It will be a battle between Philippines and India when Filipino mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter John Joseph Tabang of Hybrid Yaw Yan takes on Indian Abhinay Dadwal in the main event of Balikatan 16: Test of Courage today at the Marikina Sports Center in Marikina City.
The 28-year old Tabang aims to avenge the loss of his fellow Yaw-Yan practitioner, whom Dadwal defeated during the Balikatan 15: Goodwill Games in May.
“He (Tabang) told me that he will avenge the loss of the Yaw-Yan Kampilan fighter. He said that he wants the Philippine flag to fly high during the fight night,” veteran fighter and Balikatan organizer Henry Kobayashi told The Manila Times on Thursday.
The duel of Tabang and Dadwal will be right after the co-main event Pro-Am MMA bout between Boss MMA’s Cyrill Malonjao and Hybrid Yaw-Yan’s Richard Ayala.
“I am not well-prepared coming to this fight because of my busy schedule at work. But my advantage is my speed compared to his since I have watched some of his games,” the 22-year old Ayala said.
Ayala is coming off a Round 2 technical knockout victory over Froilan Tomas in Balikatan 15.
The 18-year old Malonjao of Las Piñas City, meanwhile, will try to preserve their clean sweep 4-0 record and retain the best team title they’ve won in the last Balikatan edition.
“We are expecting that this edition of Balikatan will draw more audience and more exciting showdown for all the fight fans,” said Kobayashi.
The other scheduled Pro-Am matches include Dave Servancia vs Ryan Canata, Jay-R Bermoy Jr. vs Jun Recillo, Glenn dela Torre vs Jomar Pal-iwen, Famelo Tabanao vs Kimcyrus Vallejos and Michael Dulnuan vs Jhong Hurtado.
In the kickboxing division, Raymond de Guzman will face Charlie Pasiwat while the Teen MMA bout will feature the match between Stephen Atok and Ernesto Siwa.
In the women’s category, the 26-year old Fredelyn Sayod of Hybrid Yaw-Yaw will defend her title against Hannah Villanueva.
Sayod beat Harpreet Kaur of India in in May.
In full MMA matches, Keith Brian Lasquite will face Dannie Gonzales, Giovani Brasileno Jr. will fight Paolo Mabanglo, Ricardo Martinez will take on Melanio Rayanon Jr. while Johnna Daly will battle Cristina Conrado.
The other MMA fighters who will see action are Jordan Rosit, Francis Macasojot, Amiel Macatangay, Jason Bandosa, Lemuel Culaste, John Vincent Miraflor, Jaypee Rubio and Miguel Samonte.
The event will start at 6 p.m.