Success is infectious, and lately, it seems to follow Team Lakay everywhere they go.
The Philippines’ most beloved martial arts camp are a few weeks removed from their fantastic showing at the recent ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY card, where all five of the team’s warriors achieved victory. Now, it is Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio’s turn to ride that wave of momentum.
Eustaquio is preparing for a rematch against Thailand’s Anatpong “Mak” Bunrad at ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES on Friday Night, 26 May, and he will be feeding off the success of his teammates as he focuses on his to return to the cage in Singapore.
In 2015, the pair battled to a decision after 15 minutes of action. The judges were split, however – two of them sided with the Thai, and “Gravity” was forced to leave with the loss despite such a close battle.
Plenty has changed in two years, though. The 28-year-old Filipino, along with his team, have shown vast improvements in grappling and overall strategy since that fateful April night. That is the reason he feels so confident ahead of the second clash.
“Anatpong is a striker, he does not want to engage on the ground. My advantage is in speed. I move better and faster than him. I am constantly getting better,” Eustaquio explains. “We are going to have fireworks, and it will be a striking match.”
Since their first bout, the Baguio City-based Igorot warrior posted back-to-back victories in 2016 and moved up a weight class. However, that streak was snapped by former ONE bantamweight title challenger, Toni “Dynamite” Tauru, later that December at ONE: AGE OF DOMINATION.
Obviously it was a setback, but it was a contest that promoted a move back down to ONE Championship’s flyweight division. Sometimes, what a martial artist can take from defeat could be crucial in redefining their career moving forward.
Lighter and sharper, it should help to accentuate the speed advantage he believes he holds over Phuket Top Team’s Bunrad. This will no doubt feed into the game plan he is formulating, along with Team Lakay’s mastermind, Mark Sangiao.
Again, if the recent performances for the other Lakay athletes are anything to go by, it should be effective. “I have a well-planned strategy,” Eustaquio offers.
The warriors from Team Lakay have now turned into a group focused on capturing those dazzling ONE title belts. Inspired by Eduard Folayang, who won his ONE Lightweight World Championship with a win over MMA legend Shinya Aoki, great performances from the likes of Kevin Belingon and Gina Iniong have seen them itching for their own title shots in their respective divisions.
It turns out that the hunger is rife throughout the whole gym, and Eustaquio is not any different. At ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES on Friday Night, 26 May, he has the chance to exact revenge in the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and place himself firmly on the radar of ONE Flyweight World Champion Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov.
“I want this win,” he says. “I want to have a remarkable winning result, and then I want to move forward to that flyweight belt.”