3 PH fighters show wares in ONE FCBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—For mixed Martial Arts in the Philippines, it doesn’t get any bigger than this.
With three topnotch Filipino fighters vowing to put up strong performances, the ONE FC Pride of a Nation event tonight at Smart Araneta Coliseum promises to be an explosive show.
Filipino fighters Eric Kelly, Eduard Folayang and Kevin Belingon face foreign opponents in the biggest MMA fight card to be staged in the country.
The unbeaten Kelly, a former taxi driver and stunt man, faces his toughest test yet in American MMA legend Jens Pulver in a featherweight match, while Belingon squares off with Korean Kim Soo-chol.
Folayang collides with Japanese Felipe Enomoto in the main supporting fight.
Australian Gustavo Falciroli, the reigning Cage Fighting Championship titlist, and Dream champion Bibiano Fernandes of Brazil clash in the main event.
Perhaps the most anticipated fight in the card is the fourth clash between heavyweights and former Ultimate Fighting Championship titlists Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski.
Sylvia lost the first fight, before winning the next two against the Belarusian.
The two looked ready to get it on at yesterday’s weigh-in, staring each other down for a good one minute, before officials stepped in.
“I want to beat him so bad,” said the 33-year-old Arlovski. “I want my revenge.”
Folayang said the fights give them a chance to prove their worth before their countrymen.
“We want to prove that we are also good at MMA, not just in boxing,” said Folayang, a former Southeast Asian Games wushu gold medalist.
The fight card will also have three members of the acclaimed Gracie clan from Brazil in brothers Rolles, Igor and Gregor.
Rolles, the oldest of the three, tangles with Australian Tony Bonello in a heavyweight showdown, while Igor clashes with Korean Cha Joon-hwang.
Gregor will fight Australian Nicholas Mann in the undercard, where former UFC talent Phil Baroni will also duel Brazilian Rodriga Ribeiro.
The other fights pit Mitch Chilson against Shannon Wiratchai and Andrew Benibe against Honorio Banario.