Welcome to our preview and predictions for “ONE FC: Pride of a Nation” which takes place Friday, Aug. 31, in Manila, Philippines. This is only part one of our predictions so you have to promise us that you’ll be back to read part two too alright? That’s a good idea much like exercising the option and deciding to buy the ‘ONE FC: Pride of a Nation’ PPV. But you have to hurry up, after all, it’s just one day away.
Honorio “The Rock” Banario vs Andrew Benibe
The opening bout for ONE FC: Pride of a Nation will see Filipino fighter vs Filipino fighter as URCC’s Lightweight Champion, Honorio Banario faces Andre Benibe.
Banario is coming off a very disappointing loss at the hands of Bae Young Kwon at ONE FC: Battle of the Heroes where he lost to the Korean via rear naked choke in just 56 seconds into the first round. It was his first loss in his 7 fight career. Prior to the loss, Banario was undefeated and won all his fights via KO, TKO or submission.
Andrew Benibe (4-2) has been competing in the URCC since 2007. Even though he’s been in the promotion for 5 years, he usually fights around once or twice a year, much less than the average Filipino fighter. He’s been on quite a roll as of late, finishing 2 of his past opponents via TKO and another via submission.
The breakdown: We won’t lie and say that we’ve broken down the strategy that Benibe uses and talk about the accuracy of his striking. While we did see 2 of his matches, we’re not experts on the guy. While he’s a decent fighter with pretty good stand up, I think it’ll be a safe bet to put your money on Banario to finish this fight. Sure his performance against Bae Young Kwon was as good as a Ramlee burger sold by an Indian immigrant but we think all his fights before his ONE FC debut speaks volumes about his ability.
Our pick: Honorio Banario wins via TKO
Shannon “One Shin” Wiratchai vs Mitch Chilson
We last saw Mitch Chilson just a few weeks ago competing and winning at ONE FC: Destiny of Warriors. Chilson (3-1) fights out of Asia’s no.1 gym, Evolve MMA and trains with Muay Thai, BJJ and Wrestling Champions on a daily basis. This was evident in his last fight against A.J. Vaa. Vaa was no match for Chilson and ended up tapping out in the 1st round. While Chilson started his career as a stand up fighter, he’s also developed pretty decent ground skills and is a Gracie Jiu Jitsu blue belt as well.
Shannon Wiratchai (2-0) is one of the hottest prospects to come out of the Thai MMA scene. He’s had both of his victories at DARE in Thailand, defeating brothersTondamrong Panjabutra and D.K. Panjabutra. He’s a black belt in Judo and he’s currently training at Tiger Muay Thai to prepare for this fight. This will no doubt be his biggest test to date.
The breakdown: Coming off his win against AJ Vaa, Chilson definitely has the momentum in this fight. We’ve never seen a more motivated Chilson and given that he’s already 34 years old, we’re sure that he’s giving everything he’s got to his fight career. However, we think that Wiratchai is definitely a step up in competition for Mitch. We’ve seen Wiratchai in both of his matches and he was quite impressive. Furthermore, now that he’s training at Tiger Muay Thai, he’ll definitely come in prepared and be a much more well rounded mixed martial artist. We think that this is going to be a tough fight for both guys and they will push each other to the limit. It’s definitely going to be a tough one to call.
Our pick: While we think that Wiratchai will be a tough test for Chilson, we have to go with The Dragon for the “W”. He’s got more experience than Wiratchai and considering that he’s under the watchful eye of Asia’s best MMA coach Chatri Sityodtong, we’re pretty sure he’ll have a good game plan going into this fight. We see Chilson winning via TKO.
Rodrigo “Ximbica” Ribeiro vs Phil “The New York Badass” Baroni
Rodrigo Ribeiro (9-9) fights out of Evolve MMA and is a team mate of Mitch Chilson. He’s a 3rd Degree Gracie Berra BJJ Black-Belt and a multi-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion, having won in countless national and regional competitions. He’s known to be a fierce competitor with a “take no prisoners” attitude. Fans last saw him compete at ONE FC: Battle of Heroes where he lost via unanimous decision to Rustam Khabilov from Jackson’s MMA.
Phil Baroni (14-15) really needs no introduction. He’s fought in Pride, the UFC, Strikeforce and just about any other big name promotion out there. While he might have fought in many of the top promotions around, he’s been having a real rough time as of late, losing 5 of his 6 last fights. However, Baroni still remains motivated to turn his career around and realizing his dream of being a champion one day. Baroni has gone back and is currently training at AKA alongside Cain Velasquez, Jon Fitch and other high caliber athletes who might be instrumental in helping him realize his goal.
The breakdown: Both these guys are coming off loses and need a win badly, especially Baroni who has his back against the wall. How do we see this fight playing out? Well, if Baroni is sticking to his usual game plan then Ximbica will have to weather the storm in the opening round. Baroni will probably go for a knockout and try to finish the fight fast. For Ribeiro it’s a matter of putting Baroni on this back and submitting or grinding it out for a decision.
As much as we would love to see a Rocky Balboa story come true with Baroni fighting his way back to his glory days and becoming a champion, we can’t help but feel that Ribeiro will be able to take him down, control him during the fight and gain a decision victory.
Our pick: Rodrigo “Ximbica” Ribeiro wins via decision.
Gregor Gracie vs Nicholas Mann
This will be the 3rd appearance of Gregor Gracie (6-2) with ONE FC. He’s coming off a decision loss against Malaysia’s Adam Kayoom at ONE FC: Destiny of Warriors. Gracie is most comfortable on the ground as 5 out of 6 of his victories have all been via submission.
Nicholas Mann (4-1) is the current URCC Light Heavyweight Champion and he looked very impressive in his last fight against Filipino veteran Froilan Sarenas. He’s a very well rounded fighter who seems to be comfortable both standing and on the ground and judging from his last fight, he’s probably in the beat shape of his life right now.
The breakdown: They say that a fighter is only as good as his last fight. If that holds true then Gregor Gracie might be in big trouble. It’s no secret that Gracie suffered from serious cardio issues in his last fight against Kayoom and had nothing left by the 3rd round. We see Gracie going for his bread and butter, trying to get the fight to the ground and going for the submission. As for Mann, he seems to have good cardio for a big man which will be very crucial in the later part of the fight. Gracie might have a problem taking down Mann too because the Australian is a powerhouse who should have no problem in stopping it. We definitely think that Mann will try to keep this one standing.
Our pick: Nicholas Mann wins via decision.
So there you have it people. Now go check out our main card predictions for ONE FC: Pride of a Nation.