Training with world champions boosts Sangiao's confidence

Published December 20, 2021, 12:38 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Being surrounded by world champions gave Jhanlo Sangiao the much-needed confidence to make a name for himself in ONE Championship.

Jhanlo Sangiao (right) and Team Lakay coach Mark, his dad, embrace each other after the younger Sangiao submits Paul Lumihi in their bantamweight clash in ONE: Winter Warriors II at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. (ONE Championship)

In his first professional match and promotional debut, Jhanlo, the 19-year-old son of Team Lakay coach Mark, wowed fight fans after submitting Indonesia veteran Paul Lumihi with a rear-naked choke in ONE: Winter Warriors II at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Thanks to his brothers in Team Lakay, Sangiao pulled off a debut win to remember and made a clear statement that the next generation of Igorot warriors is a force to reckon with.

“Isa rin ‘yon sa mga nag-motivate sakin kasi ‘yong mga ka-sparring ko mga world champions kaya hindi tayo basta-basta bibigay (Training with world champions is one of my motivations heading into this fight that’s why I really did my best in my debut),” added the youngest pro fighter of Team Lakay.

Sangiao recalled that he has sparred with almost everyone in Team Lakay but during training camp against Lumihi, the Team Lakay youngster started practicing with the likes of Stephen Loman, Kevin Belingon, Jeremy Pacatiw, among others, who are all listed in the bantamweight division.

Sangiao showed aggressiveness as soon as the bell rang, unleashing precise combinations with mid kicks in between to pressure Lumihi against the wall.

After hurting the seasoned Indonesian fighter, Sangiao, who won three straight matches in the amateur level, shifted his focus to ground game and slowly forced his arms around Lumihi’s neck to execute the slick rear-naked choke.

“‘Yong mga nakaka-roll ko kasi sa Baguio mga world champions kaya kung kaya kong makasabayan ‘yong mga kuya ko na world champions, bakit hindi natin kaya makasabay sa ibang mga atleta (I’m training with world champions in Baguio and if I can level myself with my brothers in Team Lakay, then all the more reason we can go against other athletes),” said Sangiao after chalking up his first win as a professional mixed martial artist.

That said, Sangiao, who earned the moniker “The Machine” from his father, remained grounded and said this is just the beginning of his journey as an MMA athlete.

With no specific names in mind, the son of the Team Lakay patriarch vowed to return to training and improve his arsenal to prepare himself anytime come 2022.