MANILA, Philippines – ONE Championship is set to return to the Philippines after more than two years with ONE 164: Pacio vs. Brooks on December 3 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Headlining the card is the long-awaited clash between the Philippines’ best pound-for-pound fighter in reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio and rampaging American top contender Jarred “The Monkey God” Brooks.
Fans can only speculate who might be on the show’s undercard. While there’s no official word yet, a plethora of big names in the Philippine combat sports scene could fill the event.
Former ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera has taken a break from active competition to focus on family, particularly the birth of his son, but that doesn’t mean the fire has left him.
In fact, it’s only getting stronger as the heavyweight division continues to grow.
“Seeing all these monsters, it’s great. It helps me stay motivated. I know that if I don’t get in shape and stay motivated, then I won’t be ready for these guys,” Vera said.
“You can get hurt playing with those big boys. The ONE Championship heavyweight division is no joke. They’re either knocking people out or submitting everybody. You better be ready when you get in the Circle.”
In the same interview, Brandon Vera dropped a hint on when he’ll be returning – Q4 of the year. With all things considered, there’s no better card for “The Truth” to make his return on.
Denice Zamboanga skyrocketed to the top of the atomweight division during the closed-doors era of the pandemic, as she endeared herself to fans and pundits alike with her ability to strike and dominate on the ground.
Funny thing is, Zamboanga has never experienced competing in front of a live Mall of Asia Arena crowd, and it’s something that “Lycan Queen” is definitely looking forward to.
Hitting a wall in her young career following consecutive losses to Ham Seo Hee, the 25-year-old can use the boost in morale from the Filipino crowd as she looks to get back to the top of the division and move closer to her goal of becoming the first woman from the Philippines to become a Mixed Martial Arts World Champion.
Filipina-American striking sensation Jackie Buntan had great words for the Philippines when she visited the country for the first time earlier this year.
Buntan noticed the warmness and hospitality she received from the locals from the moment she stepped foot into the country. Now imagine if she finally gets to feel that support when competing in front of some of the most passionate fans in the world.
Though she was unsuccessful in her bid to become the ONE Women’s Strawweight Muay Thai World Champion after losing to Smilla Sundell, she remains one of the biggest stars in her division, and her road back to the top could start in Manila. – Rappler.com