeing his number hanging from the rafters.

”The Truth” doesn’t have to dream about that day anymore.

The Celtics retired Pierce’s No. 34 on Monday (Manila time) following the Celtics’ 121-99 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He became the 23rd person in franchise history to have his number or name enshrined by the Celtics organization.

The honor capped a 19-year career for Pierce, who was named NBA Finals MVP in 2008 when the Celtics captured their 17th championship.

After the game, Pierce, clad in a green plaid blazer, entered the court via the newly named Paul Pierce Players’ Tunnel. The team said the tunnel, featuring Pierce’s signature, will serve as a reminder to current and future players of what ”being a Celtic” means.

When his jersey was raised, Pierce was serenaded with chants of ”Thank You, Paul Pierce!”

”This is just a special day,” Pierce said afterward. ”If I never make the Hall of Fame or anything, to go up in the rafters as a retired number for the Celtics – that’s just enough. That’s enough for me. … When you’re forever with the Celtics, you’re forever.”

The 40-year-old Pierce retired after last season. He tops the Celtics’ all-time lists in 3-pointers made (1,823), free throws (6,434) and steals (1,583).

He is Boston’s second all-time leading scorer with 24,021 points, trailing only John Havlicek. His 15 seasons also trail only Havlicek’s 16 for the longest stint with the team.

Current Celtics players gathered to watch the ceremony, and legends including Robert Parish, Cedric Maxwell and Tom ”Satch” Sanders sat on the court.

Pierce credited his mother, Lorraine Hosey, and brothers Jamal and Steve Hosey, for inspiring him.

”It starts at home. It starts where you come from,” Pierce said.

He later cried when acknowledging his wife, Julie, and their three children.

Pierce sat next to the 2008 championship trophy as the team showered him with tributes.

Along with having his number retired, Pierce also received a framed replica of the banner that his No. 34 will be added to, a Rolex watch, a piece of the Celtics’ parquet floor and a stained-glass backboard adorned with his number.

A weekend of festivities in honor of Pierce began with a private dinner hosted by the Celtics on Saturday night. Parish attended along with several of Pierce’s former teammates, including Antoine Walker, Walter McCarty, Brian Scalabrine and Leon Powe.

Pierce said the honors reminded him of how much he sacrificed during his career. He said being a Celtic was ”meant to be.”

During the game, the Celtics showed video segments that highlighted Pierce’s basketball journey. The clips went as far back as his Inglewood High School days and included interviews with friends, family and former teammates.

There were also surprise recorded tributes from NBA greats Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant. Pierce smiled as Bryant said in his message that Pierce made ”all the Celtics legends proud.”

Pierce sat courtside with his family and Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck. Former Celtics coach Doc Rivers and teammates Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo – all part of the 2008 title run – sat together nearby.

Rivers told the crowd about conversations he and Pierce used to have about the day his number would be retired. He said the 2008 championship solidified Pierce’s status as an all-time great in Boston.

”I just think it always cements it. When you win a title you become a main man, and that made Paul,” Rivers said. ”He would have had this night regardless of winning the title, but winning the title makes this day pretty special.”

A touching moment came near the end of Pierce’s speech when his son, Prince, placed a No. 34 cap atop the 2008 trophy.

”I did the trifecta,” Pierce said. ”I left a legacy. I had my high school jersey retired. My college jersey retired. But there’s no greater honor than having your NBA jersey retired for the Boston Celtics.”

Ancajas keeps himself ‘real’ in spite of burgeoning fame

Jerwin Ancajas’ latest win against Israel Gonzales via technical knockout in Corpus Christi, Texas has sent shockwaves once again in the world of boxing as he continues to further cement his status in sport’s elite level.

In spite of his rapid rise to fame, Jerwin Ancajas tells the media during his visit in Taguig (to show support to both competitors, Muhamad Ridhwan and Jeson Umbal, who are headlining for Ringstar’s “Roar of Singapore 4”) that he is keeping himself grounded by being “true to himself”.

He also keeps in his mind to be always thankful of the people who support and show recognition to him because he believes that even though he was able to attain notable success and achievements in his career, he believes he doesn’t deserve that much level of attention.

When the prospect for his next most probable fight against fellow Filipino fighter Jonas Sultan was touched upon, Jerwin treated the prospect in a professional manner giving credit to Sultan’s good performance and equally high-level of fighting ability to reach the point of being a title holder.

At the same time, Ancajas pointed that if ever their paths are meant to cross to be able to retain their respective titles and go to the next level, then he’ll just have to accept the challenge and do his best with no hard feelings – approaching the fight fully in a sporting sense.

But that doesn’t mean that he relishes on the prospect of going head-to-head against his countryman as he stated in the vernacular, “If only I have a choice, I would prefer going against a fighter of different nationality than a fellow Filipino.”

In closing, Jerwin told the media that he is taking the opportunities to the fullest as they come and he’s just waiting for his management on the next bout that will be confirmed from his three-fight contract with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions.

With the current mindset Jerwin Ancajas has at the moment, greater things are yet to come.

12 Emerging Filipino MMA Fighters

The growing popularity of MMA has given rise to a new generation of Filipino fighters who once thought that boxing was the only way to go. 

Manny Pacquiao may be the biggest combat sports star that has ever come out of the Philippines. “Pacman” captured the nation and the world’s hearts with his inspiring story of resilience, coming from obscurity and overcoming all the challenges he faced in life and the boxing ring in order to cement his place in sports history.

However, the rise of MMA as a sport has given these youth and even current boxers a new path to tread.

US-based Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the globally-recognized MMA organization, gave rise to Filipino-American fighters Brandon “The Truth” Vera and Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz. These fighters stood toe to toe with the top contenders in the promotion, and helped draw mainstream attention to the sport in the Philippines. As an avenue for local fighters, Filipino BJJ Black belt Alvin Aguilar founded the Philippine-based Universal Reality Combat Championships (URCC) in 2002. They held events in various provinces in the Philippines, and hit a milestone last year when they held their first international event in San Francisco, California with URCC 29: Conquest.  In the Asian region, Singapore-based ONE Championship has established itself as Asia’s largest global sports media property, and features fighters from different parts of the globe.

These are some of the promotions have helped boost MMA’s mainstream popularity and established the Philippines as one of the top sources of MMA talents in the world. While they may not be as big as “Pacman” is today, here are some emerging Filipino fighters that you could watch out for:

Ariel “The Notorious” Lampacan
See Him At: URCC
Fight Record: 4-1-0

The young fighter from Benguet was exposed to Muay Thai early with his father and older brothers all practitioners of the sport. He recently bagged the WMC Asia Bantamweight Championship Belt in the World Muay Thai Charity Fight held at the Kowloon Bay International Trade & Exhibition Center in Hong Kong. Back home, he’s one of the fastest rising stars of the URCC, scoring four straight knockout victories in the promotion. His lone loss happened in his professional debut, a pocket tournament by the famed Team Lakay – Team Lakay Championship 10 – back in 2016.

Danny Kingad
See Him At: ONE Championship
Fight Record: 7-1-0

After a two-fight stint with Guam-based Pacific Xtreme Combat (PXC), Kingad strutted his wares in ONE, where he carried over his success, winning three straight fights in the flyweight division. The 22-year-old got a rare opportunity to compete for the championship, facing ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano Moraes last November. Unfortunately, he would fall short, ultimately submitting to the champion, who improved his record to 17-2, including nine submissions.

Dave Banguigui
See Him At: URCC
Fight Record: 4-1-0

Banguigui is on a two-fight win streak at the URCC flyweight division, most recently winning via unanimous decision over fellow Filipino Ariel Olivero last December. While he has yet to face international competition, Banguigui seems to be well on his way to more opportunities if he can keep his hot streak going.

Drex “T-Rex” Zamboanga
See Him At: URCC
Fight Record: 7-2-0

The URCC Bantamweight Champion emerged victorious against Rex “The T-Rex” De Lara in the “Battle of the T-Rex during URCC: BETS 3 to claim his spot at the top. Zamboanga, a standout in the URCC, has so far bested his fellow compatriots, with his two losses coming from Japanese fighter Hideo Morikawa and South Korea’s Do Gyeom Lee. It will be interesting to watch how he will defend his title against the top competition of the URCC.

Fritz Aldin Biagtan
See Him At: URCC
Fight Record: 4-0-0

The 22-year-old atomweight fighter from Manila has been impressive thus far, going undefeated in his first four fights. He debuted in a big way for URCC, winning the URCC Atomweight title by way of knockout in the first round. He followed that up with a knockout victory in his title defense last August in URCC 30.

Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio
See Him At: ONE Championship
Fight Record: 10-6-0

Currently the only Filipino champion in ONE, Eustaquio won the interim ONE Flyweight World Championship against his most recent conqueror, Kairat Akhmetov. The 28-year-old is expected to unify the championship against the current ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano Moraes.

Jenel “The Demolition Man” Lausa
See Him At: UFC
Fight Record: 7-4-0

The 29-year-old from Iloilo competed in PXC for six years and won the promotion’s vacant Flyweight Title in 2016. He got a break after being tapped to roll with former UFC flyweight contender John Dodson during Dodson’s media tour in Manila. He won his first fight in the UFC, but failed to replicate his success in his next two fights. He’s one of the few fighters to make it in the UFC.

Jeremy “The Jaguar” Miado
See Him At: ONE Championship
Fight Record: 6-2-0

One of the many fighters inspired by Pacquiao, the 24-year-old from Bicol started his combat sports career as a boxer, but couldn’t continue as a professional due to the lack of promoters in the region. He made the transition to MMA in 2016 and jumped to an undefeated six-fight win streak, including a championship win on Blaze FC’s first event in Manila. He has since taken his talents to ONE, where he has suffered his first two defeats.

Jomar Pa-ac
See Him At: Brave CF
Fight Record: 5-1-0

The Team Lakay standout is currently fighting at Bahrain-based Brave Combat Federation. After going 3-1 in local tournaments with Team Lakay Championship and PXC, Pa-ac is now showing off his skills in Brave CF, scoring back-to-back wins, with the most recent one in March 2017.

Jomary Torres
See Her At: ONE Championship
Fight Record: 4-0-0

Arguably the fastest-rising female star in Philippine MMA, Torres has gone undefeated in three fights in ONE. The 21-year-old came out of her province of Dipolog to Manila with the goal of helping earn money for her grandmother as a nanny. She was somehow led to a life in combat sports and became a full time fighter in 2015. In her debut match in ONE, she stunned the much-heralded Rika Ishige of Thailand with a submission. Most recently, she scored a surprising slam knockout against fellow Filipina April Osenio.

Rene “D’ Challenger” Catalan
See Him At: ONE Championship
Fight Record: 4-2-0 1 No Contest

At 39, Catalan isn’t exactly an emerging talent. However, his late transition to the sport made him one of the newest stars of MMA. An accomplished wushu practitioner, Catalan founded the Catalan Fighting System in 2013 and proceeded to transition into MMA. While he would fall in his first two fights in ONE, Catalan is now on a four-fight win streak, most recently knocking out Chinese national wrestling champion Xuewen Peng last January.

Stephen “The Kid” Loman
See Him At: Brave CF
Fight Record: 8-2-0

A product of the famed Team Lakay of Baguio, Loman became the first Asian to compete for a championship in the Bahrain-based Brave Combat Federation back in November. He defeated Canada’s Gurdarshan Mangat for the inaugural Bantamweight Championship of the promotion to stretch his current win streak to four.

Alvarez on UFC lightweight belt

Eddie Alvarez has detailed a sound theory on why the UFC are yet to strip Conor McGregor of the lightweight title.

McGregor won the UFC lightweight belt way back in November of 2016 and is yet to defend the title.

Strangely, the UFC have not stripped him of the division’s crown despite his inactivity.

Furthermore, at a rather confusing press conference earlier this month in Boston, the UFC confirmed that Tony Ferguson would face Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event of UFC 223 on April 7th in Brooklyn.

While it was claimed that the winner of Ferguson vs Nurmagomedov would be the new champion rather than an interim titleholder, UFC president Dana White told the gathered media that Conor McGregor had not been stripped of the title.

What’s more, White refused to even say definitively that McGregor would be stripped of the title before UFC 223.

The implication is that there could well be two lightweight champions at the same time!

There have been all sorts of explanations as to what is going on.

Here are Alvarez’s views: “What’s going on is, this fight (Ferguson vs Nurmagomedov) is 0 for 3. They’re not going to strip Conor of a belt and then have a vacant title for a fight that’s 0 for 3.

“They have not been able to make this fight. Every time they book it, they’re not able to make the fight – either Khabib gets hurt or Tony gets hurt or someone gets hurt.

“So, I think what the UFC is thinking is – this fight is not going to happen. It’s very unlikely that it’s going to happen, so they’re not going to strip the champion and then have this fight fall through and then not have a champion.

“So, I think the day of the weigh-ins, they’re going to strip McGregor and it’s going to make really big news. Then they’re going to have a title fight, that’s also going to make big news, so it’s going to make for a lot of publicity in one day. That’s my theory.”

Ronda Rousey makes the switch to WWE

Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has agreed to join WWE as a full-time professional wrestler.

The news comes after Rousey made a shock appearance at the WWE’s Royal Rumble in Philadelphia on Sunday.

Rumours of a move into wrestling have been circulating for some time, but these were confirmed when Rousey showed up on Sunday.

She didn’t say anything to the audience, but pointed to the Wrestlemania sign, a motion taken as an indication she wants to fight for the gold.

The switch was confirmed later in an interview released by ESPN, Rousey said: “This is my life now. First priority on my timeline for the next several years. This is not a smash-and-grab; this is not a publicity stunt.”

“When I first met with Triple H, I told him, ‘There are other things I can do with my time that’ll make way more money, but I won’t enjoy nearly as much.'”

“It’s funny – it’s kind of like acting, in that it was something I always wanted to do but I never thought was in the cards for me,” Rousey said. “And now that I realize I really do have this opportunity, I feel like my 6-year-old self would totally kick my ass if I didn’t take it.”

The 30-year old was a trailblazer in MMA and for UFC, but has now thrown in her lot with the WWE after losing her last two fights to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes.