WHEN BRAVE Combat Federation held its first-ever event in Manila on Friday, an underlying narrative was introducing Filipino fighters under its wing to be known in their home turf. It was something that was successfully achieved, one local fight analyst said, after the hometown bets performed very well on fight night.
Played under “Brave 22: Storm of Warriors” at the Mall of Asia Arena on March 15, the Filipino fighters competing in the Bahrain-based promotion were able to highlight what they are capable of with quality performances, led by bantamweight champion Stephen “The Sniper” Loman, who retained his title with an impressive fourth-round technical knockout victory in the headlining fight.
Seeing action in the Philippines for the first time with Brave, Mr. Loman (12-2) of Team Lakay of Baguio City did not disappoint the hometown fans as he treated them to an exciting match that culminated in him stopping challenger Elias “Smile” Boudegzdame of Algeria in devastating fashion in the fourth round.
It was a performance that was worth noting, said fight analyst Nissi Icasiano, especially in relation to what Mr. Loman and Brave wanted to accomplish.
“Indeed, it was a showcase to introduce our other Filipino mixed martial artists to the rest of the world, especially when it comes to Team Lakay because the team is built on their big names such as Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon and so on. The spotlight was shined upon Mark Sangiao’s new batch of Team Lakay, including Stephen Loman who did not disappoint with his performance against Elias Boudegzdame,” Mr. Icasiano shared with BusinessWorld.
Apart from Mr. Loman, other Team Lakay winners at Storm of Warriors were bantamweights Jeremy Pacatiw and Harold Banario and flyweight Jomar Pa-ac.
Other Filipino winners were featherweight Rolando Dy and Jayson Margallo.
Asked for his thoughts on the showing of Mr. Loman, the fight analyst said the Filipino had a perfect game plan and gave credit to how he played to his strengths to emerge victorious.
“Stephen Loman had the perfect game plan against Elias Boudegzdame. He avoided rolling with his challenger on the mat as much as possible and dictated the pace of the fight in the stand-up. His key weapons in the fight were the left cross and push kicks to the body, which paid dividends later on in the bout,” said Mr. Icasiano.
“It was the icing on the cake when he got the stoppage with just one second remaining in the fourth round to successfully defend his bantamweight crown,” he added.
Moving forward, Mr. Icasiano said the ceiling for Mr. Loman to soar in Brave is still high and he expects the fighter, with help from his team, to be capable in taking on all comers that would stand in his way.
“Brave is a young company. I believe they are still in the process of filling up every division they have, including the bantamweight division. They have yet to make it a stacked weight class, which is completely understandable. So far, Loman has defeated the likes of Frans Mlambo, Felipe Efrain, and now Elias Boudegzdame. I won’t be surprised if the promotion brings in a new guy from the free agent market who has good credentials to challenge Loman for the title,” Mr. Icasiano said.
Brave said that “Brave 22” was the first of many it plans to stage in the Philippines, seeing the country as a market it has to be in.
In the country, Brave tied up with ESPN5 as its official broadcast partner. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo