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, May 3, 2014

A rousing night for Pinoy MMA at ONE FC: Rise of Heroes

This appears on

Five for five:
It’s a rousing night for Philippine MMA at ONE FC: Rise of Heroes
by rick olivares

Jujeath Nagaowa vs. Jeet Toshi
Indian kickboxing champion Jeet Toshi walked to the cage to the song “Hit ‘em high” by B-Real, Busta Rhymes, Coolio, LL Cool J and Method Man (from the Space Jam soundtrack) before her fight with Filipina counterpart Jujeath Nagaowa.

The lyrics to the rap song – the them of the film’s villains, the Monstars – goes “If you hit ‘em high hit them high hit ‘em high; if you hit ‘em low hit ‘em low hit ‘em low.”

And well, the 4’11” Nagaowa proceeded to do just that by hitting Toshi high and low. Darned near pounded her into submission. From the opening bell, Nagaowa was like a pitbull on Toshi whaling away with near impunity. At one point, the Indian momentarily pushed the Filipina away and cast a look of “what do I do?” to her corner.

The answers never came only more punishment.

Toshi actually got the first shot of the fight. A kick that hit Nagaowa but one that hardly hurt her. After that Nagaowa was all over Toshi. In a colossal mismatch, Nagaowa rained with relative impunity strikes on Toshi who got hurt in the initial flurry. In the second round, Nagaowa landed 10 consecutive shots on Toshi. When the Indian backpedaled, she got no respite and she got tagged. Hard.

All that the crowd was waiting for was for Nagaowa to knock out Toshi or for the referee to stop the match. Ultimately, referee Oliver Coste stepped in to mercifully put to an end the beating earning Nagaowa a TKO victory and her first MMA win. 

Eugene Toquero vs. Gianni Subba
In the pre-fight press conference, Eugene Toquero showed his gift for gab in taunting Malaysian up and comer Gianni Subba.

Come the opening bell, Toquero was all business. In addition to looking remarkably ripped, Toquero displayed a frightening new facet to his game – an excellent ground game where he reversed several of Subba’s takedowns after which he mashed the Malaysian’s face over and over.

In the first of the three rounds, Toquero accidentally kicked Subba in the groin area with such force that the crack of flesh and bone on the cup guard was heard throughout the arena. The referee temporarily stopped the match for Subba to regain his bearings. On the other hand, it also rested Toquero who was never one to display patience inside the cage. Subba who showed great poise in his three-match win streak at the ONE FC was never the same after that.

Toquero secured several takedowns in the final stanza, and earned the nod on all three of the judges’ scorecards. The man who spends so much time in front of the mirror fixing his hair is now 1-1 in the ONE FC and 5-1-0 overall.

Ana Julaton vs. Aya Saeid Saber
Much of the pre-fight hype or even the large crowd (the best attendance in the three ONE FC events held at the MOA Arena thus far) was due to the participation of Ana Julaton who made the big switch from boxing to MMA. Julaton received the loudest ovation of any of the fighters and the crowd, like Gilas Pilipinas nine months earlier, gave her a boost in the face of embarrassing defeat.

Saber didn’t show any fear from Julaton nor was she bothered by the hometown crowd. Although the Egyptian absorbed a few more strikes from the Fil-Am, she had taken down Julaton twice in the first round. The Hurricane reversed them both to come out on top and land some hammer fists on the Egyptian.

That didn’t deter Saber who came out aggressive in the second round. After taking down Julaton once more, Saber tried to slip in a guillotine choke and force the Fil-American to tap out. Digging deep into her reservoir of determination, Julaton wriggled free to whale away at her opponent.

In the third and last round, Saber took down Julaton who looked remarkably adept at reversing the move. Only this time, she didn’t step off the gas pedal as she landed devastating hammer firsts and elbows on her hapless opponent forcing the referee to intercede and award the win on the former boxing champ.

Rey Docyogen vs. Joshua Alvarez
Did anyone get the plate number of that fist?

For the entire three round match, Rey Docyogen, in his first match in a year since back-to-back losses in the ONE FC, showed that he is a much different fighter now. The Team Lakay fighter not once gave Fil-Guamanian Joshua Alvarez breathing room in a stunning display of punishment. Alvarez repeatedly ate fists and knees and for a time reminded me of how some of Manny Pacquiao’s Mexican foes would absorb so much punishment but stay on their feet. Alvarez was just that.

It was a rousing return to the cage for Docyogen who went home with a unanimous decision victory to stop the bleeding and go to 11-2-0.

Eduard Folayang vs. Kotetsu Boku
Eduard was uncannily focused and in superb shape. The Team Lakay fighter showcased his improved wrestling skills and takedown power with an emphatic body slam of his Japanese-Korean opponent in the first round. Folayang nearly forced Boku to submit in the first round with an armbar but the bell sounded saving the former ONE FC Light Heavyweight Champion.

Folayang continued to assert himself in the second round against a game Boku who I have not seen in this assertive in five ONE FC matches. Sure there was that win against Arnold Lepont who should hang it up. Boku looked to turn the tide in the third and final round as he traded blows and kicks with the Filipino. But the knockout punch wasn’t forthcoming as Folayang earned a unanimous decision win; his second consecutive in the ONE FC after two consecutive loses.

This one put Folayang firmly back on the winning track and improved his MMA record to 14-4-0.


Way to go, Team! 

Ana… what a gutsy performance!

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