AFC’s Fight Farm Series gives amateur Pinoy fighters a shot at the pros

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Amateur MMA hopefuls get a fighting chance to join URCC through Academy Fighting Championship’s Fight Farm Series.

Academy Fighting Championship’s (AFC) advocacy to hone aspiring fighters into world champions has brought them into a formidable partnership with Universal Reality Combat Championship and media giant ABS-CBN.

Last Wednesday in Tomas Morato, Quezon City, AFC officially announced the airing of its Fight Farm Series on the ABS-CBN Sports + Action channel. Taking the spotlight are 16 amateur fighters hailing from different corners of the Philippines. Starting mid-August, the show aims to capture the lives of these hopefuls, their battles inside the cage, and the long journey towards a shot at a URCC professional career.

“This is part of our advocacy. In order to promote the sport, we need to be able to show stories of ordinary people who can compete, show that anyone can be a MMA fighter with hard work, dedication, and discipline,” ABS-CBN Sports + Action channel head Vince Rodriguez said during the press conference.

AFC is the brainchild of Ronald Catunao, the current URCC matchmaker. For the past three years, Catunao has been striving to give amateurs a break in the local fight scene. This huge collaboration catapults his AFC organization into a new level.

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AFC’s Ronald Catunao (middle) and ABS-CBN Sports+Action head Vince Rodriguez with the aspiring fighters of Fight Farm.

“Expect everything from me. What you see is what you get; what you don’t see is better yet. If you’re seeking a fight, you go to my house or to the gym, feel free to find me there,” said Joevincent So, a young fighter from Tough Guys International under the tutelage of URCC fighter Drex Zamboanga.

Aside from So, other fighters are also coming from established fight teams, namely Jiar Castillo of Hitman MMA, Raul Luba of KMA Fabricio, and Jomar Manlangit fighting out of Athletic Lab/Deftac Batangas.

Manlangit, a Muay thai practitioner now training Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, revealed, “Ngayon wala pa ako masyado sa condition nag-aaral ako. Pero babalik ulit ako sa training kanila CJ (de Tomas) para makapag-focus ulit ako ng training sa wrestling, Jiu-jitsu, Muay thai, at boxing para maibalik ko ang dating laro ko.”

[I’m not in the best condition yet because I had studies. But I’m going back to training at CJ de Tomas’ gym so I can focus once again to my wrestling, Jiu-jitsu, Muay thai, at boxing training, so I return to my top game.]

On the other side of the spectrum is Astralle Iglesia, an independent fighter who also teaches Muay thai. He doesn’t see being independent as a disadvantage because he believes his base in striking will be the difference.
“My specialty is Muay thai. Doon ko sila tatalunin sa stand up. Mas confident ako doon na no one can stand with me. Although I also work on my weakness, ang grappling at wrestling.”

[My specialty is Muay thai. I’ll defeat them in the stand up. I’m more confident that no one can stand with me. Although I also work on my weakness which is grappling and wrestling.]

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Here’s the complete list of the 16 fighters and their corresponding match-ups for the elimination round.

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