The URCC is the most prestigious promotion in the Philippines and next weekend's card will be one of the very best it has put on in its 11 year history. Five titles will be on the line but arguably the best fighter in action on the night is unbeaten lightweight Honorio Banario.
Banario is a member of Team Lakay Wushu which is home to no fewer than four URCC champions who between them have only ever lost one fight. Roy Docyogen (9-0) has the pinweight belt, Kevin Belingon (9-0) has the bantamweight belt and Eduard Folayang (10-1) has the welterweight belt.
The 155 lbs strap belongs to Banario who only began competing professionally last year but has already compiled a formidable record of 5-0. He attributes much of his success to the training he receives in Baguio from head coach Mark Sangiao and his team,
"Training here in Baguio is the best because the temperature is good, it is a high altitude training ground. It is where I live and more comfortable. Having Eduard (Folayang) here has helped me a lot because he is skillful so when we spar, he always pressure me. We are sparring partners and when one of us has a fight we always spar together."
At URCC XX Banario will be defending his unbeaten record against Partrick Manicard. He was originally scheduled to take on Sabah Fadai but the Canadian was on the receiving end of a brutal beating at MFC 31 earlier this month which forced him to withdraw. Manicard is a Muay Thai fighter who will be making his professional MA debut but Banario is not expecting an easy ride,
"I think Patrick has a good striking. I've seen one of his fights in Muay Thai where he won so i don't want to under estimate his capacity,so when i step in the ring to face him i'll do everything i trained for to win. Sabah Fadai had to cancel because, according to his camp he was injured, but I am excited to be defending my title against a taller opponent who will be different from my past opponents, more challenging."
Manicard stands at 6"0' which will give him a height advantage. However Banario has faced some tough opponents in the past, winning the title courtesy of a submission win over the previously unbeaten Angelito Manguray in the ninth minute of the second round of their fight at URCC 19.
His first title defence ended more abruptly with a Wushu style kick to the face knocking out Alcer Lozada at URCC 'Davao Digman'. It is the type of spectacular stoppage which will have promoters licking their lips at the prospect of putting Banario on one of their cards. Both the URCC and Team Lakay Wushu have signed up to the One FC Network and this seems like an obvious destination for Banario,
"I saw the first One FC show and it was very exciting, Manong Eduard fought really well and showed the heart of a champion. He is my inspiration to do good in my career. I really want to fight in One FC in the future because it is the biggest promotion in Asia."
For the time being Banario has his sights firmly set on the sixth consecutive stoppage win of his career. With four submissions and one KO he has the well rounded skill set we have come to expect from the Team Lakay Wushu fighters including unconventional stand up, explosive take downs and a solid ground game.
His late win over Manguray also showed the sort of stamina and never say die attitude for which Folayang has forged a reputation. Banario, who began training Muay Thai when he was 17 and has also trained in boxing, Sanda and, of course, Wush is probably not as well known as some of his team mates but if he keeps finishing fights that will soon change.
URCC XX is taking place on November 3rd at the World Trade Centre in Pasay City and features a stellar card with the following fights on offer:
Rodel Orais vs Jilmar Tangayan
Mac Sabiano vs Pete Brooks
Andrew Benibe vs Sulpiano Laurio
Honorio Banario vs Patrick Manicad (for Banario's Lightweight Title)
Lando Espinosa vs Adam Cacay
Will Chope vs Jerson Estoro
Dexter Mistades vs Froilan Sarenas (for Sarenas' Middleweight Title)
Ryan Palinawan vs Igor Subora (for vacant Heavyweight Title)
Nicholas Mann vs Christian Luna (for vacant Light Heavyweight Title)
Reydon Romero vs Jessie Rafols (for Rafols interim Bantamweight Title)
Anyone interested in Honorio Banario should sign up to his official facebook fanpage.
For more information about URCC XX visit the URCC website.