Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Tiebreaker Times

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Coach on Lions Nation MMA’s ASJJF Manila Open win: ‘Progress is too fast’

Proficiency in Brazilian jiu-jitsu is often considered a cornerstone for success in mixed martial arts, and Prof. Gibran Langbayan is ecstatic about the recent strides that Lions Nation MMA made in this field.

Langbayan, a distinguished Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, assumes the crucial role of Lions Nation MMA’s grappling coach.

Having played an instrumental part in the team’s inaugural campaign under the ONE Championship banner, where Eduard Folayang and Joshua Pacio picked up pivotal wins, the 37-year-old maestro faced a unique challenge.

And he delivered outstanding results when Lions Nation MMA joined the ASJJF Manila Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2023 over the weekend.

The stable fielded eight skilled competitors who collectively brought home an impressive total of 11 medals across both Gi and No Gi categories.

The relief on Langbayan’s face was palpable, considering he was responsible for promoting key members like Folayang, Pacio, Kevin Belingon, and Jeremy Pacatiw to blue belt earlier this year.

“There is a little bit of pressure since I have an added responsibility to them since they’re former champions,” he told Tiebreaker Times

“However, these guys are developed athletes already. You don’t have to worry about them anymore. They’re just so good at picking things up and grasping the concepts.”

Fortunately, the faith he placed in Pacio, Belingon, and Pacatiw bore fruit as they demonstrated significant progress in the tournament.

Pacio emerged as a standout performer, securing two gold medals in the male blue adult featherweight and openweight No Gi divisions

Meanwhile, Belingon mirrored this success by claiming the top spot in the male blue master 1 lightweight and male blue master 2 openweight No Gi categories.

#ReadMore  Fighters face-off for ONE Global Rivals

On the other hand, Pacatiw’s star shined the brightest in Gi, claiming a pair of gold medals in the male blue adult lightweight and openweight brackets.

It wasn’t just the established stars who brought glory to Lions Nation MMA. Rising talents like Aaron Posawen, Denver Songaben, and Nicholai Joel Amurao also contributed to the group’s remarkable medal haul.

Their joint efforts led them to capture the overall championship in No Gi.

Optimism radiates from Langbayan as he envisions the recent success overshadowing past criticisms about Lions Nation MMA’s ground game.

“They have a solid foundation that we hope to continue building upon. They might even be the more dominant ones on the ground in the future,” he stated.

Despite the camp’s revered reputation in MMA, Langbayan revealed each member’s eagerness to learn and improve, proving that they are not afraid to get their hands dirty in the pursuit of excellence.

“The wonderful thing about them is that they pick up on what I teach so easily. I find no difficulty in teaching them. It’s easy for them to imitate what I teach. Their progress is very fast too,” he shared.

Langbayan believes that this achievement is a watershed moment for Lions Nation MMA.

“They’re extremely dedicated. That’s also something encouraging to see—that they continue to push themselves beyond their limits despite their past accomplishments,” he said.

“I’m confident that at least one, or even all of them, will become a champion again [in MMA].”

Written By

Nissi Icasiano is a sportswriter, analyst and editor from the Philippines. He started his professional career in 2013. He has also written for various media outlets such as, ABS-CBN, Tiebreaker Times,,, South China Morning Post, The Phnom Penh Post and the International Business Times. In 2017, he started a career as a Combat Sports Analyst for television and radio, appearing on various news shows for ABS-CBN, GMA, TV5, Radyo Singko 92.3 News FM, PTV 4, Business World, Radyo Pilipinas 2 and Bombo Radyo Philippines. He practices boxing at Tiger City Boxing Gym whenever he is not writing.

You May Also Like


Eduard Folayang and the rest of Lions Nation MMA are throwing their unequivocal support behind Marlon Tapales in his quest to make history as...

Mixed Martial Arts

Lito Adiwang is well aware of the clamor from fans and pundits alike to see him square off against Joshua Pacio, but he currently...

Mixed Martial Arts

Only a few Filipino mixed martial artists can boast the kind of impressive resume that Joshua Pacio has amassed throughout his career. The 27-year-old...

Mixed Martial Arts

Over the weekend, Joshua Pacio returned to the winner’s circle by edging out Mansur Malachiev. Both men squared off on the supporting card of...

Mixed Martial Arts

Eduard Folayang recently found himself back in the winner’s circle, and he’s not planning to take a break anytime soon. Following his victory at...

Mixed Martial Arts

In a thrilling showdown between top-ranked strawweight contenders at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, Joshua Pacio and Mansur Malachiev went head-to-head...

Mixed Martial Arts

At last weekend’s ONE Fight Night 14, Eduard Folayang emerged as the hero that Lions Nation MMA desperately needed. The 39-year-old Baguio City native...

Mixed Martial Arts

Mansur Malachiev knows if he plays his cards right against former ONE strawweight champion Joshua Pacio, he could place himself on the verge of...