UFC Manila preview: get to know the six Filipino fighters

.

UFC Manila Mark Munoz
UFC Manila Mark Munoz

UFC Manila will take place at the Mall of Asia Arena in the Philippines on May 16, 2015. Along with the celebrated Mark Munoz, a total of six fighters from the Philippines in the event.

Mark Munoz

The Filipino Wrecking Machine comes into this fight as a full circle testament to his career. He will be idolized by the Philippines fans no matter what, due to his birthright claim and his constant encouragement of the country’s MMA development. This fight – win or lose – can be seen as a segue into the next part of his contribution to MMA. Munoz has promised to throw his efforts into the Philippines MMA scene. But first, expect him to throw everything he can into this fight with Luke Barnatt.

Phillipe Nover

UFC Manila Phillipe Nover
UFC Manila Phillipe Nover

Phillipe Nover is an ethnic Filipino from New York who gets his second chance in the UFC after his rise and fall through TUF 6. Once heralded as the next GSP, Nover was thrown to the wolves fast and hard. He recovered with back and forth bouts in Bellator and regional promotions, going on a 3-fight win streak to earn a second life in the UFC, and specifically on the Philippines card.

Nover drops featherweight for the first time, along with his opponent Nam Yui-Chul. Nover has been facing up and comers on his recent ascent and stopping them in their tracks, however Nam represents train coming straight at him. Both of these guys know what it takes to beat each of their respective opponents, and the show for this one will be who is the overall better man. This will be one to watch to see who can hang in the UFC.

Mark Eddiva

UFC Manila Mark Eddiva
UFC Manila Mark Eddiva

Mark Eddiva was a decorated Wushu fighter before ever setting foot in the cage; in fact he is known in the Philippines and China as a very accomplished athlete and somewhat of a national hero. Along with his teammate, the very respected MMA stand out Eduard Folayang. That’s why he only sporadically built up his MMA career over the course of 5 years, then abandoned it for university. Even with the layoff, he got a shot in the UFC one year ago. It was an impressively dominant performance over highly-touted Tuerxun Jumabieke. Then he matched up with Edlimson Souza, and put on such an incredible display of power and heart and aggression in his striking, he was KOed at the end of the third. Yet – even while being finished – he earned Fight of the Night accolades.

This next test against Levan Makashvili, who holds the same numbers on paper as Eddiva, will be a true test of where his MMA career can take him. Makashvilli comes highly touted, and holds a pair of brutal hands on him. In fact, he’s so highly touted that his first fight in the UFC was supposed to be against Nik Lentz. Eddiva will have to bring the same technical finesse from his wushu days into this match. With both guys having incredible striking, this will be a fantastic fight.

Roldan Sangcha-an 

UFC Manila Roldan Sangcha-an
UFC Manila Roldan Sangcha-an

Roldan Sangcha-an hails from Team Lakay in Baguio and has been known on the regional scene as one of the most exciting strikers to watch. He didn’t even need a lot of time in front of fans and press in order for that label to be placed on him. Then he followed it up by surprisingly submitting fellow striker Ernesto Montilla when he hit the big stage at PXC 39. It landed him a shot in the UFC, and while he lost a decision to Richie Vaculik because of his under-developed takedown defense, he still made it a fun and competitive match.

Sangcha-an meets Jon Delos Reyes of Guam, and ethnic Filipino, which makes this the first Filipino versus Filipino fight ever in the UFC. Delos Reyes comes into the match with much more experience. Sangcha-an will need to have developed all-around since his last fight, and he’ll be tested against a very good striker.

Jon Delos Reyes

UFC Manila John Delos Reyes
UFC Manila John Delos Reyes

Jon Delos Reyes from Team Countershot in Guam claims Filipino blood high and proud, and because of his PXC affiliation, the fans will know him. Delos Reyes had an outstanding finishing record on Trench Tech which feed to PXC, with a mix of submissions and KOs. In his first UFC fight, he met fellow PXC vet Dustin Kimura and quickly fell into deep waters.

Delos Reyes is reinventing himself at flyweight to face Sangcha-an. It won’t be like staring over, but it will be a tough test in a competitive division. Overall, he has a more developed game than Sangcha-an, and can probably use his takedowns as a lifesaver if he gets into trouble. However, as this is Filipino vs Filipino, emotions will be high and the crowd will be nuts. These two guys will have their blood boiling and will put on a fun one no matter what the outcome may be.

Nolan Ticman

UFC Manila Nolan Ticman
UFC Manila Nolan Ticman

Nolan Ticman is a Fil-Am fighter based in California who trains at King’s MMA. Now at 4-2, he’s one of the rare prospects who jumped into the UFC very early in his career. He’s said to have a striking game as he trains under former Chuteboxe Coach Rafael Cordiero. He’s not going to be well-known to the fans in the Philippines, but he will still get a home crowd welcome when he makes his way to the cage.

Ticman is facing Yao Zhikui, roughly as much of a popular unknown as he is, however his fights in TUF China led the promotion to sign him. Yao has a developing stand up game and is very aggressive although not polished yet. Both fighters are dropping to flyweight for this one.