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.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Banario dethroned as Pinoys are shut out of One FC Rise to Power

Banario dethroned as Pinoys are shut out of One FC Rise to Power
by rick olivares

The One Fighting Championship: Rise to Power Mixed Martial Arts event last Friday, May 31, was successful. Some 15,000 people stayed until close to midnight to cheer its bevy of Filipino fighters who filled up the fight card. Unfortunately, all five of them – six if you include Fil-Canadian Ryan Diaz – lost.

Honorio Banario, making his first title defense as featherweight champion, was knocked out at the 1:45 mark of the second round by challenger and Japanese Pancrase veteran Koji Oishi.

Oishi was literally saved by the first round bell after being pummeled by Banario. In a move that foreshadowed the end, Oishi knocked down the Filipino with a right hand with 45 seconds left in the opening round. But the erstwhile champion immediately got back up and landed telling strikes and a powerful kick that bloodied and rocked the challenger. Oishi was felled and Banario descended on him. Except that he wasn’t able to finish him off as the bell sounded.

In the second round, Oishi threw another right that sent Banario flat on his back. The Japanese threw three hammer strikes on the groggy Filipino before referee Yuji Shimada stepped in to wave off Oishi as a stunned crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena looked on.

“I’m just so happy,” Oishi could only say after the fight through an interpreter. “This will be a highlight in my life.” Friday night, coincidentally, was the new One FC Featherweight Champion’s 36th birthday.

Banario’s loss, his second in 10 fights (8-2-0) capped a terrible evening as all five Team Lakay fighters were shut out.

The first fight of the main card saw featherweight Geje Eustaquio lose to American Andrew Leone who avenged his loss to Team Lakay’s Jazor Ablasi in Martial Combat 3, the predecessor of One FC, last June 16, 2010.

In this One FC bout, both fighters went back and forth in an entertaining match. However, it was Leone who scored heavily by taking down Eustaquio several times.

Eustaquio, despite being in a dangerous position for a submission hold managed to give the thumbs up signs with a grin towards the television camera to show that not only was he all right but the American was far from making him submit. The Filipino made the American pay for his attempts at a rear naked choke by throwing a series of back punches and elbows that rocked him. But it wasn’t enough to eke out a win as the hometown favorite was mostly on the defensive throughout the fight. The loss saw Eustaquio drop to 4-2-0.

“That guys (Eustaquio) is tough,” said Leone after the match. “He even had the time to talk trash. As he was hitting me with this back punches and elbows of his, he was saying, ‘How do you like that, bitch?’ I knew I had to be aggressive and keep him on the defensive.”

The popular Eduard Folayang saw action next in a lightweight match against Iranian Kamal Shalorus, an Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran.

But it was Shalorus who emerged the victor via unanimous decision. The Iranian’s win stopped a three-fight skid that saw him eventually dropped from the UFC.

The Iranian waited for Folayang to commit to one of his patented high-flying kicks (where he missed) before bull rushing him for the takedown. Once on the mat, Shalorus used his superior wrestling skills to wear down the Filipino.

“I just defeated the hometown favorite,” said a relieved Shalorus after the match. “I hope that the fans forgive me.”

Shalorus watched Folayang’s previous fight with Tynanes and noted the lack of a takedown defense by the Filipino. After Shalorus took him down twice after missing a kick, Folayang kept the Iranian at a distance by throwing a spinning backhand (that whizzed inches away from the challenger).

It was Folayang’s third loss in his last four matches. Previous to One FC: Rise to Power, Folayang was nearly destroyed by American Lowen Tynanes in URCC Dekada last December 2012. Tynanes, also a wrestler, took the fight to the ground where the Filipino was no match. A nasty elbow opened up the Filipino forcing the fight doctor to call an end to the fight. After losing to Shalorus, Folayang said that he’d have to do a lot of thinking about what to do next.

In the flyweight match between URCC Pinweight Champion Rey Docyogen and Japanese Shooto Bantamweight Champion, Yasuhiro Urushitani, the judges awarded a controversial split decision to the latter. Docyogen landed a series of strikes, leg kicks and overhead ones on the Japanese throughout the three-round fight. But in a post-match interview with Team Lakay manager Mark Sangiao, he said it was possible that some of the judges did not like Docyogen seemingly moving away from confrontation with Urushitani who despite absorbing a huge amount of punishment kept moving forward. “The fact the he bloodied Docyogen’s nose might have been a factor,” lamented Sangiao.

Docyogen lost his second straight One FC fight (both to Japanese fighters) to go to 10-2-0.

In what was dubbed ‘the Fight of the Night”, URCC Lightweight Champion Kevin Belingon and Shooto Featherweight champion Masakatsu Ueda thrilled the crowd in their Feathweight Grand Prix bout as they traded shots all throughout.

Belingon looked to have the upper hand as he landed some devastating shots to Ueda who had blood dripping all over him after getting cut underneath his right eye. But the resilient Japanese fighter gamely battled on and was able to mount Belingon and drop some hammer fists on him that eventually held a final impression on the judges who awarded the unanimous decision to Ueda.

The Filipino has lost three of his last five One FC matches to fall to 11-3.

In other matches, co-main eventer Bibiano Fernandes took a unanimous decision and the interim Bantamweight championship belt from Japanese Shooto Featherweight champion Koetsu Okazaki with a well-deserved unanimous decision.

Fernandes was in control of the fight as he almost got the tough Japanese fighter to tap out on a number of submission holds. Okazaki managed to reverse a few of the holds and even mount the Brazilian a few times but Fernandes was never in danger as he went on to wrap up his second consecutive One FC win to climb to 14-3-0.

In the other fights, Lowen Tynanes (now 5-0) continued his impressive showing by not allowing Japanese fighter Felipe Enomoto into the fight. After Enomoto attempted a kick, Tynanes saw an opening and took him down and snatch the TKO with elbow strikes for which the Japanese had no defense.

Russian Yusup Saadulaev, who lost his last two One FC matches and had to be forced to enter the cage one more time, finally got that elusive win. Saadulaev lost to Leandro Issa and Kevin Belingon in his last two bouts and was intent on calling it a career when he got talked into fighting one more time.

In the first round against Fil-Canadian Ryan Diaz, the Russian got tagged by a series of strikes and kicks. But when he took Diaz to the ground, he exhibited excellent takedown defense and even reversed a move. In the second round, Saadulaev got the win via D’Arce choke at the 2:57 mark.

In two other matches featuring UFC veterans, a visibly out of shape Tim Sylvia was bloodied by challenger Tony Johnson with an elbow to the right eye. Medical officials called a halt to the match at the 3L35 mark of the third and final round.

The self-proclaimed “New York Bad Ass” Phil Baroni who first performed to a massive ovation during One FC: Pride of the Nation last year, looked well on his way to handling Japanese fighter Nobutatsu Suzuki when he got nailed by a punch that sent him backwards. The Japanese fighter then pounced on him and reeled off a series of strikes that forced the referee to put a stop to the fight.

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