Three homegrown Filipino talents failed in their respective bid to hoist the Philippine flag aloft on the ONE Championship stage last Saturday, November 17.
Eugene Toquero, Jimmy Yabo, and Angelie Sabanal yielded against their respective foreign opponents on the undercard of ONE: WARRIOR’S DREAM at the Stadium Istora in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Toquero, a National Muay Thai Champion, opened the night for the Philippines when he battled Tatsumitsu Wada of Japan.
Wada, who was making his second appearance in the world’s largest martial arts organization, needed just under a minute to submit the Filipino in the opening round.
Toquero overcommitted to a left hook seconds into the bout, which instantly gave his back to the Japanese, who immediately capitalized on the opening by taking the fight on the mat.
It didn’t take long for Wada to lock in a rear-naked choke while on the ground, prompting Toquero to tap at the 0:52 mark of round one.
“I’ve trained my takedown defense heading to this bout, but it was my own mistake that ended the night for me,” Toquero admitted. “I will go back to the drawing board and come back better. This is not the end of me.”
Yabo came in next on the undercard when he locked horns against Anthony Engelen for a scheduled three-round catchweight contest.
After exchanging strikes in the opening minute, Engelen went for a successful takedown that spelled the beginning of the end for Yabo.
The Cebu native ultimately left his back open after a failed maneuver to place himself in the mount position.
Engelen took advantage of the mistake and then swiftly secured a rear-naked choke, compelling Yabo to wave the white flag at the 2:35 mark of round one.
“I was confident in both my striking and grappling against Engelen. I took a risk, and it didn’t pay off. This is a learning experience that I can use for my upcoming bouts,” Yabo stated.
Meanwhile, Sabanal took on hometown favorite Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol in a three-round atomweight clash.
In only her second outing as a professional mixed martial artist, Sabanal showcased her warrior spirit for the entire duration of the contest as she constantly traded strikes with her foe.
However, Lumban Gaol outworked her Filipina counterpart from bell to bell as she constantly moved forward the entire bout and utilized her striking superiority.
Lumban Gaol was awarded a unanimous decision after three five-minute rounds, giving Sabanal her first taste of defeat inside the cage.
“To challenge myself against someone like Lumban Gaol for my second bout is a great learning experience. I see this as something that would benefit my career in the future,” Sabanal stressed.
Team Philippines has the opportunity to redeem the pride of the country in mixed martial arts competition as five athletes will don the nation’s colors at ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS, which takes place at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines on Friday, November 23.
In an explosive battle between two of the best heavyweights on the planet, ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera defends his belt against Cage Warriors Heavyweight Champion Mauro Cerilli in the night’s main event.
The co-main event is no less thrilling, with former titleholder Eduard Folayang taking on record-holding knockout artist Amir Khan for the vacant ONE Lightweight World Championship.
Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio Banario is also set to grace the cage with against Dae Sung “Crazy Dog” Park. of South Korea.
ONE Warrior Series alumnus Rocke Backtol battles Akihiro Fujisawa in a three-round flyweight bout, while Jeremy Miado tests his mettle against Peng Xue Wen.