The UFC is heading to Japan this weekend, but there are still a lot of news coming out of the Asian MMA scene:
First off, the videos for URCC Baguio 4: Battleground have just been released. This is one of the promotion's provincial events held in Baguio, Philippines, and you can probably think of it as more like their 'UFC Fight Nights' as opposed to the major numbered events which is held in Manila.
The mountain province of Baguio is the home town of the famed Team Lakay camp which has produced multiple champs and Asian stars such as Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon and many others. Headlining the card is one of the champions from that stable, in Pinweight champion (119 lbs.), Roy Docyogen. He took on former pro-boxer and fellow undefeated fighter Rodel Orais, at 125 lbs, presumably as a precursor to Docyogen competing internationally as a flyweight.
Check out the video below:
After the jump, check out the URCC featherweight championship fight along with a bunch of other MMA news from the Asian region.
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URCC champ and ONE FC star, Eric Kelly had some personal and managerial problems, prompting the promotion to add an interim featherweight title a few months back. So to co-headlining the Baguio event, Judo-based fighter Ricardo Sapno defended the URCC Interim Featherweight championship for the first time since taking the title on his last bout against Red Romero.
Check out the video below:
You can also watch the other fights from the event on the URCC Youtube Channel.
- Following that Baguio event, the URCC will be hosting another numbered event and will be hosting their 21st major event in the country. Headlining that URCC XXI card will be URCC Middleweight Champion, Froilan Sarenas, an undefeated fighter training out of Submission Sport Philippines and Ole Laursen's Boracay Gym. No opponent has been named as of this writing, but stay tuned for more updates.
- Also on the same night as URCC Baguio, PXC 29 was also hosted in the Philippines. Here's a highlight video (from a perspective of News anchors in Guam) that saw Ryan Bigler dominate TUF Alum Dorian Price, and the Philippines' Ale Cali winning the PXC Flyweight title:
As for post-fight analysis, I didn't attend the event, and this was the first time I've watched the PXC broadcast on AKTV, and I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of their production. Apart from a few awkward camera angles from time-to-time, everything was running very smoothly, and the commentators were doing a good job at educating the more casual Filipino fanbase they're catering to.
Ryan Biglar turned in a very impressive performance by thoroughly dominating a UFC veteran in Dorian Price, making him one of the welterweights to look out for in the region.
Ale Cali on the other hand, showed that he was good enough to survive against a very experienced jiujitsu guy on the ground. He battled several submission attempts, until he eventually overwhelmed Jesse Taitano with his striking, winning him the PXC Flyweight Championship.
It was an exciting fight, and a very good test for Cali, who has very good and flashy boxing, but is still relatively inexperienced and unproven on the ground. He passed that with flying colors, and he should be praised for that, but let's be honest here, I really don't think a guy with just 1 win on his last 7 fights has any business fighting for a championship.
Don't get me wrong, giving him a high-level grappler like Taitano was a perfect step up in competition for Ale Cali at this stage of his career. I don't have any problems with the matchmaking, but in my humble opinion, having a guy with that record competing for a title just doesn't send the right message.
- Moving on to more Asian MMA news, RUFF, a promotion in China, just announced a few fights for their 3rd show. Zhang LiPeng vs Rodrigo Caporal will headline, and also announced, was an excellent bantamweight matchup. Irshaad Sayed (3-1), who is coming off a dominant win at ONE FC 2, is apparently set to face Legend FC Bantamweight Champion Jumabieke Tuerxun (11-0).
'Bieke' won their first meeting last July, and after both guys won big and looked to have improved a lot recently, a rematch actually is very intriguing. Sadly, it probably won't happen. Reliable sources close to the situation have informed BloodyElbow.com that the bout is unlikely to push through regardless of it being announced by RUFF.
Warning signs already sprung up the moment it was announced, as Sayed is signed with DARE and should technically be "exclusive" to the ONE FC network, while Bieke, being a Legend FC champion, would have to secure special permission to fight outside the promotion.
While the idea of having a ONE FC fighter taking on a Legend Champ would excite some of the fans in the region, this fight was actually planned before both of those labels actually happened.
- On Shooto's March 10 event, Korean champ and Legend FC bantamweight finalist, Jo Nam Jin, will be dropping down to flyweight, to face Shinichi Kojima, a former Shooto Champion.
- Felipe Enomoto's brother Yasubey Enomoto (9-2), will be defending his M-1 Welterweight title on March 24, against top Russian prospect Rashid Magomedov (16-1). In slightly unrelated news, I still want to see how that GoPro video of his turned out after it gets edited. Hopefully the two brothers keep filming their fights with that unique angle and perspective, and who knows, maybe they can even get a sponsorship out of it.
- Speaking of videos, Zorobabel Moreira and Eddie Ng, two talented fighters from the famous Evolve MMA gym in Singapore will be competing on ONE FC 3 in Singapore. Check out these excellent preview videos from Evolve: