BRANDON Vera is far from washed up.
That’s what the 37-year-old Filipino-American fighter proved as he made a rousing ONE FC debut with technical knockout victory over Igor Subora in ONE FC: Warrior’s Way on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The former Ultimate Fighting Championship star rocked Subora with a left straight to the chin, then finished his Ukrainian foe off with kicks to the head as the referee put an end to the bout right in the first round.
It was an early Christmas present from Vera, who had lost four of his last six fights in the UFC before signing with Asia’s largest mixed martial arts organization last July.
“Maligayang Pasko,” Vera addressed the crowd after the bout.
After entering the cage with Diddy’s ‘I’m Coming Home’ playing in the background as his entrance song, Vera, who fought in front of his father’s native country for the first time, made short work of Subora.
“I was so nervous, but then I heard the “I’m coming home,’” Vera said. “It was the perfect song.”
Vera took the fight to the Ukrainian right from the opening bell, but received some solid punches from the URCC heavyweight champion as well.
Still, the Pinoy pride never felt he lost control of the match.
“I know I hurt him early, but you have to be smart and not get crazy, because I didn’t know if Igor was playing possum and wanted me to run into something heavy,” Vera said. “There was no point that I felt he was going to come back.”
Kevin Belingon also made the country proud by knocking down Koetsu Okazaki four times to score a convincing unanimous decision victory over his Japense opponent.
His two Lakay teammates were unfortunate, though.
Eduard Folayang suffered a heartbreaking TKO decision to Timofey Nastyukhin in the first round after getting hit in the face with a left knee of his 25-year-old foe.
Honorio Banario also came up empty-handed, tapping out after getting locked in a rear-naked choke by Herbert Burns in the first round.
Another Filipino in Rene Catalan lost his bout to Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke.