If it was still in question before, URCC XIX: Collision left no doubt in everyone's minds that Team Lakay Wushu is the premier MMA team in the Philippines. Lakay MMA already houses multiple URCC champions including the country's most famous star in Eduard Folayang, and last Saturday night, they stamped their dominance and added another fighter to that list. Not only did champions Kevin Belingon (9-0), and Roy Docyogen (9-0) keep their unblemished records in impressive fashion, their team added another title holder as Honorio Banario (4-0) choked out Karate expert, and Martial Combat veteran, Angelito Manguray (4-1) to win the URCC lightweight crown.
All in all, it was a great night of fights that kept Filipino fight fans at the edge of their seats for majority of the night. Bloody Elbow was on site for the event, and here's a recap of the exciting moments from the evening.
In the headlining bout, URCC Pinweight champ, Roy "The Punisher" Docyogen took on the very young and always exciting Alvin "Sindikato" Ramirez in a rematch of their 2009 championship bout. Ramirez, who is a product of Yaw Yan Buhawi, first made a name for himself in the Amateur ranks and gained more notoriety by finishing off his past few opponents in swift and impressive fashion. Ramirez was doing well early, throwing a bunch of kicks and power shots, while Docyogen took a couple of takedowns and controlled Ramirez on the first. The second round was spent mostly standing, and while Alvin had his moments and put up a great fight, it was Docyogen who kept on landing brutal leg kicks, which took a toll on his opponent as the fight went on. The Wushu expert looked more skilled overall, but that didn't deter Ramirez, who looked much improved from their first fight. He landed some strong shots, spinning kicks, and definitely got his licks in despite taking several hard leg kicks that slowed him down. "Sindikato" fought his heart out for 20 minutes, but in the end, Docyogen was just too tough and too good, and he ended up taking a decision in a very exciting bout.
The co-headlining bout was an excellent stylistic battle for the lightweight championship. It was Karate vs. Wushu, as the young Team Lakay prospect, Honorio Banario took on the champion, Angelito Manguray, a 45-year-old karate expert, who has been doing a 'Randy Couture' - defying father time, and cleaning house on opponents nearly half his age. As always, Manguray started out in his Karate stance, and immediately showed his superiority standing up, landing a couple of hard shots hurting his opponent a few times in the first round. Banario though, showed again how Wushu is a good base for MMA, as when he wasn't doing so well standing, he relied on that base, using clinch takedowns to take the champion down multiple times in the first. He wore out his opponent on the ground, and as the second started, a combination of being more patient with his combinations, and the damage Manguray took in the first, made Banario start landing more. He won the striking exchanges, which eventually led to a takedown, and a rear naked choke victory. The bout, which showed Banario's ability to follow coaching and adjust mid-fight, crowned yet another champion for Team Lakay stable.
One of the country's top stars, Kevin Belingon was supposed to take on former KOTC champion, Ryan Diaz in a 135 lb. super-fight that would've been one of the biggest fights in the URCC, but when Diaz got injured, Isaac Tuling, a featherweight who is undefeated in the URCC, stepped in to take on the Wushu fighter. The fight showed Belingon in the most patient I have ever seen him in. He remained at a distance, throwing a ton of unorthodox kicks that varied from the leg, body and head. Seeing this, Tuling tried to stay in the pocket and counter with a big shot every time Belingon threw a kick, but "The Silencer" was just too quick and unorthodox. He kept his opponent guessing where the next kick was going to land, until he eventually executed a perfectly timed head kick that dropped Tuling. Kevin exploded and swarmed him, forcing the ref to stop the bout. Kevin "The Silencer" Belingon improved to 9-0, and continued to prove his case as one of the best fighters in Asia.
The Wushu fighters were clearly dominant, but the person who stole the show that night, was Jessie Rafols (6-1). This was the first URCC event since the athletic commission (Games and Amusement Board) had allowed elbows, and Rafols made perfect use of it. He took down Hideo "Death from Tokyo" Morikawa early on this interim bantamweight championship bout, and made quick work of him. He got mount and landed elbow after elbow, making Morikawa's head cut up and flow like a faucet. Shortly after, he ended the fight with a rear naked choke, winning the interim bantamweight championship, and leaving "Death from Tokyo" with his first loss and a puddle of his own blood in front of him.
A few notes, and a complete rundown of the exciting fight card is after the jump.
- URCC founder and promoter, Alvin Aguilar, announced on the event that they are expanding. He says the URCC will be hosting shows in America very soon. No date has been announced, and while I wish them well and hope they succeed in this venture, one has to wonder how they plan to penetrate the US market which has other MMA promotions dying left and right. That being said, if they pull it off and get to establish themselves, even as a good 'regional' promotion in the states, it would certainly be good for the Filipino fighters and FIlipino MMA as a whole.
- Side note not related to MMA: They usually pick good ones, but for this show, the band that opened up the URCC show was just plain bad. After they murdered the Philippine National Anthem with an excruciatingly long guitar solo, he set his guitar on fire leaving people who came to see fights, simply shaking their head.
- Fight 1 [Featherweight 149 lbs] - Bernard Soriano looked extremely calm and he quickly defeted Charles De Tomas with an anaconda choke in 1:31 of the 1st round.
- Fight 2 [Featherweight 149 lbs] - Karl Rodriguez was the first fighter to effectively use elbows in the URCC. He quickly took down Dowen Dela Tonga, landed a ton of elbows, and eventually choked him out, winning by rear naked choke in 2:30 of the 1st round.
- Fight 3 [Flyweight 129 lbs] - Jilmar Tangayan wins a somewhat controversial split decision over Agustin Delarmino. These two fighters engaged in an all out war, that left both fighters worn out and beaten up by the end of it all... Even though he tried several desperate guillotine attempts that he was never close to finishing, I thought Agustin was winning the bout landing the more damaging blows all through out. He did look a bit 'dirty' though, as he landed a few illegal knees on the first round, and even punched Tangayan after the bell, leading to a point deduction, that might as well have cost him the bout.
- Fight 4 [Featherweight 149 lbs] - After a fairly uneventful first round that saw veteran Andrew Benibe control Michael Rubio on the ground, the fight ended up with a good looking submission in the second. Rubio was able to get on top on the second round, but then Benibe pulled off a beautiful rubber guard, and eventually transitioned to a triangle finish that would've made Eddie Bravo proud. Andrew Benibe defeats Michael Rubio by Triangle, on 3:17 of the 2nd round.
- Fight 5 [Featherweight 149 lbs] - Reydon "The Filipino Bolo Punch" Romero lived up to his nickname. He quickly landed a huge bomb that dropped Franz Altarejos of Deftac, and immediately followed up with massive hammerfists that KO'ed his opponent within 46 seconds of the 1st round.
- Fight 6 [Light Heavyweight 189 lbs] - I'm not a huge fan of the higher weight classes in Filipino MMA as most of the frames of the average Filipino are better suited for the lighter weights, but this was a pretty exciting bout nonetheless. Chris Luna of Deftac quickly took Frank Navarro down, transitioned to mount, threw a ton of punches that made his opponent tap. There were a few shots that landed to the back of the head that went unnoticed, but it's not like it would've changed the outcome either. Chris Luna looked good on his URCC debut and he defeated Frank Navarro by Submission (strikes) in the first round.
- Fight 7 [135 lb Super-Fight] - As I talked about above, URCC champ, Kevin Belingon of Lakay Wushu trounced one of Davao's top fighters in Isaac Tuling at 6:25 of the 1st round. Belingon showed why he is being talked about as one of the top bantamweight prospects in the world... and at 23-years-old, he still has a huge upside.
- Fight 8 [Bantamweight 139 lbs] - Jessie Rafols became the new URCC interim Bantamweight champion by using his (bloody) elbows to beat up Hideo "Death From Tokyo" Morikawa, and finished by rear naked choke in the 1st round. Morikawa was probably 3 feet away from me when the fight ended, and I had a clear view of his head leaking, creating a puddle of blood in the ring. Gruesome stuff. Rafols is likely to take on URCC Bantamweight champion, Justin "The Shocker" Cruz of Guam when he comes back from his fireman training.
- Fight 9 [Lightweight 159 lbs] - As said above, team Lakay Wushu got another champion in their stable, as Honorio Banario defeated the crowd favorite in Angelito Manguray to win the URCC lightweight championship by rear naked choke on 8:48 of the 2nd round.
- Fight 10 [pinweight 119 lbs] - Alvin Ramirez of Yaw Yan fought his heart out in an excellent 20 minute war, but Roy Docyogen of Lakay Wushu was just too good and too strong. Docyogen improves to 9-0 with the decision victory and is now one of the longest reigning champs in Asia.
-- Photos taken by my brother Paolo Tabuena. Stay tuned to BloodyElbow for an image gallery coming real soon.
Here are the official results:
|1||Bernard Soriano||Charles De Tomas||Submission (Brabo Choke)||1st||1:33|
|2||Karl Rodriguez||Dowen Dela Tonga||Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)||1st||2:30|
|3||Jilmar Tangayan||Agustin Delarmino||Split Decision||2nd||10:00|
|4||Andrew Benibe||Michael Dan Rubio||Submission (Triangle Choke)||2nd||3:17|
|5||Reydon Romero||Franz Altarejos||KO (Punches)||1st||0:46|
|6||Christian Luna||Frank Navarro||TKO (Punches)||1st||1:44|
|7||Kevin Belingon||Isaac Tuling||TKO (Kick and Punches)||1st||6:25|
|8||Jessie Rafols||Hideo Morikawa||Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)||1st||3:27|
|9||Honorio Banario||Angelito Manguray||Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)||2nd||8:48|
|10||Roy Docyogen||Alvin Ramirez||Unanimous Decision||2nd||10:00|