September 25, 2023

Young prospect Jhanlo Mark Sangiao is ready to show to the world the new breed of Team Lakay from being an ordinary boy next door to a future Filipino mixed martial arts champion.

The 18-year-old Sangiao has recently signed a fight contract with Asia’s biggest media sports property, ONE Championship, owing to his credentials in national combat sports competitions such as Muay Thai, MMA and grappling.

“When I was given the contract, I couldn’t believe it. The dream I’ve had since I was young was already here. I had mixed emotions of nervousness and excitement that I can’t explain,” he said.

It truly was a longtime coming for the younger Sangiao, who always was magnetized to the world of MMA with his father Mark, a decorated champion in his own right.

That only helped that he was exposed to the sport at such a young age that it no longer was a surprise when he chose to also step inside the cage.

He understands that wading through these new territories in ONE Championship is also a double-edged sword – that it comes with the pressure of living up to the glorious reputation Team Lakay has had in the promotion.

But he insisted coach Mark has already prepared him for these kinds of adversities at a young age.

“Papa is strict with me, which isn’t bad ‘cause I know it’s for my own good too. But he always told me that in MMA, I have to always train, be passionate, and enjoy what I’m doing,” he said.

Sangiao may yet to make his debut, but the prodigy is already setting lofty goals in this foray with ONE Championship as he truly wants to reach for the stars. – Harley F. Palangchao