Universal Reality Combat Challenge (URCC) have been the face of Filipino MMA for almost a decade and their November card looks all set to be one of the best in the organization's illustrious history. According to an MMA Orient interview with Mark Sangiao, the founder of Team Lakay Wushu, two of his students will be in action on November 5th at the World Trade Centre in Pasay.
Kevin Belingon, the 9-0 URCC flyweight champion will be defending his belt against outstanding prospect Jessie Raffols. The challenger is 6-1 with his only career loss coming on his debut against Roy Docyogen, who is the reigning URCC pinweight champion and has a perfect professional record of 9-0.
Picture of unbeaten URCC Flyweight Champion Kevin Belingon via www.urccmma.com
With Raffols having won his last six and Belingon his last nine it was always a question of when, not if, these two fighters collided and it appears that the answer is November 5th. Belingon won't be the only champion on the card that night, another Team Lakay Wushu fighter, Honorio Banario is set to defend his URCC Lightweight belt against Canadian Sabah Fadai.
Fadai is 6-1 and wins for the URCC and Martial Combat in 2010 persuaded MFC, the organization which helped to launch the careers of Canadians Georges St Pierre and David Loiseau, to sign him up earlier this year. It will be a tough test for Banario who only made his MMA debut last year but is already 5-0 with all five of his wins coming by way of stoppage.
URCC is the promotion which gave Eduard Folayang and Eric Kelly their big breaks and these Filipino fighters made themselves a lot of new fans with impressive victories at One Fighting Championship earlier this month. Victor Cui, the CEO / Owner and matchmaker of One FC, is of Filipino descent and will be keeping a careful eye on the URCC as he looks to add to his roster and potentially find the next Folayang.
There is certainly no shortge of talent in the Philippines and Belingon is probably the cream of the current crop. He has alreaady fought internationally on three ocassions and beat Thai fighter Ngoo Ditty at Martial Combat last year. The Filipino newspapers reported that he had turned down a long term contract with Legend and Belingon might be holding out for a more lucrative offer from One FC. Before he can think about following in the footsteps of Kelly and Folayang, who like Belingon are both based in Baguio, he must overcome the not inconsiderable challenge posed by Raffols.
There is no shame in losing to Docyogen, he has a perfect 9-0 record and is another Filipino fighter who is sure to feature for a major international event sooner or later. Since that sole lose Raffols has finished all six of his opponents, five of them by way of submission.
It is testament to how much quality there is in the Philippines that URCC seldom need to look elswehere to find outstanding fighters for their cards. Raffols and Belingon would be amongst the top bantamweights (the URCC flyweight division goes up to 129 lbs) in almost any country in the world and this is an intruiging clash.
Fadai probably counts as a foreign fighter as he is Canadian but he has spent years living and studying in the Philippines and has fought for the URCC once before. Banario had not even made his professional debut when Fadai knocked out Aden Zarco with a head kick at URCC 15 but he will be looking to take advantage of any ring rust from his Canadian opponent who has been out of action for over year.
Picture of unbeaten URCC Lightweight Champion Honorio Banario via www.urccmma.com
Banario has fought three times in 2011, winning the URCC lightweight title against the previously unbeaten Angelito Manguray in April and defending it successfuly in August. Wins for him and Belingon would cap off an incredible year for Team Lakay Wushu who now boast four URCC champions amongst their ranks including Folayang, who is really making a name for himself on the international stage.
The official card for URCC 20 has yet to be announced but it appears that the premier promotion in the Philippines are all set to roll out their big guns. The likes of Banario and Belingon might not be well known internationally but you only have to look at Kelly and Folayang, who are the talk of the town after their One FC exploits, to see how quickly that can change.
If you want to see the next superstar to emerge from the Philippines then URCC is the place to look and November's card is set to be a little bit special.
For more information visit: www.urccmma.com.