Is visiting the Philippines a lucky charm for UFC fighters?

ufc philippines lucky

Do you believe in superstitions? Well, we do (when it makes the Philippines look good).

Max “Blessed” Holloway just won the UFC featherweight interim title over Anthony “Showtime” Pettis at UFC 206. It was a brilliant performance by a fighter who’s on a scary streak towards the absolute top of the division.

It also just so happens that he visited the Philippines a few months ago. Coincidence? We think not!

We’ve noticed that UFC fighters experience a surge in their careers shortly after they visit the Philippines, either with a big win or even a shot at UFC gold. The most recent example is Holloway. And before that, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson did a tour in Manila, which was followed by a win over Rory MacDonald and a title shot against Tyron Woodley.

stephen thompson

Earlier in 2015, Miesha Tate also visited Manila to promote the first ever UFC card in the Philippines. After her visit, she went on to beat Jessica Eye and then win the UFC women’s bantamweight title over Holly Holm. Again, coincidence? We think not!

Prior to that, Alistair Overeem also did a tour in Manila, and then beat Andrei Arlovski, which set him up for a heavyweight title shot.

They don’t mess around in the Philippines. Cop at the Mall of Asia. #teamrocky #philippines #vacation #worldtraveler #asia

A photo posted by Raquel Pennington (@raquel_pennington) on

Last but not least, earlier this year, Raquel Pennington visited Manila on a personal trip. What happened next? You guessed it: She beat Elizabeth Phillips and then Miesha Tate!

So is the Philippines a lucky charm for UFC fighters who want to get closer to the gold? Maybe. There’s really only one way to find out: Send more UFC fighters over to the Philippines!

Photos by Mike Miguel (Overeem, Holloway, Thompson) and Jonathan De Jesus (Tate).

Shout out to Wayne Tulio for the idea to write about this topic.


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Gab Pangalangan

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