CEBU CITY, Oct. 6 â€“ Johnlery â€œIanâ€ Caniga, 20, one of the most promising mixed-martial arts (MMA) fighters in Cebu, has mastered his craft because he has been molded by one of the best teachers, his father and Yaw-Yan Ardigma Founder and chief executive Benigno â€œEkinâ€ Caniga Jr.
On Nov. 5, the younger Caniga will showcase his talent and the original Filipino martial art known as Yaw-Yan as he becomes the first Cebuano to compete in an MMA tournament in Pacifica, California, USA.
Johnlery Caniga will be joining over 150 competitors in an open tournament, Navarroâ€™s Mixed Martial Arts Championships, a one-day tournament that features different martial arts.
Caniga, a BS Criminology student at the University of Cebu, believes that fighting outside the Philippines for the first time would be a good learning experience for him.
â€I donâ€™t expect to win in this event. Iâ€™ll know what to expect when Iâ€™m already there,â€ he said.
Benigno â€œEkinâ€ Caniga Jr. said they have raised the bar in their training in preparation for this event, wherein Johnlery will be competing in Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, grappling and stick fighting.
â€We have adjusted his hours in training. He trains three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon. He jogs in the morning and does roadwork every Sunday,â€ said Benigno Jr.
Frank Navarro, who will be sponsoring Johnlery, believes that this is just the beginning of a wonderful relationship between both schools and that in the near future he will be bringing in more Yaw-Yan Ardigma fighters to compete in the US.
â€Many Filipinos that are born in America will be fighting there, but he will be the first Filipino from Cebu. I have been blessed to have met the whole school (Yaw-Yan Ardigma). This is just the beginning. In a couple of years, five of these guys may be competing in the US,â€ said Frank Navarro of Navarroâ€™s Martial Arts gym.
Johnlery will be accompanied by his father Benigno Jr. and his arnis instructor Grandmaster Max Caballes in his trip to the US. (PNA)