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Mixed Martial Arts

Moises Ilogon: OFW fighting to keep MMA dream alive

The journey to success is often filled with twists and turns, and for Moises Ilogon, his story is a testament to the unwavering pursuit of a dream despite life’s challenges.

The 23-year-old Cagayan De Oro native is set to make his promotional debut under the ONE Championship banner this Friday marking a new chapter in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career.

Ilogon squares off with South Korea’s Cho Joon Gun in a three-round strawweight bout on the undercard of ONE Friday Fights 39, which takes place at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

It’s the big break “The Lion King” has been seeking for a long time, and he’s ready to make the most of it.

“Finally, I’m here. I am so delighted that my comeback is going to happen in one of the world’s biggest promotions, and I don’t want to blow this chance,” Ilogon told Tiebreaker Times in Filipino.

Ilogon burst onto the local MMA scene as a promising talent in 2018. He quickly gained recognition as a phenom, amassing two consecutive wins by second-round submission.

His credentials as a striker were equally impressive, having won the national title in Muay Thai on three occasions and clinched the bronze medal in Kun Khmer at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games.

But in 2020, Ilogon had to put his career on hold when he decided to work as a Muay Thai coach in Doha, Qatar.

Just like numerous overseas Filipino workers, he made this choice to provide his family, including his five-year-old daughter named Ammarah Lois, with a better life.

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His decision to temporarily retire weighed heavily on his shoulders, but he was at peace with it initially.

Ilogon believed that he had done what was best for his family. However, the fire within him, ignited by his older brother and former coaches, refused to be extinguished.

“This is something I truly want to do, and many pushed me to continue my career. That gave me the drive to dream again,” he said.

Ilogon diligently knocked on the doors of several MMA promotions, seeking an opportunity to compete again. Unfortunately, he faced countless rejections.

Fortune somehow smiled upon Ilogon when he was drafted to the Philippine national team to figure in Kun Khmer at the biennial meet.

His podium finish was not just an accomplishment for him but a revelation that his fighting spirit remained intact.

“The bronze medal I got at the SEA Games meant a lot to me because, even though I’ve been out of circulation for a while, I’ve rediscovered my desire to compete and win,” Ilogon stated.

A few months after his duty for flag and country, the stars aligned for Ilogon when ONE Championship came calling.

The premier combat sports organization offered him a spot at ONE Friday Fights 39. Without a second thought, he accepted it.

Ilogon is delighted to have the chance to keep his MMA dream alive and prove himself on the global stage.

“I still cannot believe it, but this is it,” he quipped.

The odds may be stacked against him in his maiden appearance opposite Cho, a foe with a 3-2-1 record, but he is undaunted by the task at hand.

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His confidence is anchored in his striking background, believing that it could lead to an upset victory.

“My opponent is a striker, and I’m also a striker. So this matchup is favorable to me. Even though he is a striker, I think I still have the edge in that department,” Ilogon stressed.

“I’m confident if he wants to trade shots in the standup or if he decides to fight on the ground.”

Given this incredible opportunity, Ilogon truly feels that he is destined to strap on a pair of four-ounce gloves as a mixed martial artist.

“I think I deserve this shot to showcase what I have as a fighter. I’ve waited five years for this chance, and it already proves that I’m really destined to do this,” he declared.

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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