HONORIO Banario is so eager to regain what he lost five months ago that he boldly asked One FC CEO Victor Cui in front of a crowd: “Did you bring my belt?”
Cui did have the belt but Koji Oishi, the one who took away Banario’s featherweight title, was not around and it won’t be until December 6 that the Filipino fighter would get a chance to grab the belt back from the Japanese.
Still, Cui understands where the Filipino fighter is coming from.
Only three months after becoming the first ONE FC featherweight champion, Banario relinquished his belt to Oishi following a shock second-round technical knockout defeat to the dismay of the pro-Filipino crowd last May 31.
The 24-year-old top Filipino mixed martial artist hopes to reclaim what he believes is rightfully his as he battles his Japanese conqueror in a rematch for the belt when ONE FC returns to the MOA Arena.
“This moment of truth is not lost on Honorio,” Cui said on Thursday during the press launch of One FC’s third offering in the country.
Less than two months from now, Banario tries to make his countrymen proud as he once again fights in the main event of the card dubbed “Moment of Truth.”
In their first meeting, Banario was all over Oishi in the first round as the pride of Baguio looked set to score a knockout following a flurry of punches.
But all it took was Oishi’s perfect right hook in the second round that knocked Banario out and threw away the gains he had built in the first round.
“Ngayon, hindi naman exactly revenge, pero ipagpapatuloy ko yung hindi ko natapos,” Banario
Banario’s compatriots and Team Lakay stablemates Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, and Geje Eustaquio also eye redemption from losses in ONE FC: Rise to Power last May in what was a gloomy night for Philippine MMA.
Eustaquio takes on fellow promising Pinoy Eugene Toquero, while organizers have yet to announce Folayang and Belingon’s opponents.
“Every great story has a great obstacle. And I believe this a challenge these guys are up to,” Cui said, assuring Folayang and Belingon’s opponents will also be world-class. “Keep in mind the level of competition also increased.”
The Moment of Truth card also marks the debut of the first Filipina MMA artist in Jujeath Nagaowa, who will face a still-undetermined foe in the first women’s MMA bout in the country.