Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Honorio Banario crowned first ever One FC Featherweight Champion

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Honorio Banario crowned first ever One FC Featherweight Champion
by rick olivares

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Honorio Banario ascended to the top of Asia’s rapidly growing mixed martial arts organization One Fighting Championship by winning the very first title match for the Featherweight title following a fourth round stoppage of compatriot Eric Kelly.

Banario, who struggled to make the weight of 145 lbs. the day before showed no signs of weakness and dehydration after he shed 10 pounds to move down from his traditional light heavyweight class to the featherweight division. The Baguio City native came into the fight with Kelly sporting a 7-1-0 record while the latter was undefeated at 9-0. When he was offered the opportunity by One FC to fight for the title even against a fellow Filipino, he didn’t balk the slightest at the opportunity. And he took that approach to the cage at the Putra Stadium in Kuala Lumpur for One FC: Return of Warriors where the fight with Kelly was the main event.

It wasn’t the superfight that Banario predicted as Kelly seemed reticent to mix it up perhaps an effect from his previous fight with Australian Brad Terrey who shut his right eye in a URCC bout last December 1 in Manila. Kelly scored early in the match with his traditional stand up kicks but Banario took the second and third rounds with better strikes as he avoided going to the mat against the former who has better grappling skills.

In the fourth round of the scheduled five-round title match, Banario threw a left that hit Kelly solidly below the left eye. Kelly recoiled and fell back. Before Banario could rush in to finish the job, Kelly held up his hand in a “no mas” position as referee Yuji Shimada stopped the fight.

Banario said that losing weight didn’t affect him one bit even if he spent several hours shedding excess poundage during the weigh in. “I trained hard for this,” said Banario. “I was in great shape even if I had a problem making the weight. I don’t think that Kelly was hesitant to attack because that’s his style – he waits for you to commit then he looks for an opening. Maybe it’s because we both know each other’s styles so well that is why we didn’t come charging at one another.”

Banario’s win ensured that Team Lakay, the famed mixed martial arts outfit out of Baguio City that also houses Eduard Folayang and Kevin Belingon, will not go home empty. In the fight that preceded the title bout, Filipino Rey Docyogen was leading on all judges’ scorecards with his masterful striking and kicking that held opponent Shinichi Kojima, a former Japanese Shooto champion, at bay.

Docyogen was pounding Kojima in the clinch when the Japanese fighter reversed the move and forced the Filipino to submit with a guillotine choke. It was Docyogen’s first loss in 10 matches while Kojima won his first fight in over a year after recuperating from a ring injury. By emerging victorious, Kojima guaranteed himself a future flyweight title opportunity.

A sheepish Docyogen could only shake his head following the loss. Said the 5’5” fighter who goes by the nickname, ‘The Punisher’, “I got careless. It was a mistake. In my haste to finish the fight, I made a mistake and Kojima saw an opening and he took it.”

The best fight of the One FC: Return of Warriors featured South African Vuyisile Colossa and American Lowen Tynanes. The two fighters previously fought Filipino MMA hero Eduard Folayang with different results.

Folayang defeated Colossa in spite of being bloodied by the South African via unanimous decision in Martial Combat 12 held in Singapore. Tynanes, the Hawaiian who has one-quarter Filipino blood in him, knocked out Folayang in URCC 22: Dekada last December with a vicious elbow that opened up a huge gash on Folayang’s face.

Against Colossa, Tynanes took down the South African in the first round and rendered him helpless with his vise-like clutch. Colossa took the second round as he prevented the fight from going to the canvass with a series of strikes and knees that had Tynanes’ face swelling. In the third and final round, Tynanes was successfully able to get the fight to go the mat where his rear naked choke forced Colossa to submit.

Victor Cui, a Canadian of Chinese-Filipino descent and CEO of One FC, said that his organization is returning to Manila this May. “Mixed Martial Arts is the fastest growing sport in the world and we are seeing an increase in talented and incredible fighters come out of the Philippines. One FC will showcase that talent to the world. Banario is one of the best out there and who knows how far he will go? And we hope to be with him and others out there every step of the way.”

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