“Talagang atin ito, enjoy the fights, at bakbakan na!”
Asia’s most exciting fight league, the Universal Reality Combat Challenge, ushered in a new era last Saturday, April 23, at the Marriott Grand Ballroom in Paranaque City.
“Very, very few people realize the hardships these fighters go through to be here,” URCC President Alvin Aguilar opened. “All of the fighters here have trained all of their lives to be here and perform. Now they will be heard and seen with our new partners, ABS-CBN!”
Aside from announcing a stable media partner, URCC’s 27th show: Rebellion saw the crowning of five new champions, jaw-dropping debuts, and a bloody end to a rivalry.
Five New Champions Crowned
With majority of the URCC championships vacated due to fighters moving up in international leagues, the country’s premier fight league crowned its new ambassadors to the sport.
In pinweight action, Fritz Biagtan of Biagtan Muay Thai (3-0) handed Yaw Yan Buhawi’s Eddie Estrada (3-1) his first professional loss to cop the vacant URCC Pinweight crown.
The two Filipino warriors exchanged a flurry of strikes, to the delight of the crowd to open the match. Estrada came at the bottom end of the exchange but ends up locking a triangle choke. The Muay Thai practitioner was able to escape, and unleashed a flurry of shots. However, he was caught as Estrada attempted an armbar. Biagtan escaped once more and unleashed a flurry of punches and hammerfists to flatten his opponent. The action-packed round was stopped at the 3:05 mark of the first round, as Biagtan copped the vacant Pinweight championship.
It was a classic striker going up against a grappler match for the vacant URCC Light Heavyweight championship as the big boys squared off. Deftac’s Chris Hofman (3-1) was able to survive Elorde MMA’s Caloy Baduria’s (10-5-1) powerful hands after the latter could not continue due to injury to win the belt.
The stucky Baduria had control of the cage right from the get go in stalking his opponent early on. Moreover, the boxer had absolutely no respect with the striking prowess of his opponent as he kept his defense down all throughout the match. Hofman tried to go for a takedown early but was easily sprawled by Baduria. Baduria rained on body shots to close-out the opening round.
In the second stanza, the lankier Swedish fighter tried to close-in on his opponent with kicks and a huge flying knee that landed square on Baduria’s face. Baduria though just walked right through it and eventually landed huge overhands with 3:18 remaining in the round. Hofman went for the shoot to recover but was quickly reversed by Baduria, who ended up on the mount. Baduria though was not able to take advantage of it with Hofman being able to gain his footing with a minute left. Hofman tried to be creative with his striking in landing a swinging body kick and a spinning back fist but Baduria did not even flinch to enter the second break of the match.
Baduria though could not continue with the bout as the overhands he threw in the second round dislocated his shoulder to end the match by doctor’s stoppage. “I have all the fucking respect for him,” the newly-minted URCC Light Heavyweight champion said after the fight. “I was very surprised with his power.”
American journeyman Will Chope of Fight Corps (30-9) easily disposed of fellow American Richie “Cannibal” Redman (2-5) to win the vacant URCC Lightweight championship.
Chope, who had a seven inch height advantage over his opponent, immediately cornered his opponent with knees and kicks. Chope was easily able to takedown his opponent with 4:16 left but Redman was able to kip up right after. The Fight Corps standout attempted a loose guillotine later on. As Redman escaped the hold, the American journeyman landed a huge knee that dropped Redman while Chope frantically grabbed his back and sink a tight guillotine choke with 2:39 left. Eight seconds later, Redman had no other recourse but to tap.
“This is my 21st win by submission,” the 25 year old admitted. “I’m a striker but it was always has to end on the ground.”
The Busiest Fighter in Asia admitted though that he is fighting to pay the hospital bills of his daughter. “This is for my daughter who is fighting a blood infection,” he said. “I will fight again in China on April 30.”
In his crowning moment, the Golden Boy of Philippine MMA, 19 year old CJ De Tomas (6-0), soundly dethroned Hideo Morikawa (13-3-1) to win the URCC Flyweight Championship.
De Tomas was all over his opponent in the opening round. After a huge takedown to open the match, De Tomas showcased his precise striking to knock down Morikawa as the Filipino ended up on the mount. At least eight sharp elbows by De Tomas landed but the Japanese fighter was able to bridge and reverse out. The Golden Boy was able to wall walk his way up. Short shots by De Tomas and five powerful hammerfists landed before Morikawa was mercifully saved by the bell.
Morikawa was able to lock the young Filipino upstart with a tight heel hook in the middle of the second round but after two minutes, could not tap De Tomas. In the third canto though, De Tomas displayed his power in easily taking down his opponent with a single leg. The Zento Kai fighter managed to get up but was dragged back down. After a stand-up due to inactivity with 1:27 left, Morikawa was able to land a huge knee to the Filipino’s head but was countered with a left straight and a takedown to close out the round strong for De Tomas.
In the championship rounds, Morikawa went for a superman punch that led to another heel hook attempt. After a two minute scramble, De Tomas was able to gain guard and wall walked his way up once more. Another takedown by De Tomas closed out the fourth round.
In the final round, the 19 year old, sensing blood, immediately carried his opponent over his shoulders and slam his opponent. He was quickly able to escape another leg lock attempt by his opponent and again went for the shoot and takedown. With 1:56 left in the bout, De Tomas jabbed his way to keep distance. Then, with 17 ticks remaining secured another takedown to put an emphatic end to the match.
“Para sa papa ko itong panalo na ito,” an emotional De Tomas said after the fight. “Tinalo niya papa ko nung 2010, binawi ko siya.”
In the fifth and final championship match of the night, Korean Do Gyeom Lee (4-2-1) had to dig deep to shock Deftac’s Red Romero (9-6) to win the URCC Featherweight gold.
The Korean tried to be creative with his strikes early on but was immediately dragged down for a takedown by the Filipino. As the two stood up, Romero went for a switch to gain side control. However, the two were stood up due to inactivity. With 1:01 remaining in the bout, Romero landed a highlight flying left kick that knocked down Lee. The Deftac fighter rained on huge hammerfists and overhands to try and finish the fight. Lee was able to gain his senses as he went for underhooks to survive the round.
Having regained his composure, Lee turned up the aggression in the second stanza. He was able to land a huge overhand right to stun Romero. Knees and punches followed with Romero just turtling up in the corner. 57 seconds in the round, the referee mercifully stopped the fight as the Filipino was not countering any of the shots.
“I had a tough time in the first round,” the new URCC Featherweight Champion said in Korean. “I just had to work hard for my family. Then it just happened.”
“I watched his movement very well and I practiced hard for this,” Lee closed. “I love the Philippines!”
URCC President Aguilar was equally disappointed with the performance of Romero in saying, “Red had a lot of opportunities to finish the fight in the first round and he did not. The Korean had heart, better heart than him.”
A Bloody End to a Rivalry
After all the off cage antics, the time has come to put up or shut up for Brownhouse MMA’s Carlo “Samurai” Laurel and Yaw Yan Buhawi’s Alvin “Kastigo” Ramirez finally arrived.
The two gunslingers immediately swung at each other with reckless abandon to open the match. Samurai was able to find an opening to swiftly takedown Ramirez. As Ramirez tried to stand-up, he was again dragged down by Laurel but again Ramirez kips up. An overhand right by Ramirez momentarily stuns Laurel but Laurel immediately went for a shoot and a takedown to take a breather. After the two fighters stood-up, straights by Ramirez connected and was able to push Laurel over for a takedown and a mount. The boisterous Laurel went for a heel hook attempt but time was not on his side to end the opening stanza.
In the second round, Laurel was able to take his opponent down with ease and attempted a standing guillotine choke. Failing to secure the submission attempt, he immediately dragged his opponent down for another takedown. Ramirez was able to gain the upperhand in the waning moments of the round in landing kicks and combinations.
With 4:10 remaining in the match, Ramirez connected with a well-timed right head kick on a shooting Laurel that resulted to a cut above the left eye of the latter. Laurel was successful in gaining a takedown and attempted a triangle choke. Ramirez was able to reverse and the two fighters slug it out once more. After another takedown by Laurel with 1:39 left, the doctors had to check on the huge cut of Laurel as the cage mat was filled with drippings from the cut. The doctors at ringside had seen enough and ordered the stoppage to declare Ramirez as the victor at the 3:51 mark of the third round.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa mga nagtiwala at nagdasal para sa akin,” Ramirez said. “Hindi ko na inisip ang mga sinabi niya dahil marami pa akong nakalaban na mas malalakas at mas magagaling.”
In the preliminaries, three fighters stood out to make their mark for title contention.
Solomon “The Prodigy” Dultra (5-1) submitted the debuting Efren Marinas (0-1) with a slick first round armbar to open the night.
Then in the sole women’s match of the night, Sub Sports Philippines’ Geli Bulaong (1-0) made a successful debut in overpowering and, eventually, submitting Jen Damaso (0-1) with a first round guillotine choke.
In bantamweight action, Tough Guys International’s Drex Zamboanga (9-4) continues his ascent to the top in submitting the debuting late-replacement Dennis Domingo (0-1) for a first round rear naked choke with 1:51 left.
URCC 27: Rebellion results
April 23, 2016 – Marriott Grand Ballroom, Paranaque City
URCC Featherweight Championship: Do Gyeom Lee def. Red Romero by TKO (standing strikes) (:57, rd2) to win the championship
URCC Lightweight Championship: Will Chope def. Richie Redman by submission (rear naked choke) (2:31, rd1) to win the vacant championship
URCC Light Heavyweight Championship: Chris Hofman def. Caloy Baduria by doctor’s stoppage (injury – right shoulder) to win the vacant championship (5:00, rd2)
URCC Flyweight Championship: CJ De Tomas def. Hideo Morikawa by UD to win the championship
Flyweight bout: Alvin Ramirez def. Carlo Laurel by doctor’s stoppage (cut – left eye) (3:51, rd3)
URCC Pinweight Championship: Fritz Biagtan def. Eddie Estrada by TKO (ground strikes) to win the vacant championship
Bantamweight bout: Drex Zamboanga def. Dennis Domingo by submission (rear naked choke) (3:09, rd1)
Women’s Strawweight bout: Geli Bulaong def. Jen Damaso by submission (standing guillotine) (3:10, rd1)
Pinweight bout: Solomon Dultra def. Efren Marinas by submission (armbar) (3:06, rd1)