By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Several Ilonggo fighters recently made headlines after an impressive outing during a recently concluded Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event held in Makati City last January 28, 2023.
The talented pool of fighters led by Chester Brian Andres of Pavia, Jayson Tabuada of Lapuz, and Rhino Casipe of Barotac Nuevo grabbed the spotlight during the 2023 Philippine Encuentro Championship (PEC) after getting jaw-dropping wins against the best MMA practitioners of the country.
PEC was organized by another Ilonggo MMA pride in Mr. Rene Catalan of Sta. Barbara, one of the best strawweight fighters in ONE Fighting Championship.
The trio of Andres, Tabuada, and Casipe all represented the Iloilo Combat Sports Martial Arts stable located in Iloilo City.
Established in 2019, the Iloilo Combat Sports training ground quickly established itself as one of the best gyms not only in the City of Love but also in Western Visayas.
Andres immediately set the tone for the Ilonggo delegation after scoring a technical knockout (TKO) win.
Tabuada then picked up where Andres left off and displayed an effective ground game technique when he pulled off an armbar submission win in the first round.
Last but not the least, Barotac Nuevo’s Casipe edged his opponent in the striking game and dominated all rounds for the unanimous decision win.
“Our fighters displayed total domination during the event. All the training and hard work paid off for sure. And this is a good start for 2023 after having years of limited to no events because of Covid. We look forward to showcasing our talents all over the country this year as we expect more events to come. That is why we need the help of the government and/or the private sector who are fight fans to support the growth of our local fighters in this fight sports,” said Mr. Bodie Galotera, Iloilo Combat Sports’ president, and Mr. Marvin Chin, one of the main supporters of the gym.
Other famous names training under the renowned MMA stable are Ernie Braca, Albert Somido, Gabriel Hembra, Jay Caborobias, and Mark Alfaro.