Witnessing his Team Lakay teammate Jeremy Pacatiw successful in his ONE Championship debut only served to motivate rising star Jhanlo Mark Sangiao even more. The 19-year-old mixed martial arts upstart is raring to step inside the Circle and show fans what he can do.
“After (Jeremy’s) fight, I definitely could say that I got more inspired to train more and more. It also added to my excitement to finally compete in the ONE Circle," he said.
Sangiao has a close relationship with Pacatiw, and the two are frequent sparring partners for each other’s training camps. The two Team Lakay stalwarts joined the world’s largest martial arts organization at the same time earlier this year.
However, only Pacatiw has had the chance to step inside the Circle so far, having made a successful debut last month at ONE: BATTLEGROUND with a unanimous decision win over “The Ghost” Chen Rui. Sangiao is still waiting for his opportunity.
Nevertheless, Sangiao was happy with Pacatiw’s performance and the subsequent victory.
"I'm extra proud of him as his brother and his teammate. Training with Jeremy is fun because he doesn’t only train with you but he also teaches the small details of the techniques he uses. He’s the guy that doesn’t only want to learn the skill but also wants to master it, and following his lead really is huge for my personal development," Sangiao stated.
"So to see him win his first match at ONE Championship, it was very inspiring for me. His win only activated more of my desire to compete, to see my name on the fight card of ONE Championship which I hope will be in the very near future."
Another Team Lakay fighter also recently left a striking impression at the Home of Martial Arts. 24-year-old Jenelyn Olsim has delighted fans with two great performances against top talents Maira Mazar and Bi Nguyen over the past couple of months, winning both fights impressively.
Sangiao has nothing but praises for his talented female teammate.
“Jenelyn was amazing in her two fights for ONE so far. She is also another very inspiring athlete. These victories for my teammates only help give me more confidence,” Sangiao said.
“Before, we were only known as strikers who came from the mountains. But now, things have changed. We are consistently trying our best to improve our grappling game and wrestling moves so that we have all the weapons when we go to the battlefield. That was really our goal, us new breeds of Team Lakay, that we all want to be well-rounded and complete athletes."
While fans eagerly await the ONE debut of “The Machine,” for his part, Sangiao is working extra hard so he can continue Team Lakay’s winning tradition on the global stage.
Honing his skills under his father Mark Sangiao, who is also head coach and founder of Team Lakay, Sangiao is making sure the tools are sharpened and ready for war, whenever that call comes.
“I'm working on every facet of my game. I train everyday, not because I have to but I love doing it and I enjoy it, it's a lifestyle. This keeps my motivation high, whether my debut fight is close or still far. I cannot just spot-train, like only striking or only grounds or wrestling. Every athlete here is dangerous and when I face them, I will have to be well-equipped,” Sangiao said.
And just like Pacatiw and Olsim before him, Sangiao is also raring to display the capabilities of their faction’s new generation, as he seeks to live up to the reputation that precedes him, and ultimately prove through action that the future is truly bright for Filipino mixed martial arts.
"You can only expect that a more improved Team Lakay breed is coming. We're all hungry and I, for one, am a hungry warrior, one who is sharpening his skills to deliver a good fight and here to entertain the fans," Sangiao said.