ONE FC 4 will be happening this June, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but a lot of Asian MMA fans are already anticipating the promotion's first event in the Philippines.
WhenInManila.com is a very popular Filipino website that covers everything from fashion, lifestyle, tech, and events. Since ONE Fighting Championship's Philippine event has already been set for September, the crew behind the site has asked me to give a few inputs for a top 10 list of fighters who deserve a slot on the card.
The top two spots on the list belonged to the two most popular Filipino fighters in Eduard Folayang and Ole Laursen. Both men are good friends, but when they were asked to do battle on ONE FC 3 in Singapore, they delivered an all out war in what was the best fight in the promotion's short history. (Video and Analysis here)
There were some talk about booking a rematch, which was an an issue addressed by the website. While some people want to see them battle again, I didn't. Well not right now anyway:
1-2. Eduard Folayang and Ole Laursen for ONE FC Philippines
As far as the obvious is concerned, Eduard Folayang and Ole Laursen took the top spots of our survey. Almost all writers had either Folayang or Laursen at the top of their lists. The question begs, should ONE FC Philippines be the battleground for the much-awaited rematch or not?
Bloody Elbow’s Anton Tabuena thinks otherwise. "Folayang vs. Laursen was the most entertaining ONE FC fight to date, so I would be lying if I said that I’m completely opposed to an immediate rematch. It became an instant classic with the best possible outcome as both men came out as winners that night. That being said, you know what they say about sequels, and I don’t think there’s a need to potentially ruin what they achieved by rushing in and impulsively re-booking that fight. Both of their careers are suddenly on the upswing, and interest in both men are at an all-time high. So I think it would be best for these two friends and Filipinos to have separate fights. If down the road the stars align and the timing makes more sense, only then do you try and recreate that classic."
Apparently, Laursen also agrees with my sentiment. "I was never really interested in fighting Eduard and I'm still not interested in fighting him," Ole Laursen said when asked about a rematch with the fellow Filipino, "I will fight him though if that's what One FC wants."
After the jump, check out the rest of the top 10 which includes the wild card and surprise pick I made on who I think Victor Cui should book for ONE FC Philippines. Follow me on twitter -- @antontabuena
ONE FC always adds multiple guys from the US scene to every card, so I decided to put a wrench into things by making a surprise pick as part of the guys who I wanted to see on the card. My pick made it to #7 of their list, and here's my rationale:
10. Roy Docyogen
9. Rolles Gracie Jr.
8. Froilan Sarenas
7. Justin Buccholz
Having a UFC fighter in ONE FC Philippines will knock the socks off any Filipino MMA fan. While current UFC fighters cannot be tapped because of their exclusive contracts to Zuffa, [Note by Anton Tabuena: Buccholz isn't under-contract with the UFC], "a perfect wild card pick for the upcoming Philippine event would be a quality free agent in Justin Buccholz." Anton Tabuena adds, "He’s a half-Filipino UFC veteran, who is one of the coaches in Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male in The Ultimate Fighter. He’s a great striker and has a very fan-friendly style, guaranteeing that he would fit in nicely in the Asian MMA scene."
"He’s itching to get back to his roots, and I think ONE FC Philippines would be the perfect time for his homecoming," Tabuena concludes. Enough said, let’s bring him to the Philippines!
Roughly about a year ago, Justin Buccholz told me that he was supposed to go back to the Philippines to have a Muay Thai bout, but when his opponent got pulled, the fight, and his trip to the country got cancelled. It's truly a wild card pick, but I do want to see this homecoming as I believe his style would be an excellent fit for the card.
Don't take my word for it, here's Buchholz with a perfect front kick KO that would make Steven Seagal blush: