ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong recently lauded Team Lakay as the best team in Asia today. Honorio “The Rock” Banario and Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly of the team based in La Trinidad, Benguet shared their thoughts on the recognition.
“Team Lakay is now the #1 fight team in Asia today. Despite a very modest budget and limited resources, Mark Sangiao has produced one of the best fight teams in the world,” Sityodtong wrote in a Facebook post. “Every fighter on Team Lakay is a genuine monster with outstanding skills, unlimited cardio, and extraordinary gameness. Also, equally important, all of their fighters are constantly improving and upgrading their skills.”
For Banario, being recognized as the top team in Asia today is not a reason to rest on their laurels. The former ONE Featherweight World Champion knows that while they are enjoying success now, the grind does not stop there.
“We’re happy about what Boss Chatri said,” Banario stated. “But for us, we don’t think about it too much. We just focus on improving and we want to keep improving as we move forward.”
The Team Lakay mixed martial artists consider such praise from ONE Championship’s head honcho a source of great pride and motivation. Kelly said, “Hearing that from the boss, of course, that makes us all very proud.”
“More than that, it makes us want to prove ourselves even more in our fights,” Kelly added. “We’re very thankful that Sir Chatri appreciates what we are doing here.”
Banario and Kelly are set to represent Team Lakay at “ONE: Beyond the Horizon” at the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai, China. Their respective opponents are both from Evolve MMA, a Singapore-based MMA gym considered to be the best in Asia.
Kelly will compete against Christian “The Warrior” Lee in the featherweight division. In the co-main event, Banario and Amir Khan will battle it out in the lightweight division.
“I know that everyone in Evolve MMA is also doing what they need to do to win,” Banario noted. “So for us, we also need to keep improving every day in training so that we improve in the fight.”
Sityodtong’s praise of Team Lakay is also serving as motivation for Khan. The Singaporean star hopes to be able to put an end to the Filipino stable’s hot streak and he gets the chance to do that against Banario.
“I am certainly motivated to go up against a great team like Team Lakay,” Khan said. “They are on a winning streak but hopefully I’ll be the one to put the brakes on their streak. Many of my teammates at Evolve MMA are world champions and we intend to overtake them come 2019.”
Lee shares that he has nothing but respect for Team Lakay. But for him, once the cage door closes, it is just him and his opponent.
“Team Lakay is a great fight team but when we step into that ring it will be me and Edward Kelly, no one else,” Lee declared. “It doesn’t make a difference to me what team any of my opponents are coming from.”
Meanwhile, here is a clip from one of Kelly’s previous ONE Championship bouts: