By Thinesh John
2 new match-ups have been announced for ONE Fighting Championshipâ€™s upcoming event, titled â€˜Pride of a Nationâ€™, which is set to take place on August 31st at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Manilla, Philippines. Preliminary fights are expected to stream online.
The Banario-Benibe match-up was first announced by TheFightNation, while the scrap between Kevin Belingnon and Soo Chul Kim was confirmed by ONE FC through its official Facebook page.
The arena which once played host to the epic â€˜Thrilla in Manillaâ€™ showdown between legendary Boxers Muhammad Ali and Joe Frasier â€“ will now host Asiaâ€™s most prestigious Mixed Martial Arts event.
A couple of big names have already been confirmed for ONE FC 5: Pride of a Nation, including former UFC Champions Andrei Arlovski and Jens Pulver, Asiaâ€™s No.1 fighter Shinya Aoki, UFC veteran Phil Baroni and former DREAM title-holder, Bibiano Fernandes. This will undoubtedly be the biggest fight card that ONE FC has put together, ever since its inception in 2011.
Honorio Banario was 6-0 in his professional MMA career, before running into South-Korean Superstar Bae Young Kwon in his ONE FC debut. Banario was forced to tap at just 0:56s of the very 1st round. The reigning URCC Lightweight Champion, who trains out of Team Lakay, will be competing for the 1st time after suffering the first set-back of his career.
Andrew Benibe, in the meantime, is a URCC veteran, having fought 6 times in the Filipino promotion. He is currently riding on a 3-fight winning streak, defeating the likes of Michael Dan Rubio and Sulpiano Laurio Jr. at URCC 19 and URCC 20 respectively. Benibe will bring a resume of 4-2 to the ONE FC cage.
Elsewhere, South-Korean Soo Chul Kim (5-4) will be looking for his first win in the Singapore-based promotion after falling short against Leandro Issa and Gustavo Falciroli at ONE FC 1 and ONE FC 2 respectively. The 20-year-old recently snapped his 3-fight losing streak at ROAD FC 008, where he gained a TKO victory over Shoko Sato. Prior to his stint with ONE FC, Chul Kim was 4-1 in his professional MMA career with the lone set-back coming against Andrew Leone at PRO Fighting 5.
His opponent, Kevin Belingnon (9-1), will need no introductions to the Filipino crowd when he makes his 2nd appearance in the ONE FC cage. Arguably one of the countryâ€™s best MMA fighters, Belingnon was on a tear with a 9-fight winning streak, before being submitted by Japanese Superstar Masakazu Imanari, in his promotional debut at ONE FC 3: War of the Lions. Commonly known as â€˜The Silencerâ€™, Belingnon has competed in the URCC and in Legend Fighting Championship. He trains with Honorio Banario and Eduard Folayang at Team Lakay, one of Asiaâ€™s most prominent MMA gyms.
Hereâ€™s the latest fight card for ONE FC 5: Pride of a Nation:
- Bibiano Fernandes vs. Gustavo Falciroli
- Shinya Aoki vs. TBA
- Andrei Arlovski vs. Soa Palelei
- Jens Pulver vs. Eric Kelly
- Gregor Gracie vs. Nicholas Mann
- Rolles Gracie vs. Tony Banello
- Eduard Folayang vs. Felipe Enomoto
- Mitch Chilson vs. Shannon Wiratchai
- Kevin Belingnon vs. Soo Chul Kim
- Igor Gracie vs. Jung Hwan Cha
- Phil Baroni vs. Rodrigo Ribeiro
- Honorio Banario vs. Andrew Benibe
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