UFC fighters strut wares at open workouts
MANILA, Philippines – Hundreds of Filipino mixed martial arts (MMA) fans flocked SM Mall of Asia’s Music Hall in anticipation of catching a glimpse of the action that can take place at the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s maiden live event in the country on Saturday, May 16.
Six UFC fighters gave a preview of their current shape and conditioning only 3 days away from the much-awaited UFC Fight Night 66, which happens at the 20,000-seater SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila.
Urijah Faber and Frankie Edgar, who are scheduled to face each other in the main event, spearheaded the open workouts to hype the organization’s first trip to fight capital of the Southeast Asian region.
Edgar amazed the crowd with his sharp boxing combinations and flaunted his signature footwork and head movement that permitted him to stand toe-to-toe with the elite-level combatants like BJ Penn, Gray Maynard, Benson Henderson and Jose Aldo.
The 33-year-old native of Toms River, New Jersey, will square off with the number 3-ranked bantamweight Faber in a featherweight super-fight, which has a weight limit of 145 pounds.
Although he spent most of his MMA career as a lightweight despite being undersized, Edgar never had trouble in making weight as a featherweight competitor.
At featherweight, Edgar is currently riding high on a three-fight winning streak since he unsuccessfully challenged Aldo for the 145-pound division’s top prize in February 2013.
An impressive victory over Faber would cement his status as the next challenger against the winner of the championship clash between Aldo and Conor McGregor on July 11 (July 12 in PH).
“I have to take care of business on Saturday, and I have to be the No. 1 contender,” Edgar stated.
On the other hand, Faber worked on the punch mitts with Filipino-American MMA veteran Justin Buchholz.
Faber has not fought as a featherweight since April 2010 when he bowed down to Aldo for the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) title via lopsided decision.
The 36-year-old “California Kid” held the WEC featherweight belt for two and a half years and went on to successfully defend the world title five times before losing it to Mike Brown in November 2008.
“There will be no dull moment, and we’re going to bring the heat. I am going for the kill and expecting a great fight. I hope to get that W,” Faber said of his match-up versus Edgar.
Also in attendance for the public training are Mark Muñoz, Luke Barnatt, Gegard Mousasi and Costas Philippou.
Muñoz, who locks horns with Barnatt in his farewell fight at UFC Fight Night 66, received a wild reaction as he performed his signature “Donkey Kong” ground-and-pound.
Meanwhile, Barnatt partnered with former UFC stalwart Phil Davis to show off his grappling pedigree as he is paired with Muñoz, who considers wrestling as his bread-and-butter.
Philippou exhibited his dangerous punching prowess, while Mousasi was more relaxed in executing his shots and clinches. – Rappler.com