For those who aren’t aware, Macau is fast becoming a hotspot for migrating Filipinos. No matter where you go in the Chinese territory, there’s a friendly kabayan eager to help you find your way. And you could really feel it when the pro-Pinoy crowd made their presence felt at Studio City for One Championship: Pinnacle of Power. Four Filipinos were listed on the card, each one getting a cheer usually reserved for hometown heroes.
In the main event, One interim flyweight champ Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio sought revenge and the undisputed crown against Adriano Moraes. Eustaquio, who entered the cage to the tune of “Kung-fu Fighting,” nearly saw history repeat itself. As he caught Moraes’ kick and shot a takedown, the Brazilian snared a guillotine choke and the Team Lakay fighter was nearly submitted again. But the Filipino rode it out, and escaped another arm-bar attempt, to end the first round.
In the second, Eustaquio started light on his feet and landed some significant kicks. Moraes shot in for takedowns which were stuffed, but the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt got Eustaquio’s back from standing and nearly sunk in a choke near the end of the round, but the Filipino once again held out.
The third round saw more of the same, with Moraes shooting takedowns until he eventually got Eustaquio on his back. “Gravity” escaped some dominant positions and landed elbows from the bottom, but also got caught with some big strikes from on top. Moraes got a takedown early in the fourth and spent the majority of the round on top, but Eustaquio was able to reverse and score a big double-leg of his own. Moraes retaliated with another takedown to close out the round.
At the start of the fifth, Moraes shot in for another takedown and scored. He trapped Eustaquio’s neck in another guillotine choke but the Filipino escaped again. The two spent the rest of the final round trading takedowns and leg lock attempts to finish out a thrilling contest. In the end, Eustaquio won the split decision and the undisputed world title.
“I hear them shouting my name, I hear them cheering for Philippines, that makes me go forward and think more,” Eustaquio said about his supporters.
In the second bout of the night, Team Lakay’s Danny Kingad faced off against Chinese wrestler Ma Hao Bin. The first round saw some back and forth action on the ground, with Kingad securing a dominant side control for most of it. In the second, the two exchanged kicks, with the action being stopped twice due to accidental low blows to Hao Bin. The third round returned to grappling once more, with Hao Bin aggressively pursuing takedowns while Kingad defended and reversed. The Filipino managed to secure dominant positions again plus a few submission attempts, en route to winning the unanimous decision.
Filipino Rodian Menchavez fought next in what turned out to be a swift defeat. His opponent Li Kai Wen connected early with a right hand, and quickly followed up with another to score the knockout at just 10 seconds. After the fight, Kai Wen called out current featherweight champ Martin Nguyen.
The seventh fight saw another Team Lakay stalwart Edward Kelly take on former One featherweight titleholder Narantungalag Jadambaa. Kelly put up a valiant effort, escaping from numerous positions and submission attempts, but the difference in grappling skill won out as Jadambaa scored with numerous takedowns. In the second round, Jadambaa secured mount and rained down some nasty ground-and-pound. As Kelly turned to his belly, the referee called a stop to the action.
In other action, China’s One Strawweight champ Xiong Jing Nang squared off against Laura Balin in the co-main event. The bout went the distance, with Nang controlling the pace en route to a unanimous decision. This is Nang’s first outing since joining Bali MMA, and says she’s still working to address holes in her game.
It was mixed night for our kababayans, but it’s a good sign that so many of them were booked on an international card, topped off with Eustaquio’s title win. With ONE CEO Victor Cui announcing the organization’s plan to hold even more events, expect more opportunities for our homegrown talent to excel in the near future. There’s no better time than now to get behind our local MMA fighters.