DREAM Champ Bibiano Fernandes, ONE FC CEO Victor Cui, and CFC Champ Gustavo Falciroli -- Photo by James Goyder
Roughly three weeks ago, highly sought after free agent, Bibiano Fernandes (11-3) decided to sign with ONE FC, choosing the top Asian promotion over offers from multiple promotions, including the UFC. He will be making his debut at ONE FC 5, and during today's press conference in Ortigas, Philippines, his opponent has been officially announced.
Falciroli, a Brazilian-born Australian citizen was preparing to take part as one of the selected cast for TUF: Smashes until producers reportedly pulled the plug on his application on the last minute, citing issues with his citizenship.
Those series of events had led to him having a huge opportunity at ONE FC, signing up for a second fight with the promotion, this time in a much bigger bout between top bantamweight champions from two continents.
Check out several notes from the presser along with the rumored fight card after the jump. Follow me on twitter -- @antontabuena
L-R: Andrei Arlovski, Shinya Aoki, Bibiano Fernandes, Victor Cui, Alvin Aguilar, Gustavo Falciroli, Eduard Folayang
Here are quick tidbits from the presser:
- Falciroli, who stands at 5-foot-8 and is said to walk at around 160 lbs, really looked much larger than his opponent in Fernandes, a former featherweight.
- The event is still a month away, but Filipinos are already showing how crazy they are for fight sports. Over a hundred members from the Filipino mainstream media packed the conference room at the Discovery Hotel in Ortigas, making it by far the largest press conference ever for ONE FC.
- Tickets are reasonably priced (VIP: P4,500, Patron up to GA: P2000, P1000, P650, P500, P200), and with the right moves, I can really see ONE FC fulfilling their promise of selling out the 16,000 capacity Araneta Coliseum.
- Filipino rising star, Eric Kelly was also in attendance, and candidly told me he's both excited and really nervous about his fight. He said his heart skipped a beat when his management team informed him he will be facing former UFC champion, Jens Pulver.
- Andrei Arlovski was one of the more popular figures with the Filipino media. He fielded several questions and even had a funny moment where he screamed "THIS IS SPARTAAAA!", after a journalist mentioned his resemblance to Leonidas.
- The former UFC champion who is on a two-fight winning streak, also stated that he is looking to continue rebuilding his career with ONE FC. He even said that his plaque shouldn't say "former heavyweight champion", but "will be ONE FC champion" instead.
- Evolve MMA head Chatri Sityodtong mentioned that negotiations to have Kazushi Sakuraba face Shinya Aoki later in the year are on it's early stages. The match up was originally planned for the now defunct promotion DREAM, and was pegged as Sakuraba's retirement fight.
ONE FC 5: Pride of a Nation
August 31, 2012 -- Araneta Coliseum, Philippines
- Shinya Aoki
- Bibiano Fernandes vs. Gustavo Falciroli
- Andrei Arlovski vs. Soa Palelei
- Jens Pulver vs. Eric Kelly
- Phil Baroni vs. Rodrigo Ribeiro
- Gregor Gracie vs. Ray Elbe *
- Renato Sobral vs. Melvin Manhoef *
- Eduard Folayang
- Rolles Gracie
- Igor Gracie
- Kevin Belingon
* - Fights have been offered and is rumored to be in the works for the event