Another Fil-Am tries to carve name in MMA

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at Jun 03 2011 11:38 PM | Updated as of Jun 04 2011 07:38 AM

SAN FRANCISCO – Justin Buchholz is known for his killer front kick.

For this 27-year old Filipino-American mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, the best way to end a fight is to knock out an opponent.

Buchholz said, “When you end a fight in a knockout, it’s the best feeling. If you actually put a guy to sleep, he can’t do anything for 30 seconds to a minute. It’s the best way to end a fight.”

Buchholz, an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter, delivered a third-round knockout against Steve Lopez in Las Vegas last May 21.

“It was pretty-surreal when it happened. I was more surprised than anything that the kick actually landed. I did learn that from Steven Seagal and it’s cool to be able to use that to end the fight," he said.

The Sacramento-based Buchholz was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska to a Filipina mother from Negros Occidental named Belle Banzuelo, and a Caucasian father. In Alaska, he competed in wrestling for Lathrop High School.

Buchholz is a former Icon Sport Lightweight Champion. He was also a fighter for Elite XC before signing with UFC.

Buchholz, who has a record of 11 wins and 6 losses, is a master at Muay Thai. He trains with Team Alpha Male, the team of MMA veteran Urijah Faber.

Besides training for his fights, Buchholz is also working with Tony Horton, the man behind the famed PX 90 Workout, to develop a fitness video series based on MMA.

He said his ultimate dream is to fight in front of his kababayans in the Philippines. Buchholz is among the mixed martial artists fighting for the World Kickboxing Championship in Manila Grand Resorts on June 26.

“I’ve always wanted to go to the Philippines and learn about the culture. That’s the pinnacle of my career — to have the chance to fight in the Philippines," he said.