Trilogy in the making
Two years after their three-round battle in Manila, the rematch between Geje Eustaquio and Thai fighter Anatpong Bunrad ended up the same way: a split decision finish.
This time it was the Baguio native who got the nod, as Eustaquio edged out Bunrad (5-3) in their flyweight bout during the undercard of ONE Championship: Dynasty of Heroes, Friday night at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore City.
“It seems ironic. Maybe two years from now, we will have a trilogy,” the 28-year-old said. “It depends on the call of ONE Championship. My job is to fight, not to choose, and not to decide.”
The win lifted Eustaquio’s record to 9-5, winning three of his last four fights.
The first round was a tentative one, with both fighters seemingly wary of their opponent, given the measure they have of one another. Bunrad was keen to press forward and command the center of the cage, but the footwork of his adversary has certainly improved, and he found himself inches from the target time after time. However, neither man made any significant impression to get ahead.
The Thai fighter continued to press forward in the second round, but Eustaquio stalked his opponent around the cage with more confidence, and returned fire with precision. He was getting the measure of Bunrad’s shots, evading and delivering his own with combinations. Although the Filipino was not finding the mark with the majority of his attempts, he became much more comfortable with the timing.
By the third round, Eustaquio’s game plan started to bear fruit. He had his foe lunging further and further in an attempt to land, allowing him to counter more easily with punches and kicks that were full of intent.
The inside low kicks were taking their toll on Bunrad, and he was growing frustrated with being unable to hit the target. Bunrad was able to send Eustaquio to the ground after catching a kick, but Eustaquio was the aggressor, using punishing elbows from the bottom. The Filipino swept to the top and finished the fight there, completing the momentum shift that saw him confident of victory.
Two out of three judges scored it in Eusquio’s favor.
“I have a few regrets in the fight,” Eustaquio reflected. “It is so hard to execute the things I wanted to do. I have to get back on the mats and train some more.”
Story and photo lifted from ONEFC.com