In an event that was nine months in the making, the Warrior’s League Championship hosted its season 1 finale at the San Andres Sports Complex in Malate, Manila. The culminating event for the first season of the Warrior’s League Championship turned out to be one of the best Mixed Martial Arts events in the first quarter. All ten fights in the fight card never reached the scorecards, and six champions were crowned by the end of the event.
Highlighting the night was the coronation of URCC veterans Toughguys International team member, Drex Zamboanga, and professional boxer, Mario Sismundo, winning the WLC Super Bantamweight and WLC Lightweight Championship respectively.
Six Champions Crowned
During that nine month span of the first season, the WLC hosted six tournaments for six divisions. The division and finalists are as follows: Super Lightweight (Arben Escayo vs. Francis Romero), Lightweight (Neil Larano vs. Mario Sismundo), Featherweight (Rex de Lara vs. Amir Mohammed), Super Bantamweight (Drex Zamboanga vs. Tomoki Hara), Bantamweight (CJ de Tomas vs. Felixander Bagayao), and Super Flyweight (Jovan Galarosa vs. Erdie Bautista). MMA veteran, Don Don Aron was scheduled to compete in the super lightweight finals, but failed a medical exam. He was therefore replaced by Philippine National Muay Thai team member, Francis Romero.
In a night of spectacular finishes, the main event of Drex Zamboanga against judoka Tomoki Hara was the perfect night cap for the audience.
Tomoki Hara opened the Super Bantamweight finals aggressively as he went for take downs. The much stronger Zamboanga countered each take down with ease, and was able to lay some ground and pound on the judoka. A rear naked choke attempt by Zamboanga was able to give Hara the chance to stand-up. Hara tried to outstrike Zamboanga but was taken down, and solid punches by D-Rex ended the first round.
Hara, however, could not contain the striking of Zamboanga in the second round. After a solid right knocked Hara down, Zamboanga was able to take his back and sync in a rear naked choke to win the WLC Bantamweight Championship.
“Malaking karangalan ang mag represent sa WLC,” Zamboanga told Tiebreaker Times post fight. “Gagawin ko ang lahat para matulungan sila sir Caloy [Agulto] para mapalaki ang WLC.”
The co-main event saw pro boxer, Mario Sismundo, knock out wrestling team member, Neil Larano, in just 1:21 in the first round. In a styles clash, the grappler tried to stand and bang with Sismundo, but was knocked down after a solid hook by “The Monster” Sismundo. A few shots later, the referee stopped he fight, and crowned the MMA journeyman as the winner of the WLC Lightweight Finals.
Two more tournament finals ended in the first round. Muay Thai practitioner, Rex de Lara took down Amir Mohammed with a slam followed by solid punches to win the WLC Featherweight Championship. Moreover, for the bantamweight finals, it was CJ de Tomas outclassing Felixander Bagayao in winning via submission due to a rear naked choke in just the first round.
Fight of the night, however, was the WLC Super Lightweight finals. Prior to the fight, Arben Escayo was supposed to take on Don Don Aron. Aron failed a medical due to hepatitis, and was replaced by heavy striker Francis Romero. Escayo told us that when he knew that Romero was his opponent, he trained really hard since Romero is a dangerous opponent.
The opening salvo for the WLC Super Lightweight Championship saw Escayo display his grappling when he immediately took Romero’s back and attempted an armbar. Escayo then switched to a triangle attempt, but Romero was able to escape. The two exchanged heavy shots with Escayo knocking down Romero after a huge left hook. Romero, however, quickly recovered, and ended the round with him outstriking Escayo.
The second round was a continuation of the striking exchange between the two. Again, Arben Escayo was able to knock Romero down, but Romero was able to pull guard and recover. A ground exchange ensued to end the round.
Then, at the third round, Francis Romero nailed a head kick that stunned Escayo after trading blows. A vicious leg kick by Romero knocked Escayo down, and a few hammer fists later, Romero was declared victor and crowned as the WLC Super Lightweight champion.
In the first of six championship matches for the night, Erdie Bautista and Jovan Gallarosa fought a grappler’s war. After three rounds of take downs, reversals, mounts, and guards, Erdie Bautista was able to nail Gallarosa with a huge right for a TKO win with 2:30 remaining. Bautista becomes the first WLC Super Flyweight Championship.
The preliminary fights for the event were as spectacular as the main card matches.
In the opening match, Rowelito Liloc was able to submit Jomar Bislig in a flyweight bout. Liloc opened the match with a fake hand shake, and attempted to dominate. After a full mount by Liloc, Bislig was able to regain his footing and transitioned into a full guard. A series of reversals ended the round. In contrast, the second round was a stand up war between the two. It ended when Liloc gained the advantage by taking the back and syncing a rear naked choke on Bislig.
A controversial second fight saw big men John Adajar face Mark Palomar. Adajar was immediately taken down, and at half guard, was blasted with hammer fists. The match ended quickly during round 1, 2:21. Adajar contested the stoppage, but according to the officials, he was no longer defending properly during the fight. Moreover, in a post-fight talk with Mark Palomar, Palomar showed to us that he actually injured his hand with the hammer fists.
In the other two matches, Nilo Vidal was able to knock out Jian Castillo in a bantamweight bout, while the energetic 23-2 Alejo Corpuz made short work of his taller opponent Jerome Concepcion in just :54 seconds.
Post fight scrum
In a talk we had with Mr. Carlos Agulto, he is hoping to build on the momentum this show built. “Ginagawa ko ito para matulungan makita ang mga atletang Pinoy.” When asked what is his vision for the company, he told us that in the short-term they could produce more shows and work with more gyms. He promised us that season two will be much more exciting.
In attendance, during the night, are some of the brightest stars in the Martial Arts and Showbiz world. URCC founder, Alvin Aguilar was in the building to show support to the budding company. URCC Heavyweight Champion and Team Fist head trainer Igor Subora was also seen supporting his boys. Moreover, Kier Legaspi enjoyed the fights as well.
Season two for the WLC will be much more exciting and will start this Summer at Buster’s Bistro, Panay Ave., Quezon City.
Warrior’s League Championship Season 1 Finale results
February 28, 2015 – San Andres Sports Complex, Malate, Manila City
WLC Super Bantamweight Championship: Drex Zamboanga def. Tomoki Hara by submission via rear naked choke (Rd 2, 2:30)
WLC Lightweight Championship: Mario Sismundo def. Neil Larano by KO (Rd 1, 1:21)
WLC Featherweight Championship: Rex de Lara def. Amir Mohammed by TKO (Rd 1, 1:50)
WLC Bantamweight Championship: CJ de Tomas def. Felixander Bagayao by submission via rear naked choke (Rd 1, 1:57)
WLC Super Lightweight Championship: Francis Romero def. Arben Escayo by TKO (Rd 3, 2:20)
WLC Super Flyweight Championship: Erdie Bautista def. Jovan Galarosa by TKO (Rd 3, 2:40)
Bantamweight Bout: Nilo Vidal def. Jian Castillo by KO (Rd 1, 2:21)
Super Flyweight Bout: Alejo Corpuz def. Jerome Concepcion by KO (Rd 1, :54)
Catchweight (189lbs) Bout: Mark Palomar def. John Andajar by TKO (Rd 1, 2:21)
Super Flyweight Bout: Romelito Liloc def. Jomar Bislig by submission via rear naked choke (Rd 2, 1:04)