In the Face of Raw Courage and Bravery

Last August 12, the biggest fight scene to date returns almost 42 years after “Thrilla in Manila”, at the Araneta Coliseum, arriving in the explosive form of URCC XXX. Admittedly, we had the vaguest of ideas as to how the night will unfold since we were new to the entire MMA scene in general, even more so of its status in the country, prior to meeting Alvin. Ultimately, we dived into it with genuine curiosity.

Unconfined excitement and anticipation hung inside the arena like a curtain, filling every inch of the historic venue. If you listened closely, the collective noise were individual murmurs of the match-ups being passed around from spectator to spectator. Fighters were coming in and out of backstage and some of their fans took the opportunity to get a selfie or two.

@misspopquiz at URCC XXX.

Our Saturday evening began shortly after the opening ceremony led by the Philippine Air Force. 24 fighters competed for coveted titles and every second inside the coliseum had everybody hollering in excitement. Many of them will go home with hoarse voices, satisfied from all the action they've waited so long to see.

In the first televised bout and celebrity match-up, Indie actor Kiko Matos of DEFTAC Philippines defeats social media challenger, Billy Jack Magana Sanchez of Youtube Jitsu MMA. For the first title bout of the night, Fritz “Kid Tornado” Biagtan of Biagtan MMA, continues his reign as the URCC Strawweight World Champion after successfully emerging against Toughguys International's Solomon “The Prodigy” Dultra.

For the co-main event, Derrick Easterling of PF MMA successfully defended his title as the URCC Flyweight World Champion against Hitman MMA’s Jiar "The Twister" Castillo. Do Gyeom Lee of BK Wang Ho also manages to hold on to his title as the URCC Featherweight World Champion against his mighty contender, Jojo Orao of Elorde Tandang Sora.

The Philippine flag being waved by PF MMA right before Derrick Easterling's entrance.
Do Gyeom Lee holding his URCC Featherweight Belt.

Towards the end of the first half of the evening, URCC acknowledged the presence of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as well as our injured soldiers who are currently receiving treatment at V. Luna General Hospital. URCC expressed their deepest gratitude to our protectors for all the sacrifices they made for the sake of our peace. Here's to hoping they enjoyed their time spent away from the battlefield, even just for a single night. The big dome also spent a few minutes in silence honoring those who have fought and continues to fight for the freedom of Marawi, event at the cost of their lives, against acts that defile peace in our motherland.

Further to the main event, Chris Hofmann of DEFTAC Philippines remains a champion against Robert Sothmann of Dragon Warrior MMA for the URCC Middle Weight World Title in the most cheered for battle of the night.

Chris Hofmann vs. Robert Sothmann

In the first ever televised 3v3 match, Team Estroso (Sugar Ray, Iyoy Espinosa, Patrick Dos Santos) overpowers Team Gatmaitan (Mark Gatmaitan, Brian Paule, Jovit Laxamana).

The face of Team Estroso before victory.

As for the rest of the fights that weren't televised, Mark "Mugen" Striegl of F.I.S.T Gym continues on the rise as he defeats Former URCC Bantamweight Champion, Andrew Benibe of Maic’s GYM, in the Featherweight Division. Ernesto "Iron" Montilla Jr. of D’Elements MMA Warrior's/Ronin BJJ wins over Nilo "The Rock" Vidal Batang Samar of F.I.S.T Gym in the Flyweight division. Meanwhile in the Welterweight division, John “Outlaw” Adajar of Hitman MMA is victorious against Jet Hermida of Yaw-Yan Buhawi. For the last bout, Mark “The Wolf” Palomar submits to Caloy "Bad Boy" Baduria in the Light Heavyweight division.

Throughout every round, we felt all the fighter's hard work culminating in the punches that they threw and in the kicks that slapped against their opponents’ bodies. This extraordinary form of art is nothing less than remarkable for their utter dedication to their craft. In the end, we all aspire to become a little bit like these warriors, not for the way they defeat their opponents inside the ring, but for their hearts that beat with courage, waking up everyday and making sure they stand up stronger after every fall.

SA'ICHI

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