After a forgettable night in Manila for ONE: DAWN OF HEROES, the Philippine flag will now be hinged on the shoulders of two under-the-radar Filipino martial artists.
Gonzales will be taking on “Wolf of the Grasslands” Hexigetu, while Calim will be battling Ryuto “Dragon Boy” Sawada in the preliminaries.
With both athletes coming from victories, the Philippines are certainly well represented in Thailand.
“I’m ready,” Gonzales said as he targets his fourth-straight win at the expense of his Chinese counterpart.
“I know that a win could further push me in the rankings. I’m always excited and humbled to be given another opportunity.”
Like Gonzales, Calim has expressed his readiness for this card as he gears up for his second-straight win in The Home of Martial Arts against Sawada.
The 21-year-old Filipino-Indonesian recently came away with a sensational submission victory over Adi Paryanto at ONE: ETERNAL GLORY to score his first win in the organization.
Calim believes that he has just begun and that this match against the highly-touted ONE Warrior Series graduate is the perfect showcase for him.
“My first two matches were huge, especially my win last January because it only built my confidence that I belong here, and I saw things that I can use particularly this Friday against Sawada,” Calim said.
“But more than that, it helped me as a person. It showed me the things that I need to do in order to reach more in martial arts, to strive more because I’m competing in ONE Championship now.”
The Philippines has always been a proud nation when it comes to mixed martial arts, having produced six World Champions already in ONE Championship.
But with the dark cloud of the last Manila event still looming over the community, victories for Gonzales and Calim are certainly appreciated more than ever.
Rest assured, Gonzales says the country will be well-represented.
“This match is for all those who believe in me,” Gonzales said.
“I’ve never lost focus. I am determined to get that win on Friday.”
Tune in to watch ONE Championship’s next event, ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD, this Friday, 16 August.