As the former ONE Featherweight World Champion, Honorio “The Rock” Banario knows what it feels like to be at the top of the world. Upon losing his title and hitting a five-fight skid, he also knows what it feels like to tumble right back down.
The only way to recover from such a setback is through hard work and perseverance, and Banario has been putting in the time and effort. When he returns to the cage at ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY, live from the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines, he knows he has put in the hours behind the scenes.
Standing across from the Czech Republic’s Jaroslav Jartim, he will have the confidence of a man that is well prepared, and one with momentum behind him.
After going without a win from 2013 to 2015, the Team Lakay veteran needed a change of scenery, and moved up to lightweight. Since the move, he has a three-fight win streak under his belt, and has put the losses behind him by plowing through some quality opposition.
“The Rock” scored back-to-back decision victories over Vaughn Donayre and Eddie Ng, and then finished India’s Rajinder Singh Meena with a first-round armbar back in December.
Banario has another tough encounter this Friday evening on 21 April, but he feels that the change in opponent has worked in his favor.
“I have seen fights with Jartim. He is well-rounded. His skills are good, but not as good as Rob Lisita’s,“ the 27-year-old Filipino offers, who was originally preparing for a bout with the Australian slugger until Lisita was forced to withdraw. "I am better in all aspects of the game, especially striking and wrestling. Also, the strength I have is another advantage over my opponent.”
Jartim is no walkover, however. The Czech brings an 8-5-1 record to Manila, with three of his victories coming by TKO, and another three by submission. Like Banario, he has also won his last three bouts, including his most recent one in Slovakia nearly two weeks ago, so he is brimming with confidence.
Nonetheless, Banario is competing in his home country, and is convinced he will have no problems with Jartim come fight night.
“I will finish him with a stoppage or submission,” he asserts.
Although nobody should ever take an opponent lightly, the mood in the Team Lakay camp for this event is at an all-time high, with his teammates all preparing together for some tantalizing match-ups on the same card.
Eduard Folayang will defend the ONE Lightweight World Championship for the first time, competing alongside Kevin Belingon, Danny Kingad, and Gina Iniong. Add thousands of passionate Filipino MMA fans at the Mall Of Asia Arena into the mix, and surely the recipe for success is there.
Banario is well within his rights to be as spirited as ever, and he will be hoping the performance shows just that.