ONE Championship: Eddie Alvarez sees similarities between Manila and Philadelphia
Santino Honasan on Mar 29, 2019 10:54 AM
"Crazy fans, excited, jumping up and down, that’s what I hear about the fans in Manila, they have a love and a passion for fighting. When you fight in Philadelphia, it’s the same thing."
Former UFC and Bellator Lightweight World Champion Eddie "The Underground King" Alvarez will finally be making his long-awaited ONE Championship debut at ONE: A New Era in Tokyo, Japan on March 31st.
The 35-year old Alvarez signed with ONE Championship back in late 2018, meaning that from here on out, the Philadelphia native will be competing mainly in Asia.
If all the stars align, Alvarez could very well be on a collision course with Filipino mixed martial arts icon and reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang.
Of course, Alvarez would need to emerge victorious in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix, and Folayang will have to defend his title against Shinya Aoki, also at ONE: A New Era, before the two would cross paths.
Looking forward however, a potential Folayang versus Alvarez world title bout could be on the horizon, and it could take place in Manila, one of the biggest MMA markets in Asia.
Alvarez, in fact, has already heard of just how passionate Filipino fans are when it comes to MMA, and from what he's been told, it's a lot like fighting at home.
"What I hear about Manila, it sounds a lot like Philadelphia when you’re fighting in Philadelphia," Alvarez said. "Crazy fans, excited, jumping up and down, that’s what I hear about the fans in Manila, they have a love and a passion for fighting. When you fight in Philadelphia, it’s the same thing."
For the last couple of years, the Philippines has been a regular stop on the ONE Championship calendar, alongside countries like Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia.
As for competing in Asia in general, Alvarez says that the biggest difference, apart from the very knowledgeable fans, is the culture. Alvarez has competed in Japan before as part of a tournament, concidentally enough, in Saitama back in 2008.
"The biggest difference, I think, there’s a Samurai code, and the fans itself, they understand fighting a bit more, it’s a bit deeper than just winning or losing, it’s a bit deeper than that," Alvarez explained. "It's in the core belief of the culture, to not just be a fighter inside the cage, but everywhere. Act like a fighter, behave like a fighter everywhere."
"Martial arts, it’s a big part of the culture, and it lends itself for everyone to be very knowledgable," he added.
Catch ONE: A New Era on Sunday, March 31st, LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD channel 166, and livestreaming on https://sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/one, the ABS-CBN Sports Facebook Page, and on the iWant App!