Balikatan 12 MMA blasts off Saturday

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Australian Will Twigg (left) will take on Filipino Taniboy Fernandez in Balikatan 12 Battle for Supremacy. Contributed photo

Australian Will Twigg (left) will take on Filipino Taniboy Fernandez in Balikatan 12 Battle for Supremacy. Contributed photo

Balikatan Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Tournament, one of the most active amateur MMA promotions in the Philippines will hold its 12th edition on Saturday 5 p.m. at the Hybrid Yaw-Yan Headquarters 5th floor Karen Building, 9 Annapolis Street, Cubao, Quezon City.

Veteran fighter and coach Henry Yap Kobayashi said that Balikatan 12 Battle for Supremacy, featuring 17 matches, is the most diverse edition of the tournament so far.

The first offering in the triple main event is the bout between Will Twigg and Taniboy Fernandez. Twigg who hails from Sydney, Australia is currently training at Team Vietfighter in Hanoi, Vietnam. Fernandez, on the other hand, dubbed the Philippines’ “Bad Ass Wrestler” will be representing Star Valley Fitness Gym. The other two co-main event bouts feature Hybrid Yaw-Yan Fighter Jerwheel Baylon vs. UGB MMA Fighter Jonathan Veluz and Iranian fighter Seyed Mahdi Basirat vs. local MMA fighter Duane Lucas Pascua of Sprawl MMA Gym.

In the first of the four submission grappling matches of the event, Hybrid Yaw-Yan fighter and former Universal Reality Combat Championship lightweight champion Carl “The Virus” Sabeniano will pit his ground-fighting prowess against PAMAA Fighter Eduard Cashela. The other featured submission grappling matches are 180 MMA’s John Celeridad vs. Hybrid Yaw-Yan’s Irish Gail Santos, Kevin Borja of Team PAMAA vs. Ralph Lawrence Cunanan and Francis Martin Legaspi vs. Lorelee Sicat both from San Fernando, Pampanga’s Titan MMA Gym.


Another highlight of the tournament is the women’s kickboxing match between Titans Fitness Gym’s Francia Victoria delos Reyes and AJJ Gym’s Irish Cristina Conrado. De los Reyes is a resident physician at the Kidney Center in Quezon City while Conrado is also a Zumba trainer. Both female fighters are Muay Thai practitioners.

In the women’s MMA category, Hybrid Yaw-Yan’s Amazon Denese Cabanag will battle Janeth Obispo of Lady Freestyle MMA Laguna.

Meanwhile, fighting in the three professional-amateur MMA bouts are Hybrid Yaw-Yan’s Christchan Buentiempo vs. Jaypee Espinosa, Underground MMA fighter Raymundo Ortega vs. Jayson Margallo and Samson College MMA fighter Famelo Tabanao vs. Ariel Oliveros. Espinosa, Margallo and Oliveros are fighters from UGB MMA Gym.

In the other MMA matches, UGB MMA Gym’s Danilo Sarmiento will take on Samson College MMA’s Jomar Pal-iwen, Team Red Bast’s Patrick Ian Leodones will face Hybrid Yaw-Yan’ Melanio Rayanon Jr., Freestyle MMA Fighter Angelo Laguidao will battle Yaw-Yan MAC Fighter Ryan Canata, PAMAA’s Jefferson Grulla will collide against Regie Escosora and Team Gas-Out’s Leo Ernesto Llamas will clash against Laguna Freestyle Fighter’s Ryan Plaza.

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