From football hotbed Iloilo, MMA star Lausa rises

By Ivan Saldajeno

MAKATI—The province of Iloilo is known as the top source of football talents in the Philippines.

But from the town of Concepcion comes one of the hottest local MMA fighters right now.

Jenel Lausa has made waves in the sport this year, winning the PXC flyweight title before making a successful debut in the UFC.

But just like most Ilonggos, Lausa tried his hand at football.

In fact, in front of some reporters on Wednesday at Hid Burgers within the corner of Chino Roces, Gil Puyat, and Malugay Avenues, Lausa admitted, "Basketball, football, volleyball, lahat ng sports, nilaro ko."

However, he added that was just playing those games casually.

"Parang laro-laro lang, kasi sa probinsya, yung mga bata doon, ano mang laro, malalaro mo," clarified Lausa.

Adding to his decision not to pursue a career in a non-combat sport is his family's financial situation that prompted him to try his luck at boxing.

"Fifteen years old pa lang ako, nagba-boxing na ako," the 28-year-old pug shared the time he began his combat sport career.

But the greener pasture MMA can bring prompted Lausa to add some kicks and ground game to his already-polished punches.

"Konti ng premyo sa boxing kaysa sa MMA, but noong tinuluy-tuloy ko yung MMA [career] ko, tinuluy-tuloy ko rin ang boxing [career] ko," Lausa, who is still active in boxing while continuing his MMA story, continued.

Now with an MMA title and a UFC win in his portfolio, Lausa's dream of a better life has come true, and he believes it will also happen to the others who turn to sports to get past poverty.

"Yung pangarap niyo, dagdagan niyo ng pagsisikap. Ano man yung pagsubok niyo, makakayanan niyo," Lausa shared a tip to the future athletes in conclusion.

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