MMA Fighter Toni Tauru Ready for ONE: Kings of Destiny

Toni “Dynamite” Tauru is determined to keep his winning momentum going inside the ONE Championship cage as the Finnish fighters aims to claim his second consecutive victory under the umbrella of Asia’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) organization.

The 32-year-old native of Utti, Finland is set to square off with Filipino standout Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon in the co-headliner of ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY, which takes place at the 20,000-seater SM Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines on 21 April.

After falling short in his first two assignments as a ONE Championship athlete, Tauru broke into the promotion’s winning territory for the first time this past December by submitting Belingon’s teammate Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio with a rear-naked choke in the opening salvo.

Tauru wasted no time in the stand-up trade with the Team Lakay representative, shooting immediately for a single-leg takedown and pacifying Eustaquio on the canvas.

From there, Tauru used his size and strength advantage to power through a rear-naked choke to compel Eustaquio to wave the white flag and notch the win in the first round.
Fresh from his spectacular submission triumph over Eustaquio, Tauru sees his three-round bantamweight encounter against Belingon as an opportunity to establish his first winning streak in ONE Championship.

“This is my chance to keep my momentum going in ONE Championship. It’s not impossible. That’s why I am exerting a tremendous amount of effort in training. I want to keep on winning,” he said.

The man standing in Tauru’s goal to make it two in a row in ONE Championship is Belingon, a former bantamweight title challenger who rose to prominence as a fierce cage competitor with the ability to finish opponents in a variety of methods.

Belingon is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Tajik prospect Muin Gafurov, who defeated Tauru by way of third-round stoppage in January 2016.

Although Belingon is the heavy favorite in the marquee match-up versus Tauru on paper, the latter is fervent to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to walk out of the state-of-the-art SM Mall of Asia Arena with his name being announced as the winner.

“Kevin is a good striker. In his last fight, he showed that he now has a good takedown defense. He is also ONE Championship title challenger like me. However, he hasn’t fought a martial artist like me. I am always improving my arsenal and honing my craft,” he stated.

“I am extremely confident for this bout. It’s the perfect match-up to show the whole world my true capabilities as a top-notch competitor in this sport. I am not going to waste this opportunity. I am coming to Manila on April 21st to get my hand raised,” Tauru added.

Tauru looks at his upcoming bout as something more than a climb back up the bantamweight ladder or a chance to erase the memory of bad luck in ONE Championship.

The Finnish submission dynamo views it as an opportunity to visit the Philippines again and win over the passionate Filipino crowd.

“The Philippines is crazy over MMA. They know the sport so well. I know I am fighting their hometown hero. I see it as a challenge to gain their respect. It will be an awesome fight between Kevin and me. Expect that,” Tauru guaranteed.

For more updates on ONE Championship, please visit www.onefc.com, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @ONEChampionship, and like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ONECh ampionship.

Inspired Folayang Ready for Next Title Fight

Who do you think inspires this popular MMA champ of Team Lakay?

Filipino fighter Eduard “Landslide” Folayang feels extra motivated in his first defense of his ONE Lightweight World Championship title next month as he and his wife have welcomed a bouncing baby girl to their family.

Martial Arts Coach George Castro To Set Foot in RP

ONE Championship heavyweight champ Brandon “The Truth” Vera made a promise and it is coming true this New Year. This news rings as a great start to all mixed martial arts enthusiasts this first quarter of 2017 . Do read on!

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Former professional mixed martial artist turned fight coach, George Castro, is set to arrive in Manila the first week of January 2017 to make good on Brandon Vera’s promise to bring the world-famous Alliance MMA gym to Philippine shores. Castro, who has worked with Vera for the past four years, previously served as the strength and conditioning coach at Alliance MMA in San Diego, California.

 

“The plan is to bring a new style — my style of training — to the Philippines. I want to go everywhere and show everybody what I know and spread my knowledge,” said Castro. “Asia has a bunch of tough fighters with a lot of heart, especially in the Philippines.”

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Castro is no stranger to working with world-class talent, having had a hand in the careers of fighters like Jeremy Stephens, Ross Pearson and Wilson Hayes.


A veteran of the fight game, Castro began his MMA career in the early 2000’s, being introduced to the sport by MMA veteran Don Frye. He was then later acquired by MMA fighter Dominick Cruz at Alliance MMA where he then met Vera. 
The two clicked instantly.

“He (Brandon Vera) is ‘The Truth’. He keeps it real, he’s one hundred percent He’s black and white. I’m the same way. I just keep everything legit, no lying, no backstabbing. Let’s just be real with each other,” said Castro.

“If we click, we click, if we don’t, we don’t. With Brandon we did click, so that’s why we became so close. Even though I’m a little bit older than him, I consider him my big brother.”


Castro, along with ONE Heavyweight World Champion Vera, is expected to bring elevated combat sports training into the country. MMA is huge in the Philippines. More and more youth are starting to take up martial arts as a sport. 
But because eastern martial arts is more focused on the striking aspect of fighting as opposed to the west which has focused largely on wrestling and grappling, the level of well-roundedness of local fighters as a whole is slightly below par. That’s all set to change with Castro’s arrival.

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Castro believes that technique can easily be taught but that it is very difficult to find athletes who are completely dedicated to their craft. He however stressed that he sees a lot of potential in the Philippines.

“If you have the heart and you love to work hard and you love to grind, I will always take that person and train somebody like that. Because we can teach that person skill but heart and dedication, you can’t teach,” said Castro.

“Putting up Alliance MMA is going to be great. We’re going to help a lot of young fighters and maybe hopefully pull some kids off the streets and give them a better chance at life like MMA did for me.”

 

Castro will spend the holidays with family and will complete a few more obligations before the year ends, but after that, he’s all-in to move to Manila and begin the next chapter in his career. After 2016, which has been one of the best years of Philippine MMA, Castro’s addition to the country’s training resources could produce some fantastic results.

With Vera spearheading Alliance MMA’s entrance into Asia, the possibilities are endless.

“(Brandon) is a legend in the sport and he’s very well-rounded in every aspect of the sport. Going out to the Philippines with him has been nothing but a blessing for me,” said Castro. “Working with him in opening up this gym is a dream come true for me and I’m a hundred percent excited to get that going.”

For more updates on ONE Championship, please visit www.onefc.com, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @ONEChampionship, and like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ON EChampionship.

A Busy Yet More Exciting ONE Championship 2017 Fight Schedule Out

After a successful and well-attended (as always) Manila fight last December 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena, wherein our very own Brandon “The Truth” Vera defended his heavyweight champion title against Japan’s Hideki Sekine, the largest sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), has just announced its blockbuster 2017 schedule. 

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This past year, ONE Championship delivered world-class mixed martial arts (MMA) action to iconic Asian cities across the region, breaking into new Chinese markets while continuing to delight fans in key Asian destinations. The promotion also successfully held a live event at the Cotai Arena in glitzy Macau, and became the first-ever major MMA promotion to hold a live event in Bangkok, Thailand.

Victor Cui, CEO of ONE Championship, stated: “2016 has been a phenomenal year for ONE Championship. It was absolutely historic for the promotion and 2017 promises to be even better.”

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“With the addition of key senior leaders to aid ONE with our growth plans, the promotion is in an unbelievable position to make some major waves in the global MMA industry. Together we aim to deliver fans a continuously unique experience that they will never forget.”

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In 2016, ONE Championship saw the birth of new world champions, sold out iconic stadiums and arenas all across the world, and entered exciting new markets. Growth has increased exponentially, attracting new major sponsorships and forging stronger business relationships with partners.

With groundbreaking new network television deals, ONE Championship is now broadcast to over one billion viewers in more than 118 countries worldwide, with a loyal and passionate fan base of supporters from nations all across the globe. 2017 promises to be even better in terms of viewership and popularity as ONE Championship lays out plans for new markets.

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ONE Championship has announced plans for live shows in its usual major cities of Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Manila, and Yangon. The promotion is also set to return to the Cotai Arena in Macau and the Impact Arena in Bangkok. New markets Vietnam and Japan are also in the works as well as multiple destinations in mainland China including Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Beijing.

In line with ONE Championship’s growth strategy, building local homegrown Asian martial arts heroes from the grassroots, the promotion is set to take advantage of the potential of world-class MMA in Vietnam, South Korea and Japan with events to be announced at a later date.

“ONE Championship is coming out in full force to hold electric live events all over mainland China, with plans to break into new and exciting markets in Vietnam, South Korea and Japan. I know fans can’t wait for ONE to come to town. Get ready for one of the biggest years in MMA.” Cui concludes.
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ONE Championship 2017 Schedule

Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta Convention Center

Saturday, January 14

 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Stadium Negara

Friday, February 10

Bangkok, Thailand

Impact Arena

Saturday, March 11

Manila, Philippines

Mall of Asia Arena

Friday, April 21

Singapore

Singapore Indoor Stadium

Friday, May 26

Beijing, China

Le Sports Center

Friday, June 30

Yangon, Myanmar

Thuwunna Indoor Stadium

Friday, July 14

Macau, China

Cotai Arena

Saturday, August 12

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Stadium Negara

Friday, August 18

Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta Convention Center

Saturday, September 16

Shenzhen, China

Bao An Stadium

Saturday, October 21

Da Nang, Vietnam

Tien Son Sport Center

Friday, October 27

Yangon, Myanmar

Thuwunna Indoor Stadium

Friday, November 3

Manila, Philippines

Mall of Asia Arena

Friday, November 10

Singapore

Singapore Indoor Stadium

Friday, November 24

Beijing, China

Le Sports Center

Saturday, December 2

Bangkok, Thailand

Impact Arena

Saturday, December 9

Shanghai, China

Mercedes Benz Center

Tuesday, December 12

For more updates on ONE Championship, please visit www.onefc.com, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @ONEChampionship, and like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ONECh ampionship.

Many thanks to Mr. Loren Mack, Ms. Tammy Chan Mun Yi of ONE Championship along with Ms. Tessa Jazmines and her Team LARC and ASSET for all the assistance and media/PR needs. Until the next Manila fights!

Photo Credits: ONE Championship Facebook Page …Many thanks for the amazing Age of Domination in Manila fight night pics! 

One Championship Bibiano Fernandes To Defend Title Again in Manila

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It’s another exciting One Championship weekend this December 2 here in Manila!

Reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes may have been born and raised in Brazil, but the ONE Championship titleholder feels deep in his heart that Manila is his home away from home.


Fernandes (19-3) is the promotion’s top bantamweight talent and is one of the best fighters in the world. He will take on Filipino-Australian sensation Reece “Lightning” McLaren (9-3) in the co-main event of ONE: AGE OF DOMINATION which takes place Friday, 2 December at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.

Fernandes has competed four times so far in Manila. His stint this upcoming ONE Fight Night will be his fifth. The Brazilian says making his ONE Championship debut in Manila was a special moment in his career.

“First time I went to Manila I thought about Muhammad Ali, the boxer, and that I fought in the same arena he fought,” said Fernandes, who debut for ONE at the Araneta Coliseum. “For me that was a big thing. Ali fought there and I fought the same place as him. So for that reason, fighting in Manila is very special for me.”

Fernandes began his tenure with ONE Championship back in 2012 at the event dubbed “Pride of a Nation”. It was ONE’s fifth show overall since establishing the promotion in 2011. Fernandes at the time was being positioned as a superstar in Manila.

Since then, Fernandes has strung together eight straight victories including four exciting finishes. He hasn’t lost since dropping a unanimous decision to Japanese fighter Hiroyuki Takaya in 2010, making him ONE’s longest reigning champion.

Yet victory hasn’t come easy he says. Fernandes believes that the key to his success is the work he puts into training.

“I believe in myself. I believe if I train right and do everything right I’m going to do my best and when I do my best the outcome is victory,” said Fernandes. “I always have confidence with my training, I always try to be healthy. What happens in the fight is in the fight. Be sharp, be strong, be smart, be quick.”

Out of his 19 total victories, nine have come by finish. The proud champion is hoping to put on a good showing against McLaren, who is 11 years his junior. At 36-years old, Fernandes has not shown any signs of slowing down. In fact, he gives fans a slight hint at what’s to come on fight night.

“[Reece McLaren] is a young guy. He wants to fight. He’s going to bring the fight,” said Fernandes. “But they call me ‘The Flash’ because I finish guys quick. Until today I still have that nickname.”

“I like everything about Manila. Manila is a very nice, warm place. I love the people,” said Fernandes.

Good luck and may it be a very safe fighting to both Bibiano and Reece who always excited me when I meet them in person in their Manila stints.

June 2017
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