Fighters set for PH's biggest MMA event
Muscles, testosterone, and a pumped crowd.
This is the scene outside Smart-Araneta Coliseum a day before the Philippine's biggest Mixed Martial Arts event in history, "Pride of A Nation."
The fighters face-off for the first time during the mandatory weigh-ins, to make sure each one is the right weight… they all qualify.
Australia's Gustavo Falciroli will see Bibiano Fernandes for the main event.
GUSTAVO FALCIROLI, CFC AUSTRALIA BANTAMWEIGHT CHAMPION: I don't expect anything from him, I don't expect any holes, he's a complete fighter just like I am. We're there for business so I'm concerned about my performance. As long as I have a good performance that's what matters.
BIBIANO FERNANDES, DREAM BANTAMWEIGHT CHAMPION: I feel ready to go. I'm excited for the fight tomorrow. I'm happy to be in Manila, I love Manila.
Crowd favorites Phil Baroni of the US, Brazil's Gracie brothers, and the Philippines' Eric Kelly get loud cheers…
…while heavyweight fighters Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski put on a show for the fans in an intense face-off.
Eduard Folayang, dubbed MMA's Manny Pacquiao, also excites diehards.
The Baguio-born wushu expert faces Japan's Felipe Enomoto.
Folayang pledges to bring pride to the Philippines and says fighting for the country is a great feeling.
EDUARD FOLAYANG, URCC WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION: I'm always happy representing my country. I represent our country for 11 years in wushu and I'm so happy. Iba kasi young feeling na tinataas and bandera ng Pilpinas, humhinto and mga tao and your national anthem is being sang.
MMA is widely considered the world's fastest growing sport.
It uses the best techniques from martial arts like karate, muay thai, judo and others so fighters can compete standing up or on the ground.
The event's organizers expect the sport to continue expanding in Asia, especially the Philippines… because of the Filipinos' built and athletic ability.
VICTOR CUI, CEO OF ONE FC: The essence of MMA is an all-around athlete. Somebody that is agile, flexible, years of discipline and trained in several martial arts and a lot of Filipinos have that. They naturally cross-train.
16,000 fans are expected to watch the event live, broadcast to 500 million people in 28 different countries.
In the hearts of Filipinos, boxing may soon have competition.
Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler, Manila. - Rappler.com