Two up-and-comers relish ONE championship chance
It is not often that a mixed martial artist gets to be included at the same event with the athletes they look up to.
In the case of Rockie Bactol and Jeremy Miado, the chance to strut their wares in front of a worldwide audience together with Brandon Vera and Eduard Folayang is an opportunity of a lifetime.
Vera and Folayang will be the centerpiece of ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS, which takes place at the 20,000-capacity Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines on Friday, 23 November.
Vera defends the coveted ONE Heavyweight World Championship against Mauro “The Hammer” Cerilli in the main event, while Folayang battles Singaporean sensation Amir Khan for the vacant ONE Lightweight World Title in the co-headliner.
Bactol, a ONE Warrior Series alumnus, is scheduled to square off with Japan’s Akihiro Fujisawa on the undercard of the aforementioned event.
The 19-year-old Filipino flyweight prospect caught the attention of fans and experts alike in the finale of the first season of ONE Championship's reality online series.
Bactol submitted compatriot Mark Cuizon by americana in the opening round of his professional mixed martial arts debut last March, earning a multi-bout contract under the ONE Championship banner.
Ever since his first-round submission victory over Cuizon in ONE Warrior Series, Bactol has been waiting for a call from the world's largest martial arts organization for a chance to showcase his talent on a global stage.
"We've been preparing intensively for this bout ever since July. We've just been waiting for a call from ONE Championship, and now I'm here. I feel ready [for the global stage]. I've been competing since I was 14 years. I am ready," he said.
"There is both [pressure and motivation] in being on the same card with Brandon Vera and Eduard Folayang. I never thought I'll come this far," Bactol added.
Meanwhile, Miado is tasked to duke it out with Chinese wrestler Peng Xue Wen on the same blockbuster card.
The 25-year-old Marikina City resident is most remembered for his upset win over former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke at ONE: IRON WILL in Bangkok, Thailand this past March.
After exchanging strikes with the famous Muay Thai world champion, Miado landed a massive right hand that quickly ended the night for Dejdamrong.
Miado aims to deliver another memorable performance on Friday, hoping to make it a clean sweep for Team Philippines.
"Being on the same card with Vera and Folayang adds a bit of pressure along with the honor that comes with it," Miado admitted.
Despite the pressure of sharing the spotlight with Vera and Folayang, Miado draws inspiration from the two of the biggest mixed martial arts stars that the Philippines has to offer.
"They're the two biggest names in Philippine mixed martial arts. It inspires me to deliver a memorable show for the Filipino fans who will be in attendance on Friday," Miado assured.
Also booked for ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS is former featherweight kingpin Honorio “The Rock” Banario, who locks horns with short-notice replacement Rahul Raju of India in a 79-kilogram catchweight contest.