Felipe Enomoto was born in Switzerland to Japanese parents and has been competing in Europe for most of his career but he is all set for the fight of his life at ONE Fighting Championship 'Battle of Heroes' in Jakarta next month.
Enomoto, whose brother Yasubey is the M-1 Welterweight Champion, is returning to his Asian roots and is currently at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket to prepare to represent Japan in his bout against Laursen, which will be the main event of ONE FC's second card.
After nine years of BJJ experience, eight years of boxing and Muay Thai experience and nine professional fights Enomoto finally has the opportunity to step out of the shadow of his oder brother and establish himself as one of the top lightweights in Asia.
He already holds a victory over AJ Wenn, who lost to eventual winner Ross Pearson in the TUF 9 qualifier, and would hold a win over TUF 14 semi finalist Akira Corassani were it not for the fact that a controversial decision, originally awarded in Enomoto's favour, was subsequently overturned,
"I got my hand raised at the end of the fight but Corassani's management put pressure on the promoter because they wanted to keep his record clean, so they screwed me and stole my win. Unfortunately those guys had more influence than me or my brother, who is also my manager," he said
Although most ringside spectators felt that the Swedish fighter, who subsequently signed a contract with the UFC, had done enough to win it is almost unprecedented for a promoter to overturn a decision simply because he disagrees with the verdict of the judges.
The fight with Laursen is fascinating because the Filipino born fighter has been out of action for over a year. His performances have been inconsistent but he gave a real glimpse of his talent as a mixed martial artist when he submitted Eduardo Pachu, a BJJ purple belt who had recently dropped a split decision to Charles Oliveira, in the third round of their fight at Martial Combat 1.
Laursen showcased explosive escapes, reversals and submissions to compliment his already outstanding stand up skills when he defeated Pachu and if he can recapture that form it could be a long night for Enomoto. However the Japanese fighter says he is prepared for whatever comes his way on February 11th,
"I'm aware of his Muay Thai and respect his strength in this area but I'm not worried. He hasn't fought for a long time so I don't know exactly what to expect but I train hard for every situation which could confront me in a fight and I can make adjustment during the fight anyway. Even if he has changed his style I will be ready."
ONE Fighting Championship has rapidly risen to become the biggest show in Asia and Enomoto realizes that this is a massive opportunity. A win over perennial fan favourite Laursen would make him an instant superstar and one of the main men in a division which currently includes the likes of Eduard Folayang and Zorobabel Moreira,
"I'm really thankful to the guys of ONE FC for giving me a chance to showcase myself in their promotion and I'm very ecxited that I signed with them. It's the biggest stage in Asia and biggest fight of my life for sure. I also know that DREAM is a art of the ONE FC Network and my contract allows me to fight for them which I would really like to do, I love Japan!"
Enomoto says that training at Tiger Muay Thai is going great and promises fans it will be an exciting fight. There was a rumour doing the rounds that he had been injured by a crocodile in Phuket and the former Cage Fighters Championship European Champion did admit that an incident had occurred but was anxious to play down its significance,
"Ha,Ha, the story sounds good but was not really that dramatic. I was in the Phuket Zoo and was feeding the crocodiles with a dead chicken and one of the really big ones bit in my direction and because I had my arm and head inside the Fence I got scared and tried to pull out my arm out fast but I only got a small scratch, the crocodile did not came close enough to bite me or anything."
Surviving a crocodile attack should give Enomoto plenty of confidence but then so does seeing his older brother and mentor tearing through the M-1 welterweight division definitely which he believes is a vindication of the training methods they employ at the Enomoto Dojo in Zurich,
"I'm Yasubey's trainer and sparring partner and I train with him every day. His success motivates me and gives me the confidence that we must doing something right here and I'm very proud of him!"
If Enomoto can claim a victory at ONE Fighting Championship 'Battle of Heroes' the roles will be reversed and it will be the turn of the older of the two brothers to enjoy seeing his sibling successfully take on the top fighters in his division.