Muay Thai athlete Lee Ariel Lampacan is one of the favorites among the 16 aspirants for a slot in the biggest mixed martial arts stage and a contract worth PhP5.6 million. Lampacan has started his quest for the lone slot in the world’s biggest MMA stage in the ONE Warrior Series: Philippines that held its Baguio
and Benguet stages recently. Lampacan has won medals in the last two SEAG stagings under the Philippine team and Team Bagsik under coach Billy Alumno.
Lampacan has also an impressive MMA standing with four victories in five fights. All his wins came via
stoppage. The Benguet based fighter – home of the fabled Team Lakay – started martial arts at 14. A year later, in the 2013 Batang Pinoy, Lampacan was hailed as the best junior Muay Thai practitioner. That caught the attention of Alumno and the Muay Association of the Philippines and took him in as part of the
national team and has since then represented the Philippines in various international tournaments.
If he wins, Lampacan will get to don the Team Lakay signature bright red trunks in the Singapore-based
organization. “Of course, we should have one from our community,” said Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao. Another favorite is Ernesto Montilla, Jr., 30, who has become one of the most exciting and brightest Filipino flyweights to watch due to his aggressive striking approach and no-frills wrestling
Montilla’s first fought with the now defunct Pacific Xtreme Combat, a regional MMA production that held events in Guam and the Philippines from 2004 to 2017. Montilla went 4-4 (winloss) in the PXC and had
remarkable wins over the likes of Jenel Lausa and the late Ale Cali. He even vied for the vacant flyweight championship in November 2014 but lost to Alvin Cacdac. After his PXC tenure, Montilla joined Alvin Aguilar’s Universal Reality Combat Championship where he quickly amassed five-straight victories
that included his quick work of Jiar Castillo to capture the available flyweight title in September 2018. In April 2019, he booked a shutout win over Team Lakay’s Edilberto Coquia Jr. seven months later.
Several familiar faces in the Philippine MMA are joining Montilla and Lampacan such as Genil Francisco, Norman Agcopra, Ralf “Noy” Francisco, Joevincent So, Raymund “Arjay Bongala” Ortega Jr. and Ariel
Oliveros. The aspirants play under either coach Joshua Pacio, the reigning ONE straw weight champion, or former ONE flyweight king Geje Eustaquio.