Mark Eddiva made the Philippines proud on Saturday night when he made an impressive Ultimate Fighting Championship debut by outclassing Jumabieke Tuerxun in UFC Fight Night 37 in Macau.
The 28-year-old pride of Baguio City, the second homegrown Filipino in the UFC, leaned on a solid striking game and takedown defense to score the unanimous decision victory and achieve what Dave Galera failed to do.
Galera, the first homegrown Pinoy to see action in the UFC, lost to Royston Wee in his own debut in UFC Fight Night 34 last January in Singapore.
All judges scored the featherweight bout, 30-27, in favor of Eddiva, the former Southeast Asian Games gold medalist who remained unbeaten in after six fights, while dealing his favored Chinese opponent the first defeat of his career in 15 fights — in front of his countrymen no less.
He may not have knocked out or forced his opponent to submit like he was able to do in his first five pro fights, but Eddiva clearly dominated all three rounds as Tuerxun’s back was against the cage most of the fight in a battle between UFC rookies.
With Lakay coach Mark Sangiao by his side shouting instructions, Eddiva connected on numerous punches and kicks that left the Chinese foe groggy and fatigued.
While his takedown defense was remarkable, Eddiva was caught in a triangle choke late in last round in Tuerxun’s desperate effort to turn the fight around.