February 23, 2024

■  Harley F. Palangchao 

Former Team Lakay fighter Stephen “The Sniper” Loman remains a top contender against reigning ONE bantamweight world champion Fabricio Andrade, according to fellow mixed martial arts fighters.

One of those who asserted such claim was former ONE strawweight world champion Joshua Pacio, who claimed Loman deserves the title shot against the Brazilian champion.

LEGITIMATE CONTENDER — Former Brave Combat Federation bantamweight world champion Stephen Loman (fourth from left) is the legitimate contender for the ONE bantamweight belt, according to former ONE strawweight world champion Joshua Pacio (2nd from left), who were photographed several years ago along with Team Lakay coach Mark Sangiao, Benguet Rep. Eric Go Yap, and Eduard Folayang of Lions Nation MMA. — File photo

Pacio explained the 32-year-old Loman has eliminated some of the top title contenders in the bantamweight division such as former long-time champion Bibiano Fernandes that earned him the credential to challenge Andrade.

Instead of fighting Andrade, Loman faced former champion John Lineker and the Filipino fighter suffered a unanimous decision loss in the process.

Such defeat is now being capitalized by the camp of Andrade in supposedly dodging the Filipino fighter from challenging him for the world title belt.

The supposed face-off between Andrade and Loman was also halted when ONE Championship announced that Andrade will face reigning ONE bantamweight Muay Thai champion Jonathan Haggerty for the vacant ONE kickboxing bantamweight belt in Bangkok, Thailand this year.

Andrade also announced he has no interest in facing Lineker for a possible trilogy in the MMA division, which to Pacio makes Loman the legitimate challenger.

Earlier, Loman announced he has parted ways with Team Lakay, whom he carried as his official team for the past nine years.

Loman currently has a contract with the Singapore-based ONE Championship after he left the Bahrain-based Brave Combat Federation after his successful defense of his bantamweight world belt in November 2019.

Loman still holds the record as the longest world champion in Brave FC, having held the belt for more than 1,000 days from 2015 to 2017.