■ Harley F. Palangchao
Mixed martial arts fighters from Lions Nation MMA secured 11 medals to emerge the overall champion in the no gi category of the recently held ASJJ Dumau Manila Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2023.
Leading the medalists were former ONE Championship champions Kevin Belingon and Joshua Pacio, who both won two gold medal apiece.
Future title contender Jeremy Pa-catiw also won two gold medals in the gi division.
Rising MMA fighter Aaron Posawen clinched a gold medal in gi and a silver in the no gi while Nicholai Joel Amurao won a gold medal in the no gi.
Completing the medalists from Lions Nation MMA was Denver Songaben who won a silver and a bronze in the no gi.
The fighters were guided by coach and former ONE Championship champion Eduard Folayang and Prof. Gibran Langbayan of GL Baguio BJJ, who serves the team’s coach in jiu jitsu.
Lawyer Dante Bagsan, who serves as one of the team’s consultants, expressed elation over the accomplishments of the members.
He said it is the first time that Lions Nation MMA had participated in a national tournament but they displayed how jiu jitsu has evolved in the highlands.
Lions Nation MMA is the mother club of some training centers established by fighters who have departed from Team Lakay last year.