It was a good year for Philippine mixed martial arts (MMA) fans with Robbie Lawler becoming the very first Filipino-American Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight champion.
Lawler, 32, achieved what other Filipino-American MMA fighters like Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Muñoz and Brandon “The Truth” Vera failed to accomplish by beating Johnny Hendricks via split decision in their rematch on December 6 in UFC 181 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The San Diego, California native Lawler (25-10 win-loss record with 19 knockouts) lost to Hendricks via unanimous decision in their first match in March.
Meanwhile, light heavyweight Vera, after leaving UFC knocked out Ukrainian Igor Sabora in his One Fighting Championship debut on December 5 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
In addition to Vera, another One FC attraction is former World Boxing Organization women’s super bantamweight champion Filipino-American Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton. The 33-year old flyweight Julaton scored a third round knockout win against Egyptian Aya Saeid Saber in One FC Rise of heroes in Manila in May 2 but she lost her second fight against Malaysian Ann Osman via split decision on August 29 in One FC Reign of Champions in Dubai.
Julaton bounced back by whipping Walaa Abas of Egypt via unanimous decision in December 5 in One FC Warrior’s Way in Manila. The victory improved her MMA record to 2-1.