A wiser Eddiva enters UFC Manila

Mark Eddiva has done it all, from winning Wushu SEA Games gold to holding a URCC title. He’s also left the sport before, only to return and become the first Filipino to win a Zuffa-era UFC match. He’s learned a lot from these experiences, but defeat may prove to be his greatest teacher.

In his last UFC fight in 2014, Eddiva suffered his first career loss at the hands of Edmilson Souza in Brazil via standing TKO (punches). That loss has taught him a lesson he’ll carry into every fight to come.

Ang natutunan ko sa fight na yun is huwag bigyan ng hint yung referee na hindi mo kaya o agrabiyado ka because the referee can stop the fight.” (What I learned is that you shouldn’t give the referee any hint that you can’t fight or that you’re in trouble because he can stop the fight.)

When asked if he felt he could’ve continued in that fight, he says there’s no doubt in his mind that the fight was stopped prematurely.

Oo naman [kaya ko pa], kasi actually nag side step pa nga ako nung pagka-stop niya ng fight. Medyo nagulat ako [hininto yung laban]. Akala ko rin na time na, kasi nag 10-second warning na nung hininto niya. So nagulat ako. Hindi naman ako nag-wiggle or nag faint. So medyo nabigla rin ako sa decision na yun.” (Yes, I could still fight. I actually side-stepped as they stopped the fight. I was a bit surprised they stopped the fight. I thought the round was over since they sounded the 10-second warning around the time they stopped the fight, so I was surprised. I didn’t wiggle or faint. So I was surprised by the decision.)

Eddiva lands a high kick on Souza in Brazil. Photo via UFC.com
Eddiva lands a high kick on Souza in Brazil. Photo via UFC.com

Given the lessons he learned, the Team Lakay fighter plans to use a more fluid and versatile attack at UFC Manila when he faces Levan “The Hornet” Makashvili.

“One plan is to do more footwork and kung pwedeng mag takedown, [gagawin ko].  Halos lahat ng pwede, yun yung gagawin natin.” (One plan is to do more footwork and, if we can get a takedown, we’ll do that. Almost everything we can do, we’ll do.)

The stakes have never been higher for the Baguio native as he fights on the first main card bout of the UFC’s first event in the Philippines. But Eddiva remains calm, and offers this fight up to his creator and to his countrymen.

“I dedicate this fight to my king, my God, to my family, and to all the Filipino people.

Sa lahat ng UFC Fight Fans, I’m inviting you to watch our fights. Especially for our local heroes like Roldan Sangcha-an, Philippe Nover, and Mark Munoz at the MOA arena on May 16.”

Main photo credit to Mike Miguel

Gab Pangalangan

Gab Pangalangan is a former collegiate national Judo champ and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of DojoDrifter.com. You can find his other works in the Philippines' leading magazines and websites.
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