By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
FILIPINO fighters Stephen Loman and Jenel Lausa are now with new mixed martial arts (MMA) companies and should do well in them, said a local combat sports analyst.
Mr. Loman (14-2) recently signed with ONE Championship after four years with Bahrain-based Brave Combat Federation (CF) where he was an undefeated bantamweight champion. Mr. Lausa (7-5), meanwhile, is now with Brave after parlaying his wares in the Ultimate Fighting Championship for two years until 2018 and previous to that in Pacific X-treme Combat (PXC).
Both men cited taking on new challenges and a chance to further their MMA game as reasons for their decision to partner with their new “homes.”
For combat sports analyst Nissi Icasiano, given the reasons they have and the places they landed at, Messrs. Loman and Lausa did well in their decisions.
“Most see it (decision) as a ‘win some, lose some’ scenario. But it’s more of making the most out of the opportunity. The landscape of MMA today has become an even playing field. You got the UFC in the West, along with PFL (Professional Fighters League) and Bellator. In the East, you got ONE Championship. In the Middle, Brave CF is carrying the load to bring the sport of MMA to greater heights in their territory. So it’s actually a win-win situation, especially for Philippine MMA,” said Mr. Icasiano in an interview with BusinessWorld.
“I don’t have doubts that these two will perform to the best of their abilities in their respective promotions. Both men are former champions and have achieved the pinnacle of success. Loman was a top guy of Brave CF for a long time. Jenel was a flyweight champion in PXC and made it to the UFC. If they do flourish in their new homes, it just goes to show the quality of competition that they went through in order to be at the top of their game,” he added.
“The Sniper” Loman, fighting out of Baguio’s Team Lakay, is set to make his ONE Championship debut next month against top-ranked bantamweight fighter and former UFC campaigner John “Hands of Stone” Lineker.
It is a very challenging debut fight, said Mr. Icasiano, but can pay huge dividends for Mr. Loman if he emerges on top.
“It’s definitely a high-risk, high-reward kind of fight for Loman. He is facing one of the hardest hitters in the sport and one of the best bantamweights today. If he wins, I truly believe a contract for a title shot will be waiting in his dressing room,” said Mr. Icasiano.
The Loman-Lineker fight is part of “ONE on TNT IV” on April 28 which will air on prime-time television in the United States.
“The Demolition Man” Lausa, for his part, is to make his Brave debut this week at “Brave CF 47: Asian Domination” on March 11 in Bahrain where he will face Afghan Rahmatullah Yousufzai.
Apart from his first fight in Brave, the contest also marks the return to MMA of Mr. Lausa after three years away from action.
“Jenel is best suited for mixed martial arts, and I truly believe that he made the right decision to return to the sport after nearly three years of exclusively competing in boxing. He is pitted against a hungry upstart from Afghanistan. It’s an ideal matchup for Jenel in order to gauge where he is at right now in his MMA game,” Mr. Icasiano said.