MANILA, Philippines – Filipino fighter Eugene Toquero relied on patience and an improved ground game to beat the younger Gianni Subba for his first victory in ONE FC.
Toquero, who won his first four bouts via stoppages, said he wanted to use his elbows to finish off the Malaysian upstart on the undercard of ONE FC: Rise of Heroes last Friday. But he said he was persuaded by his corner to be patient and stick to their game plan.
“Gusto ko na talagang sikuhin para sa knockout, pero ang sabi ng corner ko relax lang, 'yun natapos pero sayang walang knockout na nangyari,” the 30-year-old Cebuano said following his victory. “OK na lang din 'yun kasi halos lahat ng laban ko sugod lang eh, parang walang bukas.”
Instead of using his staple martial art, which is muay Thai, Toquero pulled off a surprise by beating the Malaysian grappler in his own game.
Toquero scored a takedown in the first round and even rolled Subba for ground and pound in the second. He returned to stand up in the final round, connecting his kicks to the head and body before shooting for another takedown.
“Sa totoo naman medyo mataas ang level ko ng ground [game] pero ‘yun pa rin hinihila ako ng [muay Thai],” explained Toquero. “Ngayon lagi kong iniisip na lagyan ko ng ground para mailang na din sila sa ‘kin.”
The 21-year-old Subba himself admitted that he was surprised by Toquero's ground fighting abilities.
"I didn’t expect him to come at me with takedowns ... but you live and you learn,” he said in The Star.
Toquero said he has decided to be a more well-rounded fighter especially after Team Lakay’s Geje Eustaquio outwitted him with a tactical match last December.
“Nasaktan ako na natalo ako [kay Eustaquio] kasi matagal na panahong hindi ako natalo. Ang iniisip ko kaso suntukan, 'yun pala nangyari takbuhan,” said Toquero.