• Banario eyes knockout revenge vs. Japanese


    Filipino mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Honorio “The Rock” Banario predicts a decisive knockout triumph over fierce rival Koji Oishi, the Japanese who dethroned him as One Fighting Championship (One FC) world featherweight champion early this year before a stunned Filipino crowd.

    The two combatants will face off once more on December 6, this year at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City when One FC returns to banner exciting matches featuring Filipino MMA fighters.

    “It’s my turn to knock him out. In style,” Banario said amid intense preparations in high-altitude Baguio with other Filipino fighters.

    “I’m taking my belt back to the Philippines,” proclaimed a confident Banario, who held the title for a few months after he thrashed early this year veteran Eric Kelly to become the ONE FC’s first featherweight world champion and the Philippines’ first world champion in mixed martial arts.

    Banario said his friends, family and fans are his motivation in his attempt to reclaim the coveted title. “I can’t believe I lost the first bout and I definitely will not lose the second bout.”

    Banario has gone to Malaysia for a while to train with top coaches there, and now he is being conditioned by a wrestling coach at the Team Lakay gym in Baguio. “I can feel my skills are already getting a lot better.”

    The Filipino has admitted that he was a bit careless in his last fight with Oishi. “I will be more cautious this time. I was very excited because I came so close to finishing him in the first round that my defense dropped for just a split second in the second round and I got caught,” he said.

    Banario emphasized that Filipino fans can expect a smarter fight from him on December 6. “I’ll fight smarter, that’s for sure.”

    To Oishi, this is what Banario has to say: “Be ready because I am coming to take your belt back.”

    Banario is the eldest of three highly talented fighting brothers. The trio engaged in sparring sessions at home growing up in Baguio. Their parents were initially resistant to them participating in wushu and subsequently MMA, but they were convinced when Honorio found early success, paving the path for his brothers.

    Also in the fight are Filipino strikers Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon and Geje Eustaquio along with Filipina female boxer Jujeath Nagaowa, who will be making her One FC debut.

    Belingon will fight undefeated David Aranda Santacana of Spain while Eustaquio battles fellow countryman Eugene Toquero.

    Giving further excitement to the card are America’s Caros Fodor who will square off against Hong Kong-based Vuyisile Colossa and heavyweight slugger Alain Ngalani battles the fierce brawler from Canada Paul Cheng.


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