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Mixed Martial Arts

Eduard Folayang and co. form Lions Nation MMA

A new era dawns upon the Philippine mixed martial arts scene as Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Honorio Banario, and Joshua Pacio join forces to establish a brand new stable called “Lions Nation MMA.”

The formal announcement was made during the inauguration of the Landslide Martial Arts Training Center in La Trinidad, Benguet on Saturday, June 24.

It is worth recalling that the quartet sent shockwaves back in March when they publicly confirmed their departure from Team Lakay, a group they helped build from the ground up with head coach Mark Sangiao in 2006.

All four cited personal growth and career development as the official reasons for their exit. Instead of pursuing separate paths, they continued to train together, fueling speculation about the formation of a new team.

As accomplished mixed martial artists in their own right, they decided to collaborate with a common goal in mind: to further advance their individual skills while promoting the progress of MMA in the country.

For Folayang, the choice of the lion as the team’s emblematic figure carries profound symbolism.Lions-Nation-MMA Eduard Folayang and co. form Lions Nation MMA Mixed Martial Arts News ONE Championship  - philippine sports news

“I think being a lion represents being a good leader and a king,” he told Tiebreaker Times.

“Here at Lions Nation MMA, we believe in the vision that someday, all of our members will become leaders in their own areas.”

Additionally, Folayang revealed that gold will be the primary color of Lions Nation MMA.

“Gold is also the color of the lion. I think that color is fitting for everyone,” the two-time ONE lightweight champion quipped.

The prominent Filipino fighters will be working side-by-side with Gibran Langbayan and Don-Don Colas as their coaches.

Langbayan, who holds the distinction of being the first native of the Cordillera region to attain the rank of black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, will be handling the team’s grappling department.

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Meanwhile, Colas, a longtime boxing trainer, will oversee the striking program.

The 39-year-old Baguio City native is determined to provide Lions Nation MMA with an even greater advantage by expanding its coaching staff.

“So far, they are the ones we have tapped to be our coaches on this journey, and we look forward to improving our roster of coaches to help us make our vision for the group a reality,” Folayang shared.

Folayang, Belingon, Banario, and Pacio also introduced Lions Nation MMA’s official roster of talents, including familiar names such as Jeremy Pacatiw and Edward Kelly, who were once members of Team Lakay.

To round out the lineup, they welcomed a pool of blue-chip prospects comprising Estrada Donga-as, Denver Songaben, Aaron Posawen, and Jahn Serbo.

Belingon is brimming with excitement about the promising future that lies ahead for them as a budding unit.

“We’re excited about this team, and we know that this partnership will only bring good things,” Belingon stated.

“I think this will be our home until we retire. I’m excited about the team’s outcome and success, but let’s see what else happens in the future.”

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.

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