IT was a smudge in an otherwise spot-free night for Filipino bets.
Honorio Banario failed to figure out the Japanese puzzle that is Koji Oishi anew, losing in their ONE FC world featherweight title bout on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
After getting caught with a lucky punch in his first title defense, Banario, the challenger this time, suffered the same fate as the Japanese champion connected on a convincing right straight that knocked the Filipino out in the third round.
“It was a different fight, but I still found the opportunity to hit him,” Oishi addressed the crowd through an interpreter.
Disappointing as the loss was, it still didn't dampen what a perfect night it had been for Team Lakay.
In the most impressive victory of the card, Kevin Belingon knocked Spanish David Aranda with a sensational left hook right in the first round of their bantamweight bout.
Eduard Folayang likewise brought pride in front of the home crowd, dominating Vincent Latoel of Indonesia with solid ground-and-pound moves en route to a unanimous-decision victory.
Geje Eustaquio also atoned for his previous loss as he outclassed compatriot Eugene Toquero in a fight where he showcased his wrestling skills.
Lakay coach Mark Sangiao was satisfied of his team’s overall performance after going winless in five fights in the ONE FC: Rise to Power last May.
“I’m happy. Sabi ko nga na two-hundred percent ready sila ngayon at nakita naman yung epekto,” he said. “Sad to say lang na hindi natin maiuuwi yung featherweight title belt.”
Sangiao, a former fighter himself, said the difference in the lone loss was in the second round where Banario received a handful of hits from the counter-punching Oishi, who finished off the hometown bet in the next round.
“Nung napuruhan siya dun sa second round, medyo na-distract na at nawala yung game plan. Kulang pa. masyado pang rookie siya para kay Oishi.”
The 24-year-old Banario lost for the third time in 11 fights, while Oishi, who’s 12 years older, improved to a 25-9-10 win-loss-draw card.
Two other Pinoys scored contrasting results in the third staging of Asia’s largest MMA organization.
Ruel Catalan put smiles in the faces of Filipinos as he achieved what his brother Rene failed to do in turning back Khim Dima of Cambodia.
Catalan, whose brother Rene lost to Dima in a decision that was ruled no-contest two months ago, knocked out the Cambodian with his striking prowess in the first round.
But compatriot Edward Kelly tapped out to Herbert Burns with a rear-naked choke just 44 seconds into the first round.