So you’ve read our preliminary card predictions for the biggest MMA event you’ll see in the Philippines this year, “ONE FC: Pride of a Nation”, and you probably either agreed with what we predicted, didn’t agree with what predicted or think we’re just a bunch of jocks who love hot chicks and we drink beer. You might even question our knowledge of MMA history, MMA psychology and MMAthematics (see what I just did there). Well, if you’re one of those guys, I have a question for you. What kind of guy doesn’t drink beer or like hot chicks? Obviously, a guy like you and we doubt you’ll be watching ONE FC: Pride of a Nation because that’s just too cool for you. Go back to your football buddy.
Well with that completely unprovoked rant being done, I got to start off this article the right way. You’ll know what’s the right way if you read part one of our predictions and if you haven’t STOP right there, go back and read it first. If you have, then you should know that we’re less than one day away from the biggest show ONE FC has ever staged and the biggest MMA show ever held in the Philippines, “ONE FC: Pride of a Nation”, and here’s our predictions for the rest of the fight card.
Soo Chul Kim vs Kevin Belingon
In the next match up, we’re going to see another URCC Champion and one of the top stars from Team Lakay, Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon going one on one with Soo Chul Kim.
Much like his team mate, Honorio Banario, Kevin Belingon was tearing up the Filipino fight scene until he made his international debut at ONE FC: War of the Lions against Japanese legend, Masakazu Imanari. Belingon was 9-0 before falling to the JMMA star via heel hook submission. Whether it was nerves or just a mistake, Belingon is looking to bounce back from that loss by winning convincingly in front of his country men. Belingon has it all in our opinion, he’s fast, he’s technical, he’s got great stand up and he’s got a solid ground game too.
This will be Soo Chul Kim’s 3rd time fighting in ONE FC. Kim (5-4) seemed to have lost a lot of steam after his loss to Evolve MMA standout, Leandro Issa and subsequently went on a 3 fight losing streak. However, he did manage to pick up a recent win against Shoko Sato ROAD FC 008 and it’ll at least give him some momentum coming into this bout.
The breakdown: While Kim’s got a good chance at pulling this off given that he does have decent stand up and grappling skills, we think that Belingon more or less has this one in the bag. Belingon, in our opinion, is a much better all round mixed martial artist than Kim. The Belingon who lost to Imanari is not the Belingon you’ll see this Friday. Furthermore, with thousands of fans cheering him on, we just can’t see him losing this fight.
Our pick: Kevin Belingon wins via TKO
Jung Hwan Cha vs. Igor Gracie
Igor, the brother of Gregor and Rolles Gracie, will be making his ONE FC debut. Igor (5-2) is, to no surprise at all, a fighter who’s specializes in grappling. What else would you expect from a Gracie? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. He’s currently riding high on a 4 fight win streak in which he won every fight via submission.
Jung Hwan Cha (8-6-1) is a veteran of the sport who’s faced top level competition such as George Sotiropoulos, Dong Hyun Kim and Ryo Chonan. In fact, he knocked out Chonan in their 2010 bout. Jung currently fights for ONE FC affiliate ROAD FC. He’s coming into this fight off a loss against Roan Carneiro. He was submitted via arm bar.
The breakdown: Igor is trying to make a name for himself in ONE FC the hard way. Jung is definitely a very difficult opponent for Igor. Jung is more experienced and he possesses knockout power in his hands as shown with his KO win over Chonan. However, the one glaring thing that we cannot deny is the fact that 4 out of 6 of his losses have come via submission. We definitely see Igor realizing this and going for the submission as the fight wears on. It would the best strategy for Igor to bring this fight to the ground and go for the submission and for Jung to keep this fight standing and look for the KO.
Our pick: Igor Gracie with a submission victory. Igor’s on a 4 fight win streak and we see him making it 5.
Tony Bonello vs. Rolles Gracie
Many people in Asia don’t realize how good Tony Bonello is. He’s 16-1, with a loss only to Shogun’s brother Murilo “Ninja” Rua, he’s a former King of the Cage Champion and he’s finished 14 of his 16 fights via submission. However, with that being said, Bonello hasn’t been very active in the past few years having last competed in February 2010.
Fans will remember Rolles Gracie as that “Gracie who beat the crap out of Bob Sapp in Indonesia”, yeah peeps, that’s him. Rolles (6-1) will be coming into this fight with a huge size advantage. He’s bigger, he’s heavier and arguably, the better grappler of the two. He’s only lost one fight and that was by TKO.
The breakdown: With both guys being high level BJJ practitioners fans can either expect a grappling clinic, which we hope doesn’t end up a snoozefest or their high level BJJ will end up cancelling each other out and they’ll “stand and bang”. We see the former being the more likely of the 2. If this fight goes to the ground and Gracie can maintain top position or at least control, there’s a high chance that we might see Gracie submitting Bonello. Gracie’s size and weight will definitely be an advantage.
Our pick: Rolles Gracie via decision
Jens Pulver vs. Eric Kelly
This might just be the most anticipated fight out of the whole event. It’s a fight between new school vs old school, Asia vs the USA and a red hot up and comer vs a legend of the sport. People are going to go crazy over Pulver vs Kelly.
What is there to say about Jens Pulver other than the fact that he’s a legend of our sport. He’s fought the best (BJ Penn, Urijah Faber, Takanori Gomi) and he’s fought in the biggest promotions of all time (UFC, Pride & WEC). Pulver has really good wrestling skills and he’s got knockout power in his hands too. While he’s had a really bad run in the WEC (5 straight losses), he does seem to be back in the game winning 4 out of his last 6 fights.
Eric Kelly is without a shadow of a doubt, one of the hottest Asian MMA prospects out there. He’s a URCC Champion, he’s undefeated with 7 wins, he’s got good stand up and he’s finished 6 of his fights via submission and to top it all off, he’s going to have 16,500 Filipinos behind him cheering him on. Furthermore, with the possibility of a title shot in the near future should he beat Pulver, we’re pretty sure that Kelly will enter this fight 100% focused and determined to get the “W”.
The breakdown: This is going to be one hell of a fight with both guys not being afraid to take this fight anywhere in the cage. We really can’t predict who’s going to capitalize on their ground game or if they will stand and trade blows. While it’s a tough fight to predict an outcome, we’re pretty confident that the fans are going to love this fight.
Our pick: We love Pulver and it’ll be exciting to see him in a ONE FC cage. However, for this fight we’re picking Eric Kelly to win via submission. Kelly’s on the up and up and we can’t even imagine a legend being able to stop him.
Tim Sylvia vs. Andrei Arlovski
If you told me last year that in 2012 I would be watching Tim Sylvia go at it against Andrei Arlovski in Manila, I would have probably told you to go kill yourself. Yeah, it would have been that extreme. While people have been sh*tting on this rematch for the past couple of weeks, we think otherwise. We think that this is going to be a pretty good brawl.
Both guys are more motivated now than they’ve been for a very long time and they’re both taking this fight very seriously, not just because they hate each other. Sylvia (31-7) has been really good as of late. He’s won 7 out of his last 8 fights and is currently on a 3 fight win streak. 6 out of the 7 wins he’s recently had came out via submission or KO.
Arlovski (17-9) seems to be on his way back up as well, winning his last 2 fights at ProElite. Arlovski currently trains out of Greg Jackson’s gym alongside high caliber athletes such as Jon Jones, Clay Guida, Keith Jardine and Brian Stann, just to name a few. You can bet that Greg Jackson, who is the king of game plans, probably has devised one to help Arlovski pull out the victory.
The breakdown: Judging from Tim Sylvia’s current win streak and his past 2 wins against Arlovski, we can see him defeating Arlovski for the 3rd time. Furthermore, Arlovski’s chin has weaken over the years and Sylvia might just capitalize on it to pull out a KO victory. However, never underestimate a fighter coming of out Jackson’s MMA because they always have tricks up their sleeve.
Our pick: Tim Sylvia via KO
Felipe Enomoto vs. Eduard Folayang
This match up is the co-main event of the evening and rightfully so. Not only does it features the biggest MMA star in the Philippines, both men are a great match up for each other stylistically.
URCC Welterweight Champion, Eduard Folayang (11-2), will be coming into this fight off a loss against Ole Laursen at ONE FC: War of the Lions. Folayang is the no.1 ranked MMA fighter in the Philippines and rightfully so. He is a complete mixed martial artist who has great striking, grappling, cardio and speed. While he’s coming off a loss, he looked really good in it, even convincing many that he should have had the win instead of Ole Laursen.
Felipe Enomoto (6-4) will also be looking to bounce back from a loss. He last faced Evolve MMA’s Zorobabel Moreira and lost via arm bar to the Brazilian. While he did defeat the man who beat Folayang, Ole Laursen, Enomoto has not looked good in his last outings and is currently 1 and 3 in his last 4 fights.
The breakdown: We’re going straight to the point with this one. We see Folayang having the upper hand in all aspects against Enomoto. However, don’t expect to see Enomoto go down without a fight. He’s got a lot of heart and determination he’s definitely going to put up a tough fight against the Filipino superstar. Expect this to be a stand up war as both guys aren’t afraid to trade. This match will definitely be a crowd pleaser.
Our pick: Eduard Folayang via TKO
Gustavo Falciroli vs. Bibiano Fernandes
This main event might be the highest caliber main event ONE FC has ever had.
Bibiano Fernandes is the DREAM Bantamweight Champion and one of the top 135lb fighters in the world today. Prior to signing with ONE FC, Fernandes was one of the hottest free agents in the world and was also pursued by the UFC. A Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, Fernandes is an accomplished grappler as he is a mixed martial artist. Bibiano is also a very tough and durable fighter who’s never been finished (doctor stoppages don’t count in our book).
Gustavo Falciroli is a very tough opponent for Fernandes. For one, he’s got a huge size and range advantage as anyone who attended the press conference would tell you. He’s also a very highly skilled MMA fighter who currently has a 12-3-2 record. The CFC champion made short work of Soo Chul Kim in his ONE FC debut, tapping the Korean out within 1:12 in the first round.
The breakdown: Like we said earlier, both guys are in the upper echelon in the ONE FC 135lb division. They’re both outstanding grapplers and are MMA world champions. While Falciroli does have the size advantage, Fernandes might have a slight advantage in the grappling department. However, if Faliciroli can stay in a dominant position and with his size, he might be able to dominate Fernandes.
Our pick: We’re going against the grain here and are picking Gustavo Falciroli to win via decision.