Thursday, February 27, 2014

Get To Know Mark Eddiva And Jumabieke Tuerxun, His Opponent This Weekend

Something historic is happening this coming weekend at the Cotai Arena in Macau, China. Mark Eddiva, a mixed martial arts practitioner from Team Lakay's roster of professional fighters will be facing Jumabieke Tuerxun of China in the opening bout for UFC Fight Night 37. Eddiva is the first fighter with Igorot roots to ever fight in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), the largest and most influential mixed martial arts organization in the world. He is also the second homegrown Filipino to fight for the organization. The first was Dave Galera who also happens to be a Team Lakay talent.

Eddiva is a decorated wushu athlete. Among his accomplishments are two gold medals from the Southeast Asian Games. He turned pro as a mixed martial artist in 2006. He currently holds an unblemished record of five wins with no losses. Three of these victories came via knockouts, the remaining two came via submissions.

Eddiva will be entering the octagon as a huge underdog. This is understandable. Compared to his opponent, Eddiva has less experience, he has fought lesser quality fighters, and he has been inactive for over three years. When it comes to professional fighting, ring rust is a very serious matter. There's a reason why the best and most well-known fighters out there often take warm-up bouts after taking long vacations off the canvas. They wouldn't risk their careers fighting the top dogs in their division because there's always the possibility that they will fail to perform as good as they used to, thanks to ring rust.

Eddiva last entered the ring three years ago in January of 2011. It was an impressive winning effort wherein he submitted Alex Lee with a rear-naked choke. It's worth pointing out, however, that Eddiva's five fights were against losers. This is not to give offense but to merely state the facts. Four of Eddiva's previous opponents don't have any wins in their records. Alex Lee is 0-2. Engie Piloto is 0-2, Alvin Clerino is 0-2, and Duke Villanueva is 0-1. Andrew Benibe, the only fighter that has a mark in the winning column is 5-7. In the parlance of fight game aficionados, "Eddiva has been fighting bums".

Ring rust, less experience, and an abominable list of previous opponents. These are the three main barriers stacked up to prevent Eddiva from having his hands raised at the end of the fight, besides of course Jumabieke Tuerxun, a fighter who carries the nickname "The Wild Wolf".

Like Eddiva, Tuerxun is undefeated. He turned pro much later than Eddiva but he has stacked fourteen wins, four of which were submissions and three were knockouts. The rest came via decisions. This is just his existing record. There are reports going around that he has a lot of undocumented fights which means he is much more experienced than what his official record shows.

If you watch Tuerxun's fights (some of these can be viewed on YouTube), he is a fighter who has more than decent skills whether he's fighting standing up or grappling on the ground. He may not be a knockout artist but he can easily adapt to win fights. And he has good endurance. He's more than willing to take his time and go the distance as evidenced by his seven wins via decisions.

In conclusion, there isn't a huge disparity between Eddiva and Tuerxun when it comes to the skills they bring to the table. They look evenly matched, skill-wise. However, there's the issues of ring rust, experience, and quality of opposition to be considered. Needless to say, Eddiva has the shorter end of the stick in all three issues. As expected, the consensus among fans and critics in the sport is that the Chinese fighter will emerge victorious. A preview by Sherdog has Tuerxun eking out another decision victory. But this is the fight game where upsets happen all the time. Maybe Eddiva has what it takes to deliver an upset. We'll know this weekend when the bell finally rings.

In the event that Eddiva takes home the bacon, he'll get the chance to be considered for future fights under the UFC banner. And he better start making an impression because the division (featherweight) he fights in is stacked with some of the most talented fighters in the UFC. Jose Aldo, yes, that Jose Aldo is the current champion. Below him are Chad Mendes, Frankie Edgar, Ricardo Lamas, Cub Swanson, and Chan Sung Jung. Right now, it would be impossible to imagine Eddiva sharing the Octagon with any of these guys. But if he wins impressively this weekend, he'll make a statement and hopefully get the attention of the Big Boss himself, Mr. Dana White. Who knows, Eddiva might make history yet again by becoming the first Igorot to hold a UFC championship belt.

The ABS-CBN Sports and Action channel will air UFC Fight Night 37 this Sunday starting at 9 p.m. However, we aren't sure if all the bouts in the card will be televised. Eddiva vs. Tuerxun will be the opening bout in the card.