MANILA, Philippines – Heavyweight fighter Igor Subora remains optimistic that he will put himself back on the winning track after losing his ONE Fighting Championship (ONE FC) debut this past December.
Subora (5-2), a 34-year-old Ukrainian who started his mixed martial arts (MMA) career in the Philippines, yielded to Filipino-American stalwart Brandon Vera at last month’s ONE FC: Warrior’s Way.
Vera dropped Subora with a hard left straight and then finished it off with soccer kicks to compel referee Olivier Coste to halt the action at the 3:54 mark of the first round.
Unlike its western equal Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), ONE FC uses the international rule-set which blends a combination of the best combat practices from all over the globe, permitting soccer kicks, stomps to the body and legs, and knee-strikes to a standing or grounded opponent.
However, it was seen in the replay of the bout’s concluding moments that Vera’s ground foot-strikes landed on the back of Subora’s head, which were not called for a foul by the referee.
Subora admitted that he was rocked by Vera’s solid left hand, but he asserted that the referee made the wrong move to award the stoppage victory to his counterpart due to the illegal blow.
“I think the referee should have given me time to recover after the illegal kicks. I would be back in the fight for sure. I understand that fighter’s adrenaline rush does unintentional and illegal techniques, but in my opinion, soccer kicks to the back of the head on a downed fighter is a dirty offense. I hope I won’t have the same referee in my future fight,” he told Rappler.
After the disappointing defeat to Vera, the 6-foot-3 Fist Gym representative immediately went back to the gym to resume training as he is driven to improve his game.
“I do not take long breaks after fighting. I guess my mind and body have been set to training. I am always training even without a fight and that is who I am as an athlete. My only determination is to keep training, learn more, and showcase my skills in the cage,” Subora said.
On a personal note, Subora believes that he did not compete to his full potential against Vera, compelling him to look for additional arsenals and fill in the gaps.
Subora acquired his Combat Sambo pedigree overseas, but he honed his skills as an MMA fighter when he migrated to the country in 2008.
Meanwhile, boxing trainer Melchor Espinosa guided Subora to be a one-punch knockout artist as the Ukrainian behemoth thwarted four of his last seven foes with his fist.
“I feel like I didn’t fight my full potential. I still believe I have the best boxing in the ONE FC heavyweight division and I can’t wait to prove it. My coaches always say that I have heavy kicks but I never use them, so this time I will add that up. I am starting to work on my kickboxing,” he disclosed.
Subora confided that the setback to Vera has a salient resemblance to his first professional MMA match that also turned on a sour note.
Under the Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC) banner, Subora had his initial prizefighting stint in October 2009 when he faced Pete Brooks at the promotion’s “Black Tie Brawl 2009” event.
Unfortunately, Brooks spoiled Subora’s MMA debut by coercing him to wave the white flag with a rear-naked choke in the first round.
Following the loss to Brooks, he bounced back by thumping Nicholas Mann via first-round technical knockout at URCC 16: Reckoning in March 2010 and then choked out Panchito Estrada at URCC 17: Havoc four months later.
In addition, Subora came out on top of 2010’s “Black Tie Brawl” occasion as he turned the lights off on Robertson Tubosa with a stiff punch in the opening frame.
Subora was able to capture the URCC heavyweight title in November 2011 by thumping Ryan Paglinawan before successfully defending the belt against Marcus Valda with another knockout two years later.
“In an MMA competition, fighters are likely to lose if not win. My last fight was just another one and made me very dangerous. I guarantee to prove it in the nearest future,” he vowed.
According to Subora, he had already notified ONE FC matchmaker Matt Hume of his desire to be slated on any fight card this year.
“I want to fight as soon as possible. Actually after the fight [versus Vera], I was emailing Matt Hume to put me back to the cage the next event. I got no injuries after the fight and could fight literally the next day. I’m willing to prove myself again,” Subora stated.
The next stop of Asia’s largest MMA organization is in Jakarta, Indonesia on February 14 and is headlined by former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver squaring off with hometown favorite Fransino Tirta. – Rappler.com
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