Filipino mixed martial arts has enjoyed somewhat a resurgence in the last few years, and at the forefront of it all is the famed Team Lakay stable.
Based in La Trinidad, Benguet, Team Lakay has accounted for five of the six ONE World Champions that represent the Philippines, including Honorio Banario, Eduard Folayang, Geje Eustaquio, Kevin Belingon, and most recently, Joshua Pacio.
And while these Igorot warriors have done a lot in putting Philippine mixed martial arts on the map and making the Philippines one of the biggest martial arts markets in Asia, a number of other Filipino fighters have all put in the work and have done well in bannering the Philippine flag on the ONE Championship stage.
From Rene Catalan to Jomary Torres, Eric Kelly to Jeremy Miado, Filipino martial artists have done their part in building the reputation of Filipino mixed martial artists as some of the world’s best competitors.
At ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES just this past 22 September in Jakarta, Indonesia, a pair of Filipino stars emerged with their arms raised in victory as Danny Kingad defeated Yuya Wakamatsu in a flyweight showdown, while Joshua Pacio became the newest ONE titleholder after defeating Yoshitaka Naito to become the new ONE Strawweight World Champion.
At ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES on Saturday, 6 October in Bangkok, Thailand, another Filipino martial artist aims to keep the country’s momentum going.
Kicking things off at the Impact Arena in Bangkok will be a flyweight bout between Filipino Kyokushin Karate black belt Ramon “The Bicolano” Gonzales and Indonesian Dodi “The Maung” Mardian.
Gonzales is coming off an extended layoff due to work outside of competition, but now is nothing short of excited to make his return to the ONE Championship ring and get his second consecutive win.
“I’m really excited to be competing in ONE Championship again,” Gonzales shared. “I had to focus on work overseas for a while, but I’m back now and I can’t wait to feel the rush of competition again.”
Gonzales boasts a 2-2 professional mixed martial arts record, and is coming off a second-round submission victory over Deligherihu Liu back in September of 2017.
For the Albay, Bicol native, there’s nothing quite like being able to represent the Philippines in the biggest martial arts organization in the world.
“I can honestly say that nothing compares to carrying the Philippine flag in international competition. This is something that will always give me great pride, it is definitely an honor.”
Gonzales added that seeing his compatriots succeed in ONE Championship is definitely a source of motivation and inspiration.
“I’m happy to see my fellow Filipinos go far in this sport and in ONE Championship. It gives me the confidence to believe in myself and also aspire for the same level of success. It is definitely inspiring to see them succeed,” he added.
Aside from Gonzales, another Filipino will be competing on the card, as former IFMA Muay Thai world champion Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan takes on Japanese submission specialist Hayato Suzuki in a preliminary flyweight contest.