MANILA, Philippines – The top Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters are bringing their A-game to Manila.
The likes of Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes, Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski, Eduard “The Landslide” Folayang, Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki and Gustavo Falciroli will come together for “Pride of a Nation,” a star-studded fight card set for August 31 in Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Pride of a Nation” is set to be the biggest MMA event in Philippine history and is organized by Asia’s largest MMA organization, Singapore-based ONE FC.
Fernandes will face off with Falciroli for the main event, Arlovski is scheduled to meet Soa “The Hulk” Palelei in the cage for the heavyweight division, while Eric “The Natural” Kelly, a Filipino, and Jens “Lil Evil” Pulver will duke it out at the featherweight division.
Aoki is set to make his ONE FC debut after signing up with them in September, and the Philippines’ own Folayang will be representing his home country.
“This is the biggest fight card ONE FC has ever done, right here in Manila,” said ONE FC Chief Executive Officer, Victor Cui. “The kind of excitement and the talent of the athletes that are going to be showcased on August 31st in Araneta will be unmatched.”
Cui, who is part Filipino and was born in Cebu, said he is excited about bringing this fight card to the Philippines, which ONE FC considers the fight capital of Asia.
“I’ve never seen a sport that’s about to explode as MMA is right now,” he added.
The rest of the fight card has yet to be determined.
Brazilian fighter Fernandes, who is the DREAM Bantamweight Champion and the former DREAM Featherweight Champion, expressed his excitement about competing in the Philippines, which he says reminds him of home.
“I love the Philippines, its beautiful here, its very nice, I love the people,” he said.
Fernandes is on a three-fight win streak, and has finished most of his fights via TKO or submission.
Arlovski said he was also surprised by the enthusiasm of Filipinos and people asking him for pictures, and promised to put on a “good show.”
The former UFC Heavyweight Champion captured the essence of the upcoming fight card when he was asked what his favorite victory has been so far.
“I guess it’s coming up,” he said. – Rappler.com