Johnlery “Ian” Caniga

CEBU CITY, Oct. 6 – Johnlery “Ian” Caniga, 20, one of the most promising mixed-martial arts (MMA) fighters in Cebu, has mastered his craft because he has been molded by one of the best teachers, his father and Yaw-Yan Ardigma Founder and chief executive Benigno “Ekin” Caniga Jr.

On Nov. 5, the younger Caniga will showcase his talent and the original Filipino martial art known as Yaw-Yan as he becomes the first Cebuano to compete in an MMA tournament in Pacifica, California, USA.

Johnlery Caniga will be joining over 150 competitors in an open tournament, Navarro’s Mixed Martial Arts Championships, a one-day tournament that features different martial arts.

Caniga, a BS Criminology student at the University of Cebu, believes that fighting outside the Philippines for the first time would be a good learning experience for him.

”I don’t expect to win in this event. I’ll know what to expect when I’m already there,” he said.

Benigno “Ekin” Caniga Jr. said they have raised the bar in their training in preparation for this event, wherein Johnlery will be competing in Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, grappling and stick fighting.

”We have adjusted his hours in training. He trains three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon. He jogs in the morning and does roadwork every Sunday,” said Benigno Jr.

Frank Navarro, who will be sponsoring Johnlery, believes that this is just the beginning of a wonderful relationship between both schools and that in the near future he will be bringing in more Yaw-Yan Ardigma fighters to compete in the US.

”Many Filipinos that are born in America will be fighting there, but he will be the first Filipino from Cebu. I have been blessed to have met the whole school (Yaw-Yan Ardigma). This is just the beginning. In a couple of years, five of these guys may be competing in the US,” said Frank Navarro of Navarro’s Martial Arts gym.

Johnlery will be accompanied by his father Benigno Jr. and his arnis instructor Grandmaster Max Caballes in his trip to the US. (PNA)