Marianas Variety

Last updateWed, 23 May 2018 12am







    Tuesday, May 22, 2018-4:16:42A.M.






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The Crank earns UFC Singapore Fight of the Night, $50K bonus

ALTHOUGH he was not able to get the win in his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 111, the CNMI’s Frank “The Crank” Camacho ended up winning so much more.

In front of fans in the packed Singapore Indoor Stadium arena Camacho put on an absolute barn burner of a scrap in his preliminary match with Chinese welterweight Jingliang “The Leech” Li.

Saipan's Frank The Crank Camacho and China's Jingliang The Leech Li trade furious blows in the UFC Singapore Fight of the Night.  Photo Credit MMAjunkieSaipan's Frank The Crank Camacho and China's Jingliang The Leech Li trade furious blows in the UFC Singapore Fight of the Night. Photo Credit MMAjunkie

Their slugfest was so entertaining and crowd-pleasing that it won Camacho and his opponent the coveted Fight of the Night award and $50,000 bonus apiece.

Li was awarded the unanimous decision victory, but it did not come easy for him. In fact, the short-notice replacement Camacho, who had barely a week to prepare, gave the UFC veteran all that he could handle and more.

From the opening bell, Camacho pressed the action and got right in Li’s face.

Roughly a minute in, Camacho used a pawing jab feint to set up a thunderous overhand right that echoed with a loud crack upon contact. The punch rocked Li and caused him to stumble backwards nearly knocking him over.

However, the wily Chinese striker, known for his durability, recovered his footing and began to fire back at Camacho.

Camacho was relentless but patient in his forward attack. He slipped Li’s return fire and countered over the top with several more left-right and right-left combinations, a couple more of which rocked Li again. Before the round was over, Camacho even managed to score a takedown and briefly maintained top position before choosing to stand and trade some more.

Round 2 was a bit of a toss up. It was much closer and more competitive, as Li began to gain steam. Camacho opted to catch his breath and pace himself.

Li started scoring with kicks to Camacho’s lead leg while the latter continued to head hunt with powerful counter punches.

Round 3 was where Li seemed much fresher and the momentum started shifting in his favor. Sensing that Camacho’s attack was slowing from the leg kicks, Li became more aggressive. As Li scored with power punch combos, Camacho smiled at him and beckoned him to throw some more as if to say “you’re not hurting me.” When the final bell rang, everyone in attendance was standing and applauding the two combatants for their memorable performance.

The irony of the situation is that, despite not getting the win, Camacho might have actually benefitted more from putting on an amazing performance in losing. Had he won by a quick KO, there is no guarantee that he would have been awarded the Performance of the Night bonus. Holly Holm who was the night’s main event headliner, won her fight by highlight reel KO and she ultimately received that honor.

By engaging in such an impressive war with Li, Camacho guaranteed himself a bonus once he received the Fight of the Night distinction.

“The Crank” also won the hearts of even more fans than he already had. Social media, online mixed martial arts press and MMA forums were exploding with fan reactions heaping praise upon the Marianas fighter’s courage, heavy hands and granite chin. This was literally within minutes from the first punch he landed. Many of them had even scored the fight in his favor, thinking he had won the first and second rounds.

One thing seems quite evident though. It won’t be long before fans, new and old alike, get what they want and see “The Crank” back in the octagon soon.

With his octagon debut, Camacho becomes only the second Chamorro fighter from Saipan in history to fight in the UFC. The first is the now retired Anthony “The Crush” Torres who made hisdebutat UFC Fight Night 6 in 2006.

Stay tuned for results on Guam fighter Jon “Super Saiyan” Tuck’s fight with Japanese icon Takanori “The Fireball Kid” Gomi and other Pacific Xtreme Combat veterans who also fought at UFC Fight Night 111.

To be continued