Baguio City-based Team Lakay mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters, whose rigorous training has entered the final two weeks, are extra motivated and dedicating their fight to the victims of typhoon Yolanda.
“We are dedicating our fight to the victims of Yolanda. Gusto namin sila mapasaya sa aming laban kaya doble ang aming ensayo ngayon (We want them to be happy with our fight that’s why we are training double time),” declared Honorio “The Rock” Banario, who will be fighting Japanese Koji Oishi in a much-awaited rematch on Dec. 6 at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena.
The card, presented by ONE Fighting Championship (ONE FC), Asia’s largest mixed martial arts organization, also features four other Team Lakay fighters, who are out to redeem glory for the country after suffering defeats early this year in the same venue.
Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, the country’s top Lightweight mixed martial artist and former URCC welterweight champion, will battle seasoned Dutch-Indonesian striker Vincent Latoel; Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon will face undefeated Spaniard David Aranda Santacana; and Geje Eustaquio will square off with tough Filipino Eugene Toquero.
The fighters said while they would want to help out in whatever way they could for the typhoon victims, they could not do it now because of the forthcoming fight.
Focus na kami sa laban. Matitindi na ang ensayo at conditioning namin (We are already focused. Our training and conditioning is getting intense),” the soft-spoken Banario said.
Banario, who has an aggressive, all-action style, is bent on getting back his title from Oishi, who shocked the hometown crowd with a knockout win over the Filipino last May at the MOA Arena.
“Wala na ako ibang inisip noon kundi kung kailan kami ulit lalaban (Nothing has occupied my mind after my defeat except to think about when we will fight again),” he added.
Folayang, who already suffered two successive defeats, said he won’t allow to be beaten this time.
“Mas maganda ang training ko ngayon. Nag focus kami sa area na kung saan mahina kami (I have a good training program this time. We focused on an area where we are weak),” said Folayang, the former South East Asian Games gold medalist in wushu. He also won the silver medal in the 2006 Doha Asian Games and bronze medals in both the World Wushu Championship and Busan Asian Games.
Current Malaysian MMA National Featherweight Champion AJ Mansor has said Folayang’s defeats have been caused by his extended international exposure, which enabled opponents to scout and be familiar with his fighting style.
Folayang said he has added more fighting techniques and is being coached on wrestling and grappling. “We are becoming more familiar about wrestling because of our Iranian wrestling coach.”
“My opponent is also good on striking but I can beat him,” he said. Belingon said the fans should expect a good fight from him. “I’m a complete fighter now.”
He said he is aware that his opponent is tough and an undefeated combatant but he is preparing for it.
“Double ang ensayo ko ngayon. Nag dagdag ako ng fight techniques at mayron ako endurance training. Pinag-eensayuhan ko sya ng husto para talunin ko sya (I doubled my training this time. I added on my fight techniques and I have an endurance training. I am training hard to beat),” Belingon stressed.
He said he wants to be the number one bamtamweight contender in order to fight for a title in the future.
Eustaquio said he is a more rounded fighter than Toquero but he is not taking chances.
“I am dedicating my fight to the victims of the typhoon. I will give a good fight,” Eustaquio said.