Bantamweight Jessie Rafols holds a 6-2 professional record and is popular in the Philippines for his non-stop, fan-friendly style of fighting. He is one of the most aggressive fighters in the history of the URCC and will be getting his chance to shine on the international stage for the first time at ONE FC 2 in Jakarta next month.
Up until now he has done all of his fighting for the URCC, the most established promotion in the Philippines. He took on pinweight champion Roy Docyogen (who is currently 9-0) in his debut and lost that fight but then went on to post six straight stoppage wins, moving up from 119 lbs to 129 lbs in the process.
Rafols suffered a surprise defeat to Reydon Romero in his most recent fight when, after five and a half minutes of an all-out war which he appeared to be winning, the pace of the fight finally took its toll and he simply ran out of steam.
Despite that defeat he does not intend to change his style and should be even more effective fighting for ONE FC where rounds last for five minutes, as opposed to the marathon ten minute rounds in the URCC.
“I like fighting this way because I like to give my fans something to talk about and remember me by. I want to give an exciting match and I want to set my pace in the ring before my opponent does,” said Rafols in a conversation with Five Ounces of Pain. “After that defeat I learned a lot about being an MMA fighter and I will be making some minor adjustments, but that’s it. Just a little more polishing on my techniques and conditioning training, I have always trained to do two rounds of 10 minutes so the shorter rounds should be easy.”
Rafols had originally been penciled in to face Ngoo Ditty, a Muay Thai fighter from Thailand who holds an MMA record of 4-2. A motorcycle accident put paid to that match up and instead the Filipino will be fighting Sung Ming Yen from Taiwan who is currently 2-0.
He claims he is not too bothered about the change of opponent and is just looking forward to fighting for the biggest show in Asia, saying, “The change of opponent doesn’t really matter. I will be sticking to my game plan and training. I am very excited because I have always wanted to fight for my country and this will be my defining moment as a fighter. I was able to watch the first ONE FC show and I just can’t wait to step in that cage and fight for my country, I am very grateful for this great opportunity.”
Filipino people are fiercely patriotic and are immensely proud of Eduard Folayang and Eric Kelly who both posted impressive victories at ONE FC 1, and after five years of learning martial arts Rafols could be set to make a similar breakthroug.
“I started my Martial Arts training back in 2006,” Rafols explained. “When I was 20 years old and I trained with D’Elements Gym under coach Ramonito Pabroa. I started with boxing and Muay Thai, then later on ventured to MMA. Why? Because I grew up with a family of boxers and martial artists and I guess I was influenced by this somehow.”
Despite having a background in stand up fighting Rafols’ has a good ground game with five of his six wins coming by way of submission. He attributes his success as a mixed martial artist partly to his training and partly to the URCC, the organization which gave him his big break.
“The URCC has helped me a lot in my development as a fighter,” Rafols concluded. “They saw my potential and I try not to let them down. I am still signed with the URCC and they have been helping me with my career track and everything else that goes with it. I train twice a day, six days in a week. Right now I’m training in BAMF MMA center under DEFTAC and Pabroa from the D’ Elements gym is also helping me out.”
ONE FC: Battle of Heroes is taking place at the BritAma Arena in Jakarta, Indonesia on February 11.