One FC: Rise of Heroes, the biggest MMA event in the Philippines made possible by the largest MMA organization in Asia, was only fitting to be brought to a conclusion with an exclamation point and such was the case when the main event of the night between One FC Bantamweight Champion Bibiano Fernandes and Bantamweight Grand Prix Winner Masakatsu Ueda at the sold-out Mall of Asia Arena in Manila embarked on with a bang. Defending champion Bibiano Fernandes wasted no time in the opening round dragging Masakatsu Ueda down to the depths shooting for a single-leg takedown but Ueda managed to get back on his feet.
Up against the cage, Ueda defended another takedown until the referee separated the two combatants. It didn't take long for the relentless champion to put the challenger on his back again and this time, he was able to land on a Ueda's side and transition into a full mount that sent the crowd into a hysteria. With 35 seconds left, Fernandes took Ueda's back and attempted a rear naked choke but Ueda did an incredible job of defending the submission and getting out of the hole before the bell rang signaling the end of the round.
Round 2 and both fighters engaged at the center of the cage with Ueda finding home for his kicks but the defending champion was impervious and continued to stalk the challenger unloading his own assault. Ueda threw a spinning back kick but Fernandes was ready for it and took Ueda on the mat right away. With less than 2 minutes left, Ueda was back on his feet and survived another onslaught by the defending champion. Fernandes' aggression in round 3 reached a different level as he constantly haunted Ueda blasting him with both hands that forced the gutsy Japanese to shoot for a single-leg takedown but Fernandes defended it quite well.
The Brazilian superstar completed another takedown and wound up in a full mount after a scramble. Working for an escape, Ueda made a crucial mistake by turning around that allowed the champion to take his back and threaten him with another rear naked choke – a déjà vu of the first round. Ueda, however, endured. The majority of the 4th round was spent on their feet with Ueda targeting the huge swelling below Fernandes' left eye. Adamant of Ueda's boxing, Fernandes continued to push the pace mixing up his attack as he worked on closing the distance.
The champion scored another takedown before the end of the round – putting an absolute clinic with authority. Realizing that he was way behind on the judges' scorecards, Ueda came out with a revitalized tenacity looking for a finish but Fernandes went on to shut him down putting him on his back with ease. With 3:14 remaining of the final round, Fernandes put on another grappling clinic taking his opponent to the mat and transitioning from a half mount to another dominant position on Ueda's back but the Japanese was able to parry it. Fernandes scored a beautiful takedown in the final minute of the championship bout and worked hard on finishing the fight but Ueda pulled through despite being completely dominated by the Brazilian champion.
Successful in his first ONE FC title defense, Bibiano Fernandes improves his winning streak to 8 and his MMA record to 16 wins with 3 losses. Masakatsu Ueda, on the other hand, drops to 18 wins, 3 losses and 2 bouts even. Hometown Heroes The partisan crowd left the arena with a smile on their faces not just because the entire card delivered but because all their local talents showcased their incredible skills in the cage.
Five of the featured Filipino fighters came out victorious including former boxing world champion, Ana Julaton, who braved out an early storm to finish her opponent in the 3rd round. The biggest name of Philippine MMA, Eduard Folayang, scored his 4th win since joining the organization via a dominant performance against former One FC Lightweight Champion Kotetsu Boku of Japan.
Folayang, who is known for his exciting and devil-may-care style, reminded his fans why he remains the most popular MMA fighter in the country. Folayang smashed Boku on the ground, threatened him submissions, unleashed a knee to the head at one point, landed a spinning heel kick to Boku's face in the second round, and ended the final round strong.
Rey Docyogen finally racked up his first One FC win dominating Guam-native Josh Alvarez for 3 rounds. Eugene Toquero prevailed against Gianni Subba en route to a unanimous decision win. Toquero bounced back strong after losing to Geje Eustaquio last December.
Ana Julaton is not alone in her attempt to pave the way for Filipinas into the exciting world of MMA as fellow pro boxer, Jujeath Nagaowa, scored a TKO victory against Jeet Toshi in the 2nd round to commenced her MMA career. The next ONE FC event, ONE Fighting Championship: Honor and Glory, will take place at the Singapore indoor Stadium in Singapore on May 20, 2014.
*credit on story reporting from Manila correspondents Alvin Go and JD Sanchez