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4 Of Team Lakay And Evolve MMA's Finest Finishes

August 19, 2018

On Saturday, 8 September, athletes from two of Southeast Asia’s best gyms will square off in a pair of contests at ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON.

Team Lakay lightweight Honorio “The Rock” Banario and the squad’s featherweight representative Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly will face Evolve MMA’s Amir Khan and Christian “The Warrior” Lee, respectively.

In recent years, Team Lakay has emerged as one of the most talked about gyms on the planet.

The camp, led by Mark Sangiao, has produced elite martial artists from their humble gym in Baguio City, Philippines, and produced four ONE World Champions in the past five years — including undisputed flyweight king Geje Eustaquio in June, and interim bantamweight titleholder Kevin Belingon in July.

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Posted by Chatri Sityodtong on Sunday, July 29, 2018

ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong even called Team Lakay “the #1 fight team in Asia today.”

That is high praise from Sityodtong, but the Filipino troupe could be overtaken by another regional powerhouse at ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON.

The Singapore-based Evolve MMA boasts several Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and wrestling World Champions in their camp. Also, the mega gym has the likes of reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee on their competition team.

Although these two teams have crossed paths a few times in the past, the friendly rivalry will be renewed in just a few weeks at the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai, China. Here are just four of the most outstanding finishes from both teams’ members competing on the card.

Lee Tames “The Werewolf”

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In April 2017, at ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY in Manila, Philippines, Christian “The Warrior” Lee wanted to make a statement when he stepped into the cage with “The Werewolf” Wan Jian Ping.

Lee, then just a teenager, exercised patience early into the contest, but still managed to impose his will from start to finish.

The end came towards the latter part of the opening round, when he brought the Chinese featherweight to the ground with a huge body lock takedown.

From there, Lee cleverly transitioned to side control, and then bludgeoned Wan with elbows and punches. The damage continued to accumulate, and the referee was forced to stop the contest with only ten seconds remaining in the first stanza.

It was another devastating first-round TKO for the Evolve MMA standout, which set him on the path towards a ONE Featherweight World Title shot.

Kelly Makes “The Silencer” Quit

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Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly had a rough start to his tenure in ONE Championship.

After falling in his first two promotional outings, he was motivated to deliver a solid performance against Jimmy “The Silencer” Yabo at ONE: VALOR OF CHAMPIONS in April 2015, and avoid a potential three-bout skid.

Following a striking battle to kick off the featherweight contest, Kelly locked up his fellow compatriot against the cage, and looked for the takedown.

When he finally landed a nice inside trip to bring the action to the mat, Yabo attempted an escape to get back to his feet.

Unfortunately, that allowed the Team Lakay veteran to quickly latch onto his back, grab a hook around his body, and secure a standing rear-naked choke. “The Silencer” attempted to shake free, but Kelly did not let go of the hold until he got the tap.

Not only did Kelly get his first promotional win, but he did so in style.

Khan’s Two-Strike KO

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Amir Khan has long been considered a future title contender in the lightweight division, and his breakthrough performance against the Czech Republic’s Jaroslav Jartim at ONE CHAMPIONSHIP: SHANGHAI served as a perfect example.

Entering the match-up on a four-bout win streak, the Evolve MMA representative was not only looking for a fifth consecutive victory, but also his fifth straight finish, after earning three knockouts and a submission in his previous bouts.

The Singaporean leaned on his grappling prowess early into the first round, but as the match wore on, he soon operated from the southpaw stance, and found some holes in Jartim’s stand-up game.

With just over a minute remaining in the first, Khan unleashed a left roundhouse to the head, which put the Czech on wobbly legs. A split second later, he threw a crushing right hand that folded Jartim in half.

The referee quickly stopped the contest at 3:46 into round one, giving the Evolve MMA product his fifth consecutive stoppage victory.

Banario’s Slick Armbar

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Following a treacherous five-bout skid, former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario recreated himself as a lightweight in April 2016, and experienced a startling career resurgence.

The Team Lakay stalwart got a pair of hard-earned victories against Vaughn Donayre and Eddie Ng, but had a breakout moment later that December against multiple-time Indian wushu, kickboxing, and boxing champion Rajinder Singh Meena at ONE: AGE OF DOMINATION.

Although Banario is known as a wushu stylist, he heavily displayed his improved grappling acumen. He ducked a Singh punch, and planted him with a smooth double-leg takedown. Then, he was methodical with his ground attack.

From side control, “The Rock” systematically advanced his position. He trapped the Indian’s arm in a crucifix, softened him up with punches and elbows, and then went for a kimura. When that failed, he quickly transitioned into the straight armbar, which forced the tap with under a minute remaining in round one.

Banario has yet to taste defeat at lightweight, and hopes to keep it that way in Shanghai.

Shanghai | 8 September | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast