Arsenio “The Filipino Assassin” Balisacan Jr. will be the first full-blooded Filipino to compete under MMA rules in ONE Championship this year when he takes on Kara-Ool Changy in a strawweight bout at ONE Friday Fights 48 on Friday, Jan. 19, inside Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.
In Bangkok, Thailand, Balisacan will represent Drex Zamboanga’s growing T-Rex MMA stable, joining fellow ONE Friday Fights hopeful Fritz Biagtan as they aim to join their teammates Denice Zamboanga and Jeremy Miado on the ONE Championship main roster.
While it’s not an easy task to transition to The Home of Martial Arts, the 28-year-old is grateful to have a solid support system backing him as he enters the next chapter of his career.
“Having worked with experienced people is an advantage to me. They’ve really gone through a lot. In training sessions, I’ve learned a lot of techniques with them. When we’re training, they keep pushing your back to move forward,” he said.
“Coach Drex really focused on building me up. It’s my first time competing on such a big stage, so it’s an advantage for me to have experienced people backing me up,” he said. “God willing, I’ll get that contract (to ONE Championship’s main roster).”
It was a busy 2023 for “The Filipino Assassin,” having split his kickboxing assignments in TNT Kickboxing – a local combat sports promotion – while impressing in his MMA bout.
In fact, Balisacan hasn’t lost in his MMA career since dropping his first two bouts. He comes into The Home of Martial Arts riding a five-fight winning streak.
For the T-Rex MMA representative, he’s hopeful that the experience he’s had over the past 12 months will help him realize his dream of making it big in ONE Championship.
“I was truly busy in 2023. I hope that it becomes a springboard for me to do well here in ONE. It’s really my dream to be here,” he said.
“Back then, I was just asking myself if I have what it takes to compete there, and now I’m here. I’m grateful to ONE for giving me this opportunity to compete in Lumpinee.”
With a solid team behind him, and a fruitful training camp now close to completion, Balisacan is confident that he’ll have a debut to remember this Friday.
“I feel like now’s the perfect time for my debut,” he said.
“I won’t waste this opportunity given to me. I’ll give my best and I’ll put on a good show this Friday.”
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