Wish list: Three potentially powerful Team Lakay versus Evolve MMA bouts
Team Lakay closed out 2018 in stellar fashion.
The Baguio City, Philippines-based camp captured four ONE World Championships, the most recent of which was Eduard “Landslide” Folayang’s decision victory over Evolve MMA’s Amir Khan to claim the ONE Lightweight World Title.
Both team rosters boast an interesting blend of youth, veteran combat experience, and World Champions including ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion "Unstoppable" Angela Lee and ONE Bantamweight World Champion Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon.
The friendly rivalry will continue with a rematch between featherweight contenders Christian “The Warrior” Lee and Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly at ONE: Eternal Glory in Jakarta, Indonesia on Saturday, 19 January.
Before they throw down, however, we explore three exciting match-ups we would like to see happen at some point in 2019.
#1 Joshua “The Passion” Pacio v Alex “Little Rock” Silva
In September, Joshua Pacio rose to the top of his division with a unanimous decision victory over former conqueror Yoshitaka Naito to claim the ONE Strawweight World Title at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES.
Mature beyond his years, the Filipino has quickly accumulated a 13-2 professional record, all while building a reputation as a fierce wushu striker. Also, he has improved his takedown defense and grappling maneuvers, as well as won with his innovative submission hold “The Passion Lock.”
Should he defeat Yosuke Saruta in the main event of ONE: Eternal Glory, a match-up with Alex Silva would be enticing.
A former ONE Strawweight World Champion and a Cope de Mundo BJJ World Champion, the Singapore-based Brazilian’s experience in submission and takedowns will be an exciting test for the younger Pacio.
#2 Gina ”Conviction” Iniong VS “Unstoppable" Angela Lee
While the two athletes have never crossed paths in the ONE cage, both are highly popular martial arts heroes in their respective countries.
A Baguio City native, Iniong was on the verge of cracking the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title picture last year before her disappointing decision loss to Istela Nunes in July.
Meanwhile, Singapore’s Lee catapulted to stardom when she secured the division’s crown after her five-round victory over Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi in May 2016. The unbeaten atomweight queen has overpowered her competition ever since.
Both women bring a wide range of martial arts expertise into this potential clash.
A six-time Philippine national wushu champion, Iniong’s punching ability was on full display in her dominant win over Jenny “Lady GoGo” Huang last year. She also stuffed the judoka’s takedown attempts, all while showcasing Lakay’s developed grappling prowess.
Lee is a two-time Pankration World Champion, a 2013 Hawaii state wrestling champion, and a BJJ black belt. What’s more, she has drastically improved her striking game under the Muay Thai World Champions at Evolve MMA.
While both have bouts scheduled for 2019 already (Iniong meets Jihin Radzuan in February, while Lee challenges Xiong Jing Nan for the promotion’s strawweight belt in March), these two martial arts experts could meet later in the year.
#3 Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly v Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon
Widely regarded as one of the best submission grapplers on the planet, Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon needs little introduction.
His impressive credentials of being a five-time Eddie Bravo Invitational Champion, three-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion, and a Pan American Champion places him among the grappling elite.
However, Kelly has the in-cage experience to match Tonon’s qualifications. He earned his “Ferocious” moniker through an explosive highlight-reel, which includes a stunning TKO that put away Vincent Latoel, as well as a 21-second finish of Meas Meul.
Famed for his leg locks and submissions, the 27-year-old American is the perfect opponent for Kelly in this classic match-up of the striker versus the grappler.
Riding a 3-0 start to his mixed martial arts career, “The Lion Killer” will be facing an equally hungry opponent in Kelly, who will be looking to add to another name to his list of stoppage victories following this weekend’s tilt with Lee.