My MMA Journey · Philippines

My Amateur MMA Journey, Part 7: URCC XXX

 

Last night, four champions defended their titles in stunning fashion at URCC XXX at the Araneta Coliseum.

 

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SMART Araneta Coliseum from the upper box

 

This was my first time attending a live MMA or fighting event of any kind, in fact, and I was not disappointed by the action.

 

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The night’s warriors

 

I arrived just in time to see the lineup, followed by my friend Kiko Matos’ quick and easy wipe out on his cocky challenger Billy Jack Sanchez.

 

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Pro-am celebrity fighter Kiko Matos makes his entrance

 

 

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Matos and Sanchez in the cage

 

With a solid takedown, Matos took full mount and pounded his jiu-jitsu blue-belt opponent until he gave him back control, where Matos finished the fight only two minutes into the first round with a rear-naked choke–my own favorite move.

(Was it a black belt that Sanchez held? Whatever the color, it didn’t help him much.)

In fact, four of the nights nine fights ended in an RNC. Korean grappler Do Gyeom Lee’s submission was certainly a crowd favorite. He took his opponent down so many times in the fight’s one and only round I felt bad for the floor. Jojo Orao got out and got up time after time, but once Lee secured had him down in the RNC there was no escape.

Korean grappler Do Gyeom Lee’s submission was certainly a crowd favorite. He took his opponent down so many times in the fight’s one and only round I felt bad for the floor. Jojo “El Matador” Orao got out and got up time after time, but once Lee the “Undead” secured had him down in the RNC there was no escape.

The longest and in my opinion most well-matched fight of the night was between two flyweight kids, Fritz Biagtan and Solomon Dultra. For three rounds they gave and took one beating after another, with flurries of kicks, knees, punches, and a brutal elbow. The fight was stopped by the referee near the four-minute mark of the third round after a barrage of strikes from Biagtan annihilated Dultra.

For three rounds they gave and took one beating after another, with flurries of kicks, knees, punches, and a brutal elbow. The fight was stopped by the referee near the four-minute mark of the third round after a barrage of strikes from Biagtan annihilated Dultra.

Another remarkable victory was taken by Filipino-American Derrick Easterling, who won by knock out in the second round and flaunted his victory astride the cage. Being part African-American, Easterling didn’t quite look the Filipino but he put an end to any confusion by walking out with the flag to a song about Filipino roots. I suppose he wanted to be sure that the crowd knew they could cheer for him and his victory over the full-blooded Jiar “The Twister” Castillo.

On to the night’s main event, DEFTAC’s very own Swiss-Filipino Chris Hofmann, who I’ve had the pleasure of training with once or twice at B.A.M.F., rose to defend his middleweight title from Canadian fighter Robert Sothmann.

Despite his challenger’s taunts that he was “in for a rude awakening”, Hofmann withstood a couple of strong kicks, a choke hold, and a knee to the face from Sothmann and went on to dominate the fight, which was stopped by the referee seconds before the end of the first round. Hofmann brought Sothmann down against the cage with a stunning straight to the face and unleashed such a fury of punches that, after half a minute of trying to take it, his opponent tapped out.

Hofmann brought Sothmann down against the cage with a stunning straight to the face and unleashed such a fury of punches that, after half a minute of trying to take it, his opponent tapped out.

The night wasn’t over yet, however. Next up, URCC presented live on television for the first time in the Philippines a most-ridiculous three-on-three team fight.

Yes, it was ridiculous and it didn’t last very long. After that, there was a Red Horse drinking game on stage and I took that as my cue to get going. I don’t think I will ever be desperate enough to drink Red Horse.

And that was the night. Despite some glitches, delays, and scheduling issues, it was quite entertaining.

My favorite move of the night was when one fighter was on his back with his legs in guard while the other, standing, launched himself into the air and came crashing down on his opponent with a flying fist. Now that’s commitment.

Yes, good fun and a good night.

Congratulations to all four champions for defending their titles in such spectacular fashion!

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