Filipino star Stephen Loman successfully defended his bantamweight world championship against Felipe Efrain from Brazil during Brave 18 held on 16th November at the Khalifa Sports City in Bahrain during the Brave International Combat Week 2018. Loman entered the cage to defend his championship in the presence of a stadium packed with cheering Kabayans.
The bantamweight world champion was accompanied by his father Rolden Loman and his Head Coach, Mark Sangiao. Efrain entered as a favourite with three knock out of the night wins in the promotion and praised for his reach advantage. Efrain was adept in jiu jitsu which seemed as a bonus to counter the wrestling from the champion.
Entering the cage as an underdog, Loman was tested from the very first round. Precise jabs and body kicks slowed the pace by Stephen Loman while Loman kept pushing his opponent to the limits. By the end of the first round, Loman stunned the crowd by landing a series of strikes and surprising the fighter from Chute Boxe who trains under Diego Lima. It was in the second round where the crowd went silent, as Loman got caught in a deep guillotine, after intense moments crowd erupted as Loman broke free from the hold and rained heavy hands and elbows on Efrain from the mount.
The third round further tested Loman as twice was he rocked and busted the nose open to bleed the crimson which merged with the Team Lakay colours. A bleeding Loman went the distance to the surprise of the fans to show heart and resilience. The unshakable champion returned with fury at the fourth round carried by the “Loman” chants that echoed the Khalifa Sports City Stadium. Loman maintained the pace during the fourth and fifth round. The Team Lakay fighter also had to overcome an accidental low blow from the challenger to go the distance and to become the champion with most number of successful world championship title defences. The champion and challenger earned the respect of everyone in attendance including His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al khalifa, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Jose Torres, Sean O Malley and more who was a former KHK MMA Fighter.
In a bout that went the distance, the hero from Philippines was handed over the Brave Combat Federation bantamweight world championship by none other than Khabib Nurmagomedov. His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Mohammed Shahid, President of Brave Combat Federation and His Excellency Alfonso A Ver, Ambassador of Philippines to Bahrain, congratulated Loman on his iconic victory.
With Brave Combat Federation set to host an event in Philippines during 2019, Loman’s championship victory is the best news towards the future of mixed martial arts in Philippines. The reigning champion is most likely to headline the event if Brave Combat Federation hosts an event in Philippines.