Philippine Sportswriters Association to honor Brandon Vera, Team Lakay’s Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Joshua Pacio, Geje Eustaquio

Joshua Pacio, Geje Eustaquio, Mark Sangiao, Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon
Joshua Pacio, Geje Eustaquio, Mark Sangiao, Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon

The Philippine Sportswriters Association is set to acknowledge the best of Philippine sports in the previous year at the SMC-PSA Annual Awards Night on February 26, 2019. Four of the honorees are ONE Championship athletes training out of Team Lakay in Baguio City, Philippines.

Filipino superstars Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, Joshua “The Passion” Pacio and Brandon “The Truth” Vera are set to be cited after claiming World Title victories in ONE Championship. They accumulated an astonishing record of 12-0 last year as the Filipino athletes shone in The Home Of Martial Arts.

“It’s an honor definitely,” Folayang said. “It’s always a blessing to be in this position and be recognized for what we do. We hope that through this, we will continue to inspire others.”

Folayang reclaimed his ONE Lightweight World Title when he defeated Singapore’s Amir Khan by way of unanimous decision last November at ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS, the same night Vera defended his ONE Heavyweight World Title against Mauro “The Hammer” Cerilli of Italy. Belingon finally got his hands on the ONE Bantamweight World Champion when he defeated Bibiano Fernandes via split decision in a highly-anticipated rematch at ONE: HEART OF THE LION this past November.

Eustaquio and Pacio also won World Titles the past year. But unfortunately dropped those titles early this year.

Vera and the Team Lakay fighters will be joined by several notable names in other sports which include WBO mini flyweight champion Vic Saludar and Manny Pacquiao’s trainer Buboy Fernandez. Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, skateboarder Margielyn Didal, and golfers Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan, and Lois Kaye Go, all gold medal winners at the 2018 Asian Games will be awarded with the coveted Athlete of the Year honors.

Here are Folayang, Belingon, Pacio and Eustaquio in a post-fight press conference in 2018:

Joshua Pacio vs Yosuke Saruta rematch at ‘ONE: Roots of Honor’ in Manila, Philippines?

Yosuke Saruta, Joshua Pacio (© ONE Championship)
Yosuke Saruta, Joshua Pacio (© ONE Championship)

On January 19, 2019, Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta, 31, of Saitama, Japan became the new ONE Strawweight World Champion by dethroning defending champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, 22, of La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines. They headlined “ONE: Eternal Glory” at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia.

After five five-minute rounds, the bout between Pacio and Saruta was left in the hands of the judges. In the end, referee Olivier Coste raised the hand of the Japanese challenger, who was declared the winner via split decision.

The decision was highly debated in the mixed martial community. ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong even declared that he personally believed it was Pacio who won the match.

More than a month after the match, reports claim that the rematch between Pacio and Saruta will take place during the second ONE Championship event in 2019 to take place in the Philippines. They will reportedly co-headline “ONE: Roots of Honor,” which is scheduled to take place at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines.

In the same venue on January 25, 2019, Pacio’s Team Lakay teammate Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, 29, lost his ONE Flyweight World Champion belt to his Brazilian rival Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes, 29. Titled “ONE: Hero’s Ascent,” it was the first ONE Championship event in 2019 to take place in the Philippines.

The loss to Saruta at “ONE: Eternal Glory” downgraded Pacio’s professional MMA record to 16 wins and 3 losses. It marked the Filipino fighter’s ninth ONE Championship bout.

Pacio had four previous ONE Championship bouts at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. The most recent one was “ONE: Reign of Kings” on July 27, 2018 when he submitted Pongsiri “The Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit, 22, of Thailand.

Reigning ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, 29, of Australia and Vietnam is reportedly headlining “ONE: Roots of Honor.” His rumored challenger is Narantungalag “Tungaa” Jadambaa, 43, of Mongolia.

ONE Championship has yet to release the “ONE: Roots of Honor” fight card. Meanwhile, here are Michael Schiavello and Mitch Chilson giving a “ONE: Eternal Glory” recap:

[PHOTOS] Philippines vs Japan: Joshua Pacio, Yosuke Saruta fight at ‘ONE: Eternal Glory’ in Indonesia

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The Philippines and Japan were among the 14 countries represented at “ONE: Eternal Glory.” It is the first event of Singapore-based martial arts organization ONE Championship in 2019.

Featuring 10 mixed martial arts matches and two Muay Thai contests, “ONE: Eternal Glory” took place at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia on January 19, 2019. In the main event of the evening, Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta, 31, of Saitama, Japan challenged reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, 22, of La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines.

Blue Corner

Saruta was born in Kawaguchi, Saitama on July 8, 1987. Training out of Wajutsu Keishukai HEARTS in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan, he has been competing professionally since 2008.

A former Shooto Strawweight World Champion, Saruta made his successful ONE Championship debut on December 7, 2018 at “ONE: Destiny of Champions” where he defeated Alex “Little Rock” Silva, 36, of Brazil via unanimous decision. “ONE: Eternal Glory” marked the Japanese fighter’s second bout in ONE Championship.

Red Corner

Pacio is training out of Team Lakay in La Trinidad. The only two opponents he lost to were ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, 34, of Matsudo, Chiba, Japan and Suzuki.

The Team Lakay fighter lost via rear-naked choke submission to Naito on October 7, 2016 at “ONE: State of Warriors” at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar and to Suzuki on August 5, 2017 at “ONE: Kings and Conquerors” at the Cotai Arena in Macau, China. But on September 22, 2018, Pacio defeated Naito via unanimous decision in their rematch at “ONE: Conquest of Heroes” at the Jakarta Convention Center in Jakarta.

Fight Result

After five five-minute rounds, the ONE Strawweight World Championship bout between Pacio and Saruta was left in the hands of the judges. In the end, referee Olivier Coste raised the hand of the Japanese challenger, who was declared the winner via split decision.

Saruta was relentless with his chain wrestling. He managed to Pacio down on numerous occasions while trading powerful combinations on the feet.

Winning at “ONE: Eternal Glory” improved Saruta’s professional MMA record to 19 wins, 8 losses and 3 draws. On the other hand, Pacio now has 3 wins and 3 losses.

“ONE: Eternal Glory” Co-Main Event

In the co-main event, Alexi “Phet” Serepisos, 24, of New Zealand and Mongkolpetch Petchyindee Academy, 23, of Thailand competed in a Muay Thai contest in the flyweight division. The Thai contender won via unanimous decision.

Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and the United Kingdom were also represented at “ONE: Eternal Glory.” Check the complete fight card here. Watch all the bouts here:

[PHOTOS] Joshua Pacio, Yosuke Saruta face off during ‘ONE: Eternal Glory’ open workout in Jakarta, Indonesia

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Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta, 31, of Saitama, Japan will challenge reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, 23, of Baguio City, Philippines in the main event of “ONE: Eternal Glory” on January 19, 2019. On January 16, 2019, the two had their face-off during the official open workout for the upcoming ONE Championship event held at the Syena Martial Arts Center in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“I feel I am at my best right now,” Pacio told the media. “After a tremendous training camp, I’m ready to step up to the plate and defend my title. This World Title means everything to me.”

“It represents all the hard work that me and my team have put in,” the reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion added. “Now it’s time to reap the fruits of our labor.”

Saruta thanked ONE Championship for the opportunity to challenge for the ONE Strawweight World Championship. For him, it was certainly an honor.

“When I made my debut a few months ago, I wanted to make a statement,” Saruta stated. “I wanted to prove to the world that I am ready for a title shot immediately. That is what I have done and now we are here.”

Other ONE Championship athletes set to compete at “ONE: Eternal Glory” faced the fans and media in attendance with a world-class martial arts skills demonstration. Priscilla “Thathi” Hertati Lumban Gaol, 30, of Jakarta, Puja “The Cyclone”Tomar, 25, of Muzaffernaga, India, Stefer “The Lion” Rahardian, 32, of Jakarta, Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan, 28, of Iloilo, Philippines, Anthony “The Archangel” Engelen, 33, of Indonesia and the Netherlands and “Pretty Boy” Kwon Won Il, 33, of Goyang, South Korea exhibited their fighting skills alongside their respective coaches.

“ONE: Eternal Glory” will take place at Istora Senayan in Jakarta. The fight card features 10 mixed martial arts matches and two Muay Thai contests.

Here is a clip featuring the recent “ONE: Eternal Glory” open workout in Jakarta:

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