For an entire decade the URCC has been scouring the Philippines to find the best fighters, giving them opportunities to showcase their talents and guiding an elite few to greatness. The likes of Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon and Eric Kelly are recognized and respected all over Asia after making a name for themselves fighting for the only domestic Filipino promotion.
As Folayang, Belingon and Kelly are finally getting their chance to shine on the international stage, along with URCC Champions Rey Docyogen and Honorio Banario, the search is already on for a new generation of Filipino talent to fill the roster.
One of the fighters most likely to succeed will be in action in the main event of URCC 21 as the promotion returns to the capital city of Manila for the first time in almost six months. It will be the 42nd event the URCC has put on since its formation ten years ago and center stage is likely to belong to Froilan Sarenas (pictured).
The 31 year old Filipino is the reigning URCC Middleweight Champion and is going up against Light Heavyweight Champion Nicholas Mann. The Australian's belt will be the one on the line and it will be an opportunity for Sarenas to make history by becoming the first man to hold URCC titles at two different weights.
The match up ranks as something of a surprise as Sarenas, who has a professional record of 3-0, was widely tipped to drop down to the welterweight division. However instead he will me moving up and fighting at the light heavyweight limit of 189 lbs.
Sarenas did not enter the MMA world until late in life, making his debut in 2010 at the age of 29. He won his first three fights, claiming the URCC middleweight title in the process, but was forced to fit his training around a full time job.
He recently joined Ole Laursen's Legacy Gym in Boracay and has been training full time with the Muay Thai and K-1 veteran as he prepares for back to back ONE FC fights. Sarenas has been a purple belt in BJJ for over four years and now that he is dedicating himself full time to MMA he looks likely to be the next Filipino fighter to break out onto the international scene.
His opponent, Nicholas Mann is currently 3-1, riding a three fight win streak and will be determined to silence the Filipino fans by handing Sarenas the first loss of his career. If Sarenas can register a fourth consecutive career win he will be well on his way to becoming the latest in a long line of MMA superstars to emerge from the Philippines.
Another name to watch out for is Jerson Estero. He is a Muay Thai champion with professional boxing experience who has an MMA record of 4-2 and is coming off a loss to the much taller Will Chope at URCC 20, in a fight the American failed to make weight for. He will be up against 2-1 Onyok Transmonte whose only career loss was by majority decision.
Chope is currently 4-0 in the URCC having defeated four separate Filipino opponents but he could be in for his biggest challenge yet when he takes on former lightweight champion Angelito Manguray. The Karate expert is a dentist who is well into his 40s but he is still an extremely dangerous opponent who has only been beaten once in five MMA fights.
This fight will probably be taking place at the 159 lbs lightweight limit which will be a relief for Chope who has been trying, and more often than not failing, to boil his 6"4' frame down to bantamweight. A win over Manguray would establish him as a legitimate title contender in whichever URCC division he chooses to compete in but the crowd will be firmly behind 'The Filipino Fighting Dentist' as he fights for the first time in a year.
Colt 45 URCC 21 'Warpath'
SMX Convention Centre, Manila
April 28th, 2012
Card (to date):
Froilan Sarenas vs Nicholas Mann
(For Mann's Light Heavyweight Belt)
Jersen Estero vs Onyok Transmonte
Alvin Ramirez vs Roy Doliquez
Angelito Manguray vs Will Chope
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