Last night, our Pinoy Fighters showed why we are the most resilient race in the world. All 4 Pinoy fighters came out on top of their bouts giving the MMA fans reasons to feel an overwhelming sense of pride.
Catalan started out with a win then Pacio followed with a unique way to make his opponent submit then Folayang showed the Crowd that there was definitely a lot more to expect from him. Finally, Bellingon had the crown going when he won against Nguyen, ending Nguyen's dream of owning 3 belts all at the same time.
In the main event of ONE: REIGN OF KINGS, Filipino dynamo Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon derailed Martin Nguyen’s goal to become a three-division world champion by outclassing the ONE Featherweight and Lightweight World Champion with his striking superiority. With his hometown crowd cheering behind him, Belingon effortlessly picked Nguyen apart in the stand-up, jolting the two-division titleholder with stunning left hooks and perfectly-executed spinning back kicks. In the end, all three judges scored the bout in favor of Belingon to win by unanimous decision after an intense five-round affair, bringing home the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Championship.
Kevin Belingon, ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion, stated: “I can’t explain this feeling, I’m the happiest athlete tonight. Thank you to all the people who came out to support me, and of course to ONE Championship, my team, my coaches and trainers, and my teammates. To Martin [Nguyen], it was an honor fighting you. You’re such a great athlete and champion. I trained very hard for this fight, just to get this belt. I’m proud to be a champion representing the Philippines. My friend Bibiano [Fernandes], I respect him as a champion, but we’re in the same weight class and I’m the top contender. So there is no escape in facing me. I hope you recover fast and we can make the fight this year.”
Hometown hero Eduard “Landslide” Folayang of Baguio City, Philippines turned in another complete performance, earning a unanimous decision win over previously unbeaten Aziz Pahrudinov of Russia. Folayang operated behind a relentless stream of leg kicks that left Pahrudinov hampered throughout the three-round contest. Connecting on his combinations with laser-like precision, Folayang dominated the bout as the three judges sitting cageside awarded him the victory.
Former ONE World Title challenger Joshua “The Passion” Pacio of the Philippines notched his third-straight victory, authoring a spectacular submission victory over rising Thai superstar Pongsiri Mitsatit in the first round. After an emphatic slam to the canvas, Pacio finished the job with a straining armlock, leaving Mitsatit with no other choice but to tap.
Filipino martial arts veteran Rene Catalan emerged as an early crowd favorite, bringing the Mall of Asia Arena crowd to their feet with a rousing performance. Over the course of three rounds, Catalan exhibited dynamic striking, feints, sweeping low leg kicks, and a powerful left hook that had highly-regarded opponent Stefer Rahardian of Indonesia in trouble on multiple occasions. In the end, all three judges scored the bout in favor of Catalan to win by unanimous decision.
I can't wait to see what the rest of 2018 has for our Pinoy fighters. One thing I know is that they have just started. Soon, they will rule MMA.