2021 is officially in full swing. There’s definitely a lot to look forward to in the Philippine mixed martial arts scene. The next 12 months should be interesting for the Filipino fighting contingent, with a handful of potentially massive bouts on offer.
From the resurgence of Team Lakay and Catalan Fighting System, to the Zamboanga siblings Denice and Drex, and the impending challenges for Filipino-American superstar Brandon Vera, Filipino MMA fans have enough to get excited about.
As we look into the new year hopeful for a better and brighter future, ONE Championship stars Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang, and Rene “The Challenger” Catalan took time out to share their visions for 2021 on the official ONE Championship website.
“My New Year’s resolution is to be more positive, to always look at the beauty of everything whether in good times or bad. As an athlete, it’s the same – just to keep on working to be a better athlete. I look forward to competing more and, of course, to stretch my winning run further,” said Eustaquio, the former ONE Flyweight World Champion.
Eustaquio ended the past year with his one and only appearance ending in victory, but it was a very important one for Team Lakay, which suffered a string of painful setbacks recently.
Eustaquio’s November win over South Korea’s Song Min Jong could set him up for some very important bouts down the road, including a showdown with top flyweight Reece McLaren, a rematch with Yuya Wakamatsu, and a super-fight against former UFC Flyweight World Champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.
For Eustaquio’s up-and-coming Team Lakay teammate, Adiwang, it’s all about coming for that gold belt.
“It’s all simply about being a better person and, of course, I want to explore more things in life. Also, I look forward to achieving both my goals in my life and in my career. Such goals are winning and being at my best in my future fights so I can get closer to the strap. If I can challenge for it next year, then that’s the ultimate goal,” said Adiwang.
“On the other hand, my goal for my family is that I get to finish the house that I’m building for them. I hope to finish it this year.”
Adiwang’s meteoric rise through the ranks and seven bout win streak were snapped in November in a close split decision loss to Japan’s Hiroba Minowa. The Team Lakay stalwart is hopeful he can start another epic run.
Adiwang may have to refocus his efforts into a move to flyweight, however, as Team Lakay teammate Joshua Pacio has a firm hold on the strawweight world title in his current weight class. Regardless, expect Adiwang to make a furious 2021 debut when he makes his first appearance this year.
Another veteran, former ONE World Title challenger Catalan, wants more than just to further his fighting career. Like he’s been doing for so long, Catalan wants to continue helping the next generation of Filipino mixed martial arts stars better their careers in the coming year.
“My resolution is to help more athletes build their dreams, guide them in honing their skills, and hopefully get them to ONE Championship so they can have the chance to rise above their personal hardships in life,” said Catalan.
Catalan suffered a quick first-round knockout loss to Bokang Masunyane in early December. The veteran Filipino martial arts pioneer leads his Catalan Fighting System troupe which includes his brother Robin, and highly-regarded women’s atomweight Jomary Torres, among others.