Issue of June 6, 2021
     
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ONE Championship signs Team Lakay founder’s son
by Harley F. Palangchao

WELCOME TO ONE -- Jhanlo Sangiao, 18, son of Team Lakay founder Mark Sangiao, has officially signed a fight contract with ONE Championship making him the newest fighter from the top mixed martial arts team in the Philippines to become a professional athlete. -- Contributed photos

Jhanlo Mark Sangiao, one of the promising young mixed martial arts fighters in the Philippines, has officially signed with ONE Championship, the biggest sports media industry in Asia.

The 18-year-old Sangiao will also use “The Machine” as his official nickname, which happens to be the nickname of his father, Mark, chair of the famed Team Lakay, when he was an active MMA fighter.

Sangiao will represent the fourth generation of Team Lakay fighters who have evolved from a wushu discipline to a complete arsenal of MMA skills that have awed fans in the Philippines and overseas.

“When they say Team Lakay, the first thing that comes to people’s minds is ‘these guys are deadly strikers.’ But for me, I believe I’m part of a new breed. I’m part of a new generation of Team Lakay fighters who have built new weapons. Our team is evolving, and we’re dangerous in all areas,” Sangiao said.

Without a doubt, Team Lakay is the most prolific martial arts outfit in the country. 

In 2018, Team Lakay was considered arguably the best martial arts team in Asia, having held four out of eight potential world titles under the ONE Championship umbrella and one in Brave Combat Federation.

Sangiao has won gold medals in several grappling tournaments and also a two-time national Muay Thai open champion. He has also fought and won in some amateur MMA bouts.

Raised in and around a martial arts environment as a young boy, Sangiao began training in the gym at the age of six. But it wasn’t until he took home gold medals in a local Muay Thai competition at 14 when he realized he had real talent.

From that point on, Sangiao says he began to take his training and a potential professional career seriously, honing his skills on a daily basis under the guidance of his father, who is considered a pillar of Philippine MMA.

Now, with his impending ONE Championship debut, Sangiao is motivated more than ever to continue the Team Lakay tradition of excellence, and carry the flag for the Philippines.

“There’s definitely pressure on me to do well, no escaping that. People will come up to me, asking me when I’m making my debut, so in my mind, that’s pressure in itself. People expect a lot, and I have to be at my best. But that kind of pressure makes me happy,” Sangiao said.

 
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