There’s an unspoken relationship between Filipino flyweight Eugene Toquero and his shiny black locks inside the mixed martial arts cage.
While other fighters couldn’t care less about vanity when faced with imminent danger in competition, Toquero’s now famous hair-flip, which he does every so often in a fight, has become a sign that all hell is about to break loose.
Toquero (7-2) will square off against China’s Wu Ze (3-2) in a three-round matchup at “ONE: Spirit of Champions” which takes place at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Philippines on Friday, December 11.
The bout will serve as part of the undercard for the highly-anticipated heavyweight clash between Brandon “The Truth” Vera and Chi “Chopper” Lewis-Parry.
Toquero is a fixture in ONE Championship’s deep flyweight division, and has already split four bouts for the promotion.
He debuted for ONE in 2013, in a unanimous decision loss to countryman Geje Eustaquio but came back impressively in a thorough performance against well-regarded Malaysian prospect, Gianni Subba.
The 125-pounder then went on to stop Brianata Rosadhi last April, and, in what was a memorable contest, lost a decision to Asuka “Riku Shibuya” Mikami in a battle of flashy strikers.
Despite coming up dry in his most recent outing, one thing became evident — no matter what fight he’s in, Eugene Toquero will always aim to please the crowd with his high-octane striking techniques and unpredictable, herky-jerk style.
The moment Toquero begins obsessively combing through his hair with his fingers, fans know things are about to get interesting. Toquero, more than flipping his hairdo, has the ability to flip a switch and instantly up the intensity in his strikes which are swift and powerful, and come in bunches.
“I have always been taught to put everything into my strikes. I like to come in fast and powerful,” said Toquero.
“Finishing on the feet has always been my priority, because I think it produces the most exciting knockouts, but that’s just me. Being an MMA fighter though, you have to have a complete game. So even if I am most comfortable trading strikes, I believe I can also defend well on the ground.”
Make no mistake about it however, the former celebrity MMA trainer is well known for his unorthodox striking from various angles, and the vicious way in which he delivers them.
With his first five bouts as a professional mixed martial artist all ending in stoppage victories, Toquero is a walking highlight-reel of spectacular finishes.
“Hearing the crowd cheer and enjoy the show us fighters put on for fans is already a huge reward. To be in the position that I am in, competing in ONE Championship, is an accomplishment I am very proud of,” said Toquero.
“The louder the crowd gets, the more pumped I am to fight on. It really kicks me into a whole new gear, and that translates into my striking output inside the cage.”
Despite his aim to ‘please’ fans with all-out action, more importantly, Toquero seeks to get back in the winner’s circle with his conquest of Wu Ze.
The Chinese flyweight is certainly no pushover and is himself a wild and unpredictable striking specialist but to move forward with his career, Toquero will have to find a way to beat Wu Ze impressively and excite fans anew.
“The end-goal for me is, of course, a chance to be called champion,” said Toquero.
“It has always been my dream to become a world champion, and now I am in position to make that dream come true. It may look like I am careless and wild in the cage, but that’s just my style. There’s a method to the madness, and I plan to show the world on fight night.”
A title shot for Toquero is certainly not far-fetched by any means.
Newly minted ONE Flyweight World Champion, Russia’s Kairat Akhmetov is primarily a wrestler, so Toquero could possibly pose some interesting problems in the stand-up. Undoubtedly, the potential is most definitely there.
Whether or not Toquero realizes his potential is something that will be left up to how he performs next Friday night.
With a packed house at the Mall of Asia Arena going wild, in victory or in defeat, Toquero will once again find himself inside the ONE Cage, alone with another opponent and presented with another opportunity to bring the crowd up to their feet.
And once again, as the hair-flipping begins, fans have come to expect Toquero to feed off the energy in hopes that he uses it in favor of another intensely satisfying finish.