Former UFC champions Andrei Arlovski and Jens Pulver are the latest additions to the card for ONE FC: Pride of a Nation. Scheduled for August 31 in Manila it is set to be the most impressive offering yet from the most prestigious MMA organization in Asia.
ONE FC’s first event last September was called ‘Champion vs Champion’ and the organization has continued to pursue a policy of stacking its cards with as many champions as possible. The next event, which is taking place at the Arenata Coliseum is set to include two DREAM champs, three URCC title-holders, two former UFC divisional kings, one former Strikeforce champion, one former IFC champion and one former Shooto title holder.
It is taking place in the same venue that Ali fought Frazier in 1975 and is expected to attract a record breaking crowd with ONE FC confidently predicting that its fifth show will be a 16,500 sell out, which would make it the biggest the promotion had ever put on.
There should be plenty of local talent on display in Eduard Folayang (11-2), Kevin Belingon (9-1) and Eric Kelly (7-0). While Filipino fans are prepared to get behind foreign born fighters who have roots in the Philippines they do not get the same level of support as they would if they had been born and bred there and these three homegrown fighters should get a heroes welcome.
It is a country where awareness of MMA is already high and the inclusion of so many world renowned fighters should create plenty of interest. Renato Sobral returns after headlining the last ONE FC event and is expected to face Melvin Manhoef while DREAM champions Bibiano Fernandes and Shinya Aoki will be making their debuts.
Arlovski was once the UFC heavyweight champion and one of the most dominant fighters in the entire sport and the only man to ever stop Roy Nelson. Despite all he has achieved he is still only 33 years old and has won his last two fights via stoppage with the most recent win coming with a head kick KO in the last second of the last round.
Pulver was the first ever UFC lightweight champion and has beaten the likes of of BJ Penn, Dennis Hallman and Caol Uno. He is also a PRIDE and WEC veteran. In recent years he has been competing at anything from 125 lbs to 145 lbs and is expected to face one of the Filipino fighters.
Also in action will be journeyman Phil Baroni and no fewer than three Gracies; Gregor Gracie, Rolles Gracie and Igor Gracie. A press conference is scheduled for July 18th and more details of the match-ups are likely to be announced then.
PHOTO CREDIT – PROELITE