ONE FC: Rise of Heroes explodes May 2

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ONE FC Bantamweight Grand Prix winner Masakatsu Ueda (left), ONE FC CEO Victor Cui (center) and defending world champion Bibiano Fernandes meet members of the press during the ONE FC: Rise of Heroes press conference at the SM Mall Of Asia Atrium in Manila on Tuesday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

ONE Fighting Championship (FC) Bantamweight Grand Prix winner, Masakatsu Ueda, will challenge reigning ONE FC bantamweight world champion Bibiano Fernandes in ONE FC: Rise of Heroes on May 2, 2014 at the 20,000-capacity Mall of Asia Arena in Manila.

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The event, which is expected to be the largest mixed martial arts (MMA) tournament ever witnessed in the history of the Philippines, promises a stacked fight card.

“I’m ready to face him [Masakatsu]. I know he defeated a lot of good fighters but I’m not afraid,” said Fernandes (15-3 win-loss slate with five submission wins). “I always train hard. My striking, grappling and defense have improved well.”

Fernandez, known as “The Flash,” won via unanimous decision in two straight fights in 2013 against Koetsu Okazaki of Japan and Soo Chul Kim of Korea.

Ueda (18-2-2 record) said that his wrestling techniques and ground game would match Fernandes’ skills.

“Fernandes is a great fighter but I need to get his belt. I won’t be nice,” said Ueda, 36, a consistent winner in national wrestling tournaments in Japan, via interpreter. “I’m really motivated to win here in the Philippines because of the fans.”

Ueda beat former Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight champion Jens Pulver using a D’arce choke before nipping Filipino fighter Kevin Belingon via unanimous decision last year.

The ONE FC: Rise of Heroes card also includes a featherweight clash between top Australian featherweight, Rob Lisita, and the former Legend FC bantamweight champion, Yusuke Kawanago. It will also feature the young Pinoy fighter Eugene Toquero, who would draw inspiration from the passionate support of Filipino fight fans as he faces one of the top flyweight prospects in the world, Gianni Subba.

ONE FC Chief Executive Officer Victor Cui said that additional ONE FC: Rise of Heroes bouts would be announced soon.

“Some of you are wondering where the other Filipino fighters are? We will make an announcement soon,” he said.

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