Asian MMA Update: Honorio Banario Steps In For Eric Kelly At ONE FC 2, James Thompson vs. Bob Sapp In India

URCC Champion Honorio Banario has agreed to step in for Eric Kelly and will be making his debut at ONE FC 2 this February.

There's a bunch of news coming out of the Asian MMA circuit, and here's a brief rundown:

  • Eric Kelly who has been dealing with a ton of management and personal issues lately has been pulled off the upcoming ONE FC 2 card in Jakarta Indonesia. Sources from the Philippines have informed about the change.

    Stepping in for the featherweight standout is a fellow URCC champion, in Honorio Banario who has agreed to take the bout in less than 4 weeks notice.

    Banario is undefeated at 6-0 and is the reigning URCC lightweight champ. He is a product of the famed Team Lakay camp that houses several champions such as Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon and Roy Docyogen. His opponent will be Kelly's original opponent in Bae Young Kwon, a talented Korean fighter who is coming off a win over Brian Choi of Evolve MMA.
  • Following an excellent performance from his teammate at URCC Cebu 7: Dominate, URCC Pinweight (119 lbs.) Champion, Roy Docyogen (9-0) will be looking to follow up with another big win for Team Lakay when the promotion hosts a show in their hometown of Baguio next month.

    On Feb 18, in Baguio City, the Wushu expert will look to defend his title against Rodel Orais, a former pro-boxer who is currently undefeated in MMA.
  • Also on the URCC Baguio card, 6-foot-4 featherweight from Phuket Top Team, Will Chope will look to go 3-0 in the Philippines when he steps up in competition and takes on a former super-fight champion, Reydon "The Filipino Bolo Punch" Romero. It's probably an early fight of the night candidate as it's guaranteed to be entertaining when these two very game strikers go head to head.

    Chope, who always tries to remain busy, posted the news on his website and also announced another bout against Ev Ting in New Zealand three weeks earlier.

There are several big news (literally) coming out of the Asian MMA scene after the jump, so do check it out, and as always, follow me on twitter -- @antontabuena.

  • He's fighting at ONE FC 2 against Rolles Gracie, and while a lot of pundits have disliked the matchmaking on that bout, it didn't stop other Asian promotions from booking Bob Sapp to more MMA bouts. On March 11, about a month after that ONE FC bout in Jakarta, 'The Beast' will be taking on James Thompson as the headliner for Super Fight League, a new promotion in India.

    MMA isn't that popular in India compared to other countries, but their founders Raj Kundra and Sanjay Dutt (pictured) are looking to change that by building the country's first MMA promotion in SFL. The popular and somewhat controversial MMA agent, Ken Pavia will also be involved, and has been announced to be the CEO of Super Fight League.

    Among the roster announced from the promotion is UFC veteran Xavier Foupa Pokam or "Professor X", along with some of the top prospects in the country such as Lakwinder Sekhon, Alan Fernandes, Hardeep Singh, Chaitanya Gavali, Bharat Kandare, Mohammed Shahid, Ricky Ranjeet Singh, Surje Gurung, Anup Kumar, Neil Natasadu, and Satisch Jha.
  • Legend FC has signed two more talented Filipino strikers. Brothers Agustin Delarmino (4-1-0, and Leonard Delarmino (3-1) from Iloilo have been picked up and will be making their debut at Legend FC 7 on Feb 11.
  • Speaking of the Legend FC 7 card, I've been told about this totally random tidbit on twitter, and apparently Bae Myung Ho, their welterweight champion who will be defending his title that night, is also an underwear/swimsuit model... hmm. I really don't know what to say about this.
  • PXC's next event will be on Feb 18, in the Ynares Sports Center in the Philippines. It will be headlined by a featherweight title bout between Jesse Taitano and the very entertaining Ale Cali.
  • MMA In Asia has a very interesting interview with Shinya Aoki and his Muay Thai coaches from Evolve MMA. They talk about the win over Kitaoka, and their honest assessment of his improved skillset. One of the interesting bits is when his coach said that Aoki needs more confidence with his striking, and suggests that a few professional Muay Thai bouts might change that.
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