Bibiano Fernandes (ONE FC)ONE FC 15 ‘Rise of Heroes’ Preview and Predictions The MMA Corner Staff April 29, 2014 Events, Previews, Spotlight Everyone has their heroes. In MMA, it can be a favorite fighter who impressed with his skills on the mat or on the feet. For some, it can be a local fighter who makes their hometown or native country proud with their long list of accomplishments in combat. ONE FC 15 has enough heroes to go around. With an event name like “Rise of Heroes,” that’s sort of a necessity. The promotion will feature several local heroes when it lands in the Philippines for its latest event. The SM Mall of Asia Arena in Manila will play host to Team Lakay standouts Eduard Folayang and Rey Docyogen. The local crowd will witness Folayang test his mettle against fellow lightweight striker Kotetsu Boku. Meanwhile, Docyogen continues his search for flyweight success when he meets Josh Alvarez. There are also international heroes present. Brazilian grappling standout and highly ranked bantamweight Bibiano Fernandes puts his ONE FC gold on the line against top Japanese fighter Masakatsu Ueda, and rising Australian featherweight prospect Rob Lisita seeks to avenge a prior loss when he rematches with Japanese prospect Yusuke Kawanago. The entire event streams live via online pay-per-view on May 2, beginning with the first prelim bout at 7 a.m. ET. Here’s a look at the evening’s lineup. HW: Chris Lokteff (12-1) vs. James McSweeney (12-11) Chris Lokteff and James McSweeney can both boast 12 victories on their resume, but there’s a large gap between the number of losses each man has suffered and the level of competition that brought them to their current mark. McSweeney is a British kickboxer who competed on The Ultimate Fighter 10 and made three appearances inside the Octagon, including losing efforts against Travis Browne and Fabio Maldonado. The 33-year-old has bounced between heavyweight and light heavyweight, and he’s made stops in Cage Rage, Ring of Combat, Championship Fighting Alliance and Legacy FC along the way. Lokteff has yet to reach those heights. The 27-year-old Australian prospect has competed in his native country and the surrounding region throughout his career. In his ONE FC debut, Lokteff picked up a split decision win over Tony Johnson, a solid wrestler whose only other loss came to Daniel Cormier. McSweeney is the poster boy for inconsistent MMA fighters. After his dismal UFC run, he lost his next two fights, then went 6-1 in a stretch where his only loss came to current Bellator light heavyweight kingpin Emanuel Newton. He’s now 2-2 over his last four fights. This is a battle of strikers is likely to result in the winner advancing to a heavyweight title tilt. McSweeney has experience against a high level of competition, but he doesn’t have the strongest chin. Lokteff has more than enough power to shatter McSweeney’s title aspirations, and that questionable chin. This one ends in a knockout within the first frame as the Aussie heavyweight adds another significant name to his list of victims. MW: Leandro Ataides (6-0) vs. Tatsuya Mizuno (12-9) Middleweight Leandro Ataides has remained perfect through six fights, but now he has to contend with Japanese veteran Tatsuya Mizuno. Mizuno is anything but a picture of consistency. The 32-year-old has seen the confines of Pancrase, Dream, M-1 Challenge, ProElite, Glory World Series and ONE FC, but his 21-fight record stands only three wins above the .500 mark. However, he’s a tough competitor who has finished his opponent on 11 occasions and has faced the likes of Thiago Silva, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Melvin Manhoef, Gegard Mousasi, Sergei Kharitonov and Renato “Babalu” Sobral during his extensive career. He managed to beat Manhoef, as well as Ilir Latifi and Trevor Prangley. Ataides’ opponents, on the other hand, hold a combined record of 35-35, and half of his victims have never won a pro bout. The Brazilian Ataides has a chance to separate himself from the pack in this fight. Mizuno is a grizzled veteran, but he’s also a gatekeeper whose losses tend to come against high-level foes. Mizuno will make this a tough fight for Ataides. The Japanese fighter has a solid clinch game and respectable wrestling and grappling. Although it’s often overlooked, he’s also a third degree black belt in judo. Ataides, meanwhile, is a decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt with demonstrated knockout power. Despite the striking prowess Ataides has displayed in some of his fights, he might not want to stand with Mizuno. However, he might also find himself struggling to put the Dream veteran on the mat. Mizuno can be a tough fight for anyone, and the Brazilian probably isn’t ready for that type of challenge yet. Mizuno’s clinch work will allow him to set up a TKO finish. FW: Yusuke Kawanago (13-3-2) vs. Rob Lisita (13-5) Featherweight prospect Rob Lisita finally gets to compete on an international stage, but that’s not the only opportunity he’ll enjoy at ONE FC 15. Lisita also has the chance to avenge his most recent loss when he engages in a rematch against Yusuke Kawanago. The two men met under the Legend FC banner in 2012, and it was the Japanese fighter who topped his Australian counterpart on that occasion. “Bancho” was able to land strikes with more accuracy and timed his flying knees to counter Lisita’s takedown attempts. The verdict came on the scorecards, something with which Kawanago is all too familiar. The Pancrase veteran has notched eight wins, suffered two losses and fought to two draws on the scorecards. His striking accounts for four of his remaining wins, and he has only scored one submission finish. He has only been stopped once, by submission. The 31-year-old entered into MMA as a 20-year-old with no previous combat sports experience, but he has fared well since his 2004 pro debut. He’s not easy to beat—even his two decision losses divided the judges. Kawanago has only fought once since his bout against Lisita, and the result was a draw. Whereas Kawanago tends to be a grinder, Lisita is a finisher. He has seen three decision losses and notched three decision wins, but he also has seven submission victories and three wins via strikes. Lisita has suffered three losses since 2010, but one came against Kawanago in a title tilt and the other two came against fighters who went on to compete in the UFC Octagon. The submission specialist has posted his most impressive victories in his current three-fight winning streak. First, he topped Dream veteran Rodolfo Marques Diniz by way of a second round TKO. Then, in his most recent outing, he became the first fighter to ever finish former Shooto lightweight champion Takeshi “Lion” Inoue when he locked on a bulldog choke in the second round. Lisita’s current run is impressive, but he struggled to overcome Kawanago the last time the pair met. He’ll have to find a way to score more effectively with takedowns in order to implement his game. Kawanago proved to be the better striker, so the real answer for Lisita has to come on the mat. One thing working in his favor is Kawanago’s recent inactivity. The Japanese fighter did compete in February, but he spent nearly a year and a half away from action between the Lisita fight and his majority draw against Hiroyuki Oshiro, a fighter who now holds a 3-1-2 mark. Lisita has promised to come out aggressively against Kawanago. He has even reportedly added soccer to his training regimen with a strategy of employing soccer kicks if he gets Kawanago to the mat. Lisita needs to be careful, though. Too much aggression could lead to mistakes that cost him the fight. However, his sense of urgency is also a strong asset against a fighter who is content to grind out decision wins. Lisita kept their first fight close, and he’s improved vastly since then. Kawanago is the only man to defeat Lisita at featherweight, and the Australian prospect is certainly out to avenge that loss. Lisita will press the action more in this fight than he did in their first meeting, and he’ll commit to scoring takedowns. Expect the Aussie to be more effective in this encounter, leading to either a submission finish or a close decision on the scorecards. FlyW: Josh Alvarez (12-6) vs. Rey Docyogen (10-2) Through his first 10 fights, flyweight Rey Docyogen was perfect. Then he signed with ONE FC, and the run of success dried up. Now, he’ll look to right the ship against Josh Alvarez. The 31-year-old Docyogen is a member of Team Lakay, a very successful camp out of the Philippines that has seen its members tested under the ONE FC banner. After winning his first 10 fights, including four by submission and four via strikes, Docyogen entered ONE FC with a losing effort against the world’s former top flyweight, Shinichi “BJ” Kojima. He followed that disappointing performance with another loss, this time by way of split decision against UFC veteran Yasuhiro Urushitani. Docyogen is small, even for a flyweight, and previously competed as a strawweight. Alvarez hails from Guam. The PXC veteran has competed as a bantamweight in the past, but he is dropping to 125 pounds for this fight. His strength lies in his submission game, which has led him to nine of his victories. Alvarez made his pro debut in 2008 and remained perfect through his first five fights. He then hit a rough patch in which he went an ugly 2-5. He has since rebounded with five wins in six outings, though he is coming off a loss to Koetsu Okazaki in his ONE FC debut. Alvarez has been training at MMA Lab in Arizona in preparation for his flyweight debut. Docyogen really would benefit from a move back to the strawweight division. He faces a serious size disadvantage that only adds to the struggles he faces against the world’s best flyweights. Alvarez isn’t exactly up there with Urushitani and Kojima, but his wrestling, especially with his recent camp at MMA Lab, will certainly give Docyogen some major headaches. Docyogen needs to stay outside and use leg kicks to chop away at Alvarez. If Alvarez is able to shoot in, size alone should be a significant contributing factor to his success rate with takedowns. He should be able to bully Docyogen to the mat throughout this fight. Docyogen faced a size disadvantage against Kojima, and the end result was a submission loss. Alvarez is certainly capable of following suit. Alvarez should be able to sink in a submission for the win by the midway point of the fight. LW: Kotetsu Boku (21-9-2) vs. Eduard Folayang (13-4) Lightweights Kotetsu Boku and Eduard Folayang haven’t been the most consistent fighters in their recent fights. Now, both men seek to put together a winning streak at the expense of the other. Boku is a well-traveled veteran who has made stops in Shooto, Dream and King of the Cage. In the ONE FC cage, he has captured the lightweight championship and posted a 2-2 mark. Boku became the inaugural ONE FC lightweight champ with a TKO victory over Zorobabel Moreira, but he promptly lost the title in his first defense against Shinya Aoki. Boku is a kickboxer with eight wins via some form of knockout, one submission win and 12 nods on the judges’ scorecards. His losses have come either via submission or decision. The Krazy Bee product is just 3-3 over his last six fights. Folayang is one of the most successful members of Team Lakay, but the Filipino fighter has fallen on hard times. He is 2-3 over his last five fights and 3-2 under the ONE FC banner. The 29-year-old is a highly decorated wushu practitioner. He has five wins via strikes, two by way of submission and six victories via decision. His losses have come by way of decision or some form of knockout. Folayang was the fighter originally announced as Moreira’s opponent for the inaugural ONE FC crown, so this fight with Boku, the man who eventually replaced him in that fight, holds extra meaning. Both men are seeking to stay relevant to the title picture with a convincing win. Boku is quicker on his feet and sports the better chin. He also has experience on his side. His lateral movement and constant feints will make him look like the more active fighter in this contest, but he tends to fight from range, bouncing in and out while often missing his target. Folayang, meanwhile, is more content to sit back and wait for counters. He throws with more power than Boku, but either man is capable of scoring a knockout if they landed a clean punch. It’s doubtful that Folayang will score a knockout against Boku. What’s more likely is that this fight ends on the scorecards, where the Filipino fighter’s counter striking and power give him the edge in front of a crowd in his homeland. Folayang will take a close verdict. BW Championship: Bibiano Fernandes (15-3) vs. Masakatsu Ueda (18-2-2) Bibiano Fernandes seeks to further his claim as the best bantamweight outside of the UFC when he puts his ONE FC title on the line against Masakatsu Ueda. Fernandes, a highly decorated grappler, captured the ONE FC strap with a unanimous decision victory over Koetsu Okazaki and unified the championship when he claimed a unanimous verdict over Soo-Chul Kim. “The Flash” is now riding a seven-fight winning streak and sits at 14-1 through his last 15 outings dating back to 2008. The AMC Pankration fighter is a beast on the mat, but he has developed a strong striking game to complement his ground skills. Fernandes’ first career loss came via a doctor’s stoppage TKO against Urijah Faber. His other losses came on the scorecards to Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto and Hiroyuki Takaya. The former Dream featherweight and bantamweight champ has notched wins over the likes of Takaya, Joe Warren, Joachim Hansen, Antonio Banuelos and Yoshiro Maeda. Ueda is a grinding wrestler who will surrender the striking and grappling edge to Fernandes, while holding the advantage in the wrestling department. Ueda has just two losses on a resume that dates back to 2005, but one of those losses was a submission defeat. Ueda holds wins over the likes of Eduardo Dantas, Rumina Sato, Royler Gracie, Kyoji Horiguchi, Jens Pulver and Kevin Belingon. The 36-year-old native of Japan has gone the distance in 15 of his 22 outings. Ueda has the wrestling to give almost any opponent a headache, but Fernandes is a fight on a completely different level. He can pick opponents apart on the feet and he’s deadly on the mat. He’s certainly at his best while on top, but he could attack Ueda from the bottom if Ueda is able to score takedowns, which is a big question mark. Ueda is a good fighter who will give Fernandes a tough test, but the Brazilian should still emerge as the victor. The fight will go the distance, as both men have been prone to do more often than not. Fernandes will use his speed to avoid takedowns and his superior grappling to threaten Ueda when the fight does hit the mat. It’ll be enough to give him the judges’ nod. Quick Picks FlyW: Gianni Subba (3-0) vs. Eugene Toquero (4-1) Flyweight Gianni Subba puts his unblemished record on the line against once-defeated Eugene Toquero. Toquero’s loss is nothing for him to be ashamed of. The PXC veteran put up a valiant effort in his ONE FC debut, which ended in a unanimous decision loss to Geje Eustaquio. Prior to the loss, Toquero had four victories by way of some form of knockout. All of Subba’s fights have come under the ONE FC banner. He has notched a submission, a TKO finish and a soccer-kick knockout. This has the potential to be a highlight among the evening’s offerings. Both men tend to end fights in the first round, and they often do so with their fists. Subba, a Phuket Top Team product, has a lot of hype and momentum, but Toquero is a huge threat to bring an end to his undefeated run. This clash could go either way, but the 21-year-old Subba has more routes to victory and the better fight camp behind him. Subba scores a late TKO in a “Fight of the Night” candidate. Women’s FlyW: Ana Julaton (0-0) vs. Aya Saeid Saber (2-3) Active boxer Ana Julaton makes her professional MMA debut against Egyptian kickboxing champion Aya Saeid Saber. Julaton is a highly decorated boxer who has held the WBO and IBA super bantamweight crowns. She is 13-4-1 as a boxer, but she has only scored two knockout wins. The 23-year-old Saber won her pro MMA debut, but went on to lose three straight, including a bout against Strikeforce veteran Colleen Schneider. She bounced back in her most recent outing with a win over Aya Rashdan in late March. Saber is an experienced mixed martial artist with one submission win under her belt, but Julaton has seen a lot of success as a boxer. Julaton’s striking skills will serve her well as she outboxes Saber en route to a unanimous decision victory. MW: Aung La N Sang (14-9) vs. Mahmoud Salama (4-4) Middleweight Aung La N Sang holds a significant experience advantage over his opponent, Mahmoud Salama, but each man has displayed a weakness that the other is equipped to exploit. Sang, who hails from Myanmar and is a member of the indigenous people known as the Kachin, is a grappler who has suffered four of his losses via strikes. Salama is a native of Egypt who has never lost in his homeland and never won outside of Egypt. The eight-fight veteran is a striker who has lost by way of submission on three occasions. Sang’s experience is a huge asset. He has fought all around the world, including appearances in the Bellator and Ring of Combat promotions. Salama has fared well at home, but he has a terrible track record when traveling abroad. Sang will take advantage of the holes in Salama’s submission defense and coax a tapout from his Egyptian opponent. Women’s AtomW: Jujeath Nagaowa (0-0) vs. Jeet Toshi (2-1) Jujeath Nagaowa makes her professional MMA debut after a boxing career that netted her the WBC Asia atomweight belt. She might be a former boxing champ, but her overall boxing record sits below the .500 mark at 12-13-1. Jeet Toshi is a multiple-time kickboxing champion who trains out of Team Angel of Death. She was submitted in her previous ONE FC appearance, but notched victories in her other two outings. Toshi’s kickboxing successes and her one submission victory mean a lot heading into a fight against a boxer making her MMA debut. Both ladies may be strikers by nature, but Nagaowa has enough power to discourage the more well-rounded Toshi from engaging in a striking battle. Toshi will seek the takedown and set up a submission finish for the win.