The Ultimate Guide to the Philippines’ Best MMA Gyms

September 18, 2023
From: Spartacus
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In recent years, the Philippines has become an undeniable force in the world of MMA. From the rise of homegrown talents gracing international stages to the sprouting of elite training facilities across the archipelago, the sport is experiencing an electrifying renaissance.

This surge isn’t merely a passing trend; it’s a movement that underscores the country’s rich martial arts heritage and its newfound place in the modern combative arena.

Whether you’re a beginner fascinated by the intricate ballet of jabs and jiu-jitsu or an experienced fighter looking to level up, knowing where to train is crucial.

That’s why we’ve compiled an in-depth guide to the Top 10 MMA gyms in the Philippines. Our aim? To not just inform but to immerse you in the burgeoning MMA culture sweeping across the nation.

#1 Team Lakay

Nestled in the tranquil setting of Baguio City, Team Lakay stands as more than just a martial arts gym—it’s a legend in the making. With the azure sky above and the mountainous terrain below, this gym has become a sanctum where Filipino fighters transform into world-class warriors. The names Eduard “Landslide” Folayang and Honorio “The Rock” Banario are not just athletes; they’re symbols of what can be achieved under the tutelage of Mark Sangiao, the spiritual and tactical leader of Team Lakay.

Sangiao’s approach to training is holistic, focusing not just on the physical attributes that make a fighter, but also on the mental and emotional resilience needed to face adversity in and out of the ring. Team Lakay is celebrated not only for its technical proficiency in grappling and wushu but also for its relentless focus on character development. The team believes in moulding fighters who are as good at heart as they are skilled in the ring.

Training in the higher altitudes of Baguio City adds another layer to the Team Lakay regimen. This geographical advantage enhances stamina and lung capacity, allowing fighters to train longer and harder. It’s no coincidence that Team Lakay fighters are often seen pressing the action in later rounds, a testament to their superior conditioning. The gym’s influence transcends the boundaries of the Philippines, attracting aspiring fighters from all corners of the globe who wish to experience the “Lakay” magic firsthand.

#2 Alliance Training Center

Stepping into the bustling landscape of Manila, one finds the Alliance Training Center—a recent addition to the Philippine martial arts scene but by no means a novice in the field. As the inaugural Filipino branch of Brandon “The Truth” Vera’s Alliance, this gym is brimming with lofty ambitions and the resources to achieve them. Helmed by George Castro, Vera’s coach and confidant, Alliance isn’t just training fighters; it’s shaping the future narrative of Filipino martial arts.

The gym combines traditional techniques with modern training methods, providing a well-rounded curriculum that caters to both beginners and seasoned fighters. This innovation is evident in the rising stars trained at Alliance, such as Ramon Gonzales and Burn Soriano, who are already making waves in the fight community. These fighters represent the new age of Filipino martial arts—a blend of native grit, international training standards, and an unyielding commitment to excellence.

Alliance Training Center may be relatively new, but it’s built on a foundation of international recognition and expertise. With its modern training facilities, a lineup of experienced coaches, and a culture that nurtures talent from the ground up, Alliance is poised to challenge even the most legendary gyms in the Philippine MMA landscape.

#3 Elorde Gym

Elorde Gym stands as a temple for fight enthusiasts, a place where the sweet science of boxing is harmoniously integrated with contemporary martial arts like kickboxing. With a sprawling network of branches and affiliates across Metro Manila, the gym offers more than just convenience; it offers a menu of martial arts disciplines that can satiate any fighting appetite.

The philosophy at Elorde is steeped in the golden age of boxing but is forward-thinking enough to adapt to the evolving demands of combat sports. At its core, the gym values technique and precision, and this shines through whether you’re learning to throw a jab or executing a spinning kick. The legacy of Gabriel “Flash” Elorde, a world champion boxer, is carried on through an array of qualified coaches who are not only experts in boxing but also in mixed martial arts.

One can’t talk about Elorde Gym without mentioning the budding talent it is nurturing. Rome Trinidad is one such promising fighter who embodies the Elorde ethos: skilled, disciplined, and ever-adaptive. Trinidad represents the future of Elorde Gym—a future where traditional boxing blends seamlessly with modern martial arts, creating athletes who are versatile and dynamic.

#4 Mindanao Ultimate

Tucked away in Cagayan De Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Mindanao Ultimate is not your run-of-the-mill gym. Founded in 2012 by Kru Raul G. Sevilleno, this gym serves as a crucible where traditional Muay Thai is amalgamated with a broader MMA training regimen. Mindanao Ultimate operates on the core principle that martial arts are not just for the ring but also a vehicle for self-defence and personal discipline.

Sevilleno’s teachings echo through the gym, emphasising rigorous training, mental fortitude, and a commitment to mastering the art of eight limbs. The gym has produced fighters who embody these principles, and Rabin Catalan is the shining example. Competing on a global stage, Catalan is a testimony to what hard, disciplined training at Mindanao Ultimate can accomplish.

The gym offers more than just a physical curriculum; it’s a spiritual journey where each training session is designed to test your limits and expand your capabilities. It’s not just about fighting; it’s about growing—inside the ring and out.

#5 Fight Corps MMA

Stepping into Fight Corps MMA, located in the bustling district of Mandaluyong, is like stepping into a sanctuary for modern warriors. This gym has carved out a niche for itself in the booming MMA scene of the Philippines, offering not just technical instruction but a holistic approach to the combat sports lifestyle. This is no ordinary gym; it’s a community, a place where champions are built, one punch, kick, and submission at a time.

Founded with the principle of developing well-rounded martial artists, Fight Corps MMA doesn’t just offer standard MMA classes. It takes pride in its diversified training portfolio which includes Muay Thai, boxing, and even sport-specific conditioning. This vast range allows students to develop a versatile skill set, making them formidable opponents inside the ring and highly capable individuals outside of it.

At the helm of Fight Corps MMA are coaches whose years of experience in both competitive fighting and instruction converge to create an enriching learning environment. These coaches foster a philosophy that goes beyond just winning fights. Of course, a gym’s reputation often rests on the calibre of athletes it produces, and Fight Corps MMA is no exception.

While exact names may vary, a visit to the facility will often include bumping elbows with local celebrities of the combat sports world. These are fighters who have made a name for themselves in local and international promotions, lending credence to the quality of instruction and training at the gym. Each fighter’s success is a testament to Fight Corps MMA’s excellence, drawing in new talent eager to follow in those footsteps.

#6 Catalan Fighting System

In the world of MMA in the Philippines, Catalan Fighting System is a name that commands attention and respect. At the helm is Rene Catalan, a wushu world champion and a star in the ONE Championship arena. The gym serves as both a sanctuary for fighters and a beacon for aspiring martial artists in the Philippines.

The Catalan philosophy goes beyond simply creating elite fighters. It aims to influence and inspire the broader community by demonstrating the values that martial arts can instil: discipline, respect, and a commitment to excellence. In essence, the gym aims to combat vice with virtue, providing an alternative path for young Filipinos who might otherwise be led astray.

It’s hard to overlook the wealth of talent that calls Catalan Fighting System home. Rene’s brothers, Ruel Catalan and Robin Catalan, are not only seasoned fighters but also integral pieces in the gym’s larger mission. Then there’s Jomary Torres, a breakout star who encapsulates the gym’s ethos of hard work and dedication. These athletes don’t just train at Catalan; they exemplify its very essence, serving as tangible proof that a life in martial arts can be both fulfilling and transformative.

#7 Deftac

If you’re looking for a gym that has played an instrumental role in shaping the landscape of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA in the Philippines, then Deftac is your go-to place. With multiple branches and a lineage of competitive fighters, the gym is nothing short of a martial arts empire.

Deftac doesn’t just dabble in BJJ and MMA; it lives and breathes them. 

From the novice stepping onto the mat for the first time to the seasoned fighter preparing for international competition, the gym provides a home for all skill levels. With a broad array of training facilities and an army of highly experienced coaches, Deftac sets the standard for what an MMA gym in the Philippines should be.

In terms of talent, Deftac’s stable is as diverse as it is elite. The gym is committed to pushing the boundaries of what Filipino fighters can achieve on both the national and global stages. And it’s this unwavering commitment to excellence that has established it as a key player in the Philippine MMA scene.

#8 KMA Fitness and Martial Arts

Nestled in the bustling environment of Quezon City, KMA Fitness and Martial Arts provides an oasis where martial arts aren’t just an activity, they’re a way of life. KMA offers a cornucopia of disciplines, ranging from traditional martial arts to a fully fleshed-out MMA program. The gym operates on a philosophy that martial arts are more than just a form of self-defence or a competitive sport; they’re a path to a well-rounded, fulfilling life.

Coaching is a critical component of the KMA experience, led by highly qualified trainers who are as adept at teaching as they are at their respective disciplines. The wealth of available programs means that coaches have to be versatile, adaptive, and skilled across various martial arts forms.

In terms of fighters who have honed their skills at KMA, the list is both impressive and growing. This gym serves as an incubator for talent across a range of disciplines, attesting to its wide-reaching impact on the Philippines’ martial arts community. It’s not just a gym; it’s a movement.

#9 Submission Sport Philippines

Tucked away in Makati, Submission Sport Philippines is a name that resonates with every Filipino martial artist with a proclivity for ground fighting. Specialising in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the gym has broadened its horizons to include comprehensive MMA training, making it a one-stop-shop for martial arts enthusiasts.

The gym’s philosophy centres on mastery and continuous improvement, promoting a culture where each session is an opportunity to learn and grow. With an arsenal of coaches who are not only adept at BJJ but also experienced in the multifaceted world of MMA, Submission Sport provides an unparalleled training ground.

Notable fighters such as BJJ champions and MMA contenders have passed through the doors of Submission Sport Philippines, each benefiting from the gym’s cutting-edge training methodologies. It’s a gym where warriors are moulded, and legends can be born.

#10 YAW-YAN Ardigma

Dedicated to the Filipino martial art of Yaw-Yan, which translates to “Dance of Death,” YAW-YAN Ardigma carries the mantle of Filipino martial heritage into the modern age. While the focus is on this indigenous form of kickboxing, the gym has evolved to include MMA training, adding a contemporary edge to its traditional core.

The guiding philosophy at YAW-YAN Ardigma is deeply rooted in the preservation of Filipino martial culture while advancing its application in modern combat sports. With seasoned coaches who are custodians of both Yaw-Yan and MMA techniques, the gym strikes a balance between the old and the new.

Not just a bastion for traditionalists, YAW-YAN Ardigma has also become a training ground for fighters looking to make their mark in MMA. The gym has been pivotal in not only preserving a piece of Filipino culture but also in evolving the martial arts scene in the country.


As the Filipino MMA scene continues to thrive, it’s clear that this is more than just a sport—it’s an emerging cultural phenomenon that is putting the Philippines on the global map.

And for those who want to consume or contribute to this dynamic world, Spartacus is your go-to platform. With its cutting-edge app offering everything from live TV and Pay-Per-Views to ‘Kicks,’ a TikTok-style feature for combat sports, Spartacus isn’t just following the trend; it’s setting it.

Whether you’re a fan wanting to keep up with the latest fights or a budding fighter seeking tips and tricks, Spartacus has got you covered. As we move forward in this golden age of Filipino MMA, there’s never been a more exciting time to be a part of this ever-evolving combat sports landscape.


What are the top MMA gyms in the Philippines?

The archipelago stands as a burgeoning hotbed for MMA talent. Team Lakay, Elorde Gym, and Deftac are generally considered among the leading training facilities. These gyms, among others, are not merely sweat factories but cathedrals of combat, fine-tuning athletes for the global stage.

How does Team Lakay’s training environment contribute to its success?

Situated in the high altitudes of Baguio City, Team Lakay provides a unique training environment that contributes to its unparalleled success. The altitude naturally enhances cardiovascular capabilities, and the gym’s deeply rooted ethos of community and family creates an atmosphere of mutual empowerment. It’s not merely a gym but a brotherhood, led by esteemed coach Mark Sangiao.

What sets Alliance Training Center apart in the Filipino martial arts scene?

This facility sets itself apart by offering a cross-disciplinary approach that embraces not just MMA but also traditional martial arts. Expertise from international coaches provides a worldly touch to this local powerhouse.

How does Elorde Gym integrate boxing with other martial arts disciplines?

Primarily known for boxing, Elorde Gym has seamlessly integrated Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and even wrestling into its curriculum. This holistic approach towards martial arts gives its fighters a well-rounded skill set, advantageous in both boxing rings and MMA cages.

What is unique about Mindanao Ultimate’s approach to martial arts training?

The gym’s uniqueness lies in its grassroots approach to martial arts training. With an emphasis on nurturing local talent, they focus on solid fundamentals and incorporate both Western and traditional martial arts practices.

What does Fight Corps MMA offer in terms of a diversified training portfolio?

Known for its diversified training portfolio, the gym offers a plethora of disciplines—Muay Thai, boxing, BJJ, wrestling, and more. This multidisciplinary focus makes it a mecca for athletes seeking a comprehensive skill set.

How does Catalan Fighting System aim to impact the broader community?

More than just a fighting academy, Catalan aims to make a broader impact by using martial arts as a tool for social change. Through various community programs, they focus on character-building along with skill development.

What makes Deftac a key player in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA scene in the Philippines?

Specializing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Deftac has become a key player in the Philippine martial arts scene through its meticulous focus on the ground game. High-level instruction and a competitive sparring environment make it a BJJ hub.

What is Submission Sport Philippines’ focus in the world of martial arts?

The gym places a concentrated focus on submission grappling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Their doctrine is not just to win fights but to achieve mastery over the craft of ground combat.

How does YAW-YAN Ardigma blend traditional Filipino martial arts with modern MMA training?

A unique blend of traditional Filipino martial arts and modern MMA techniques makes this gym stand out. YAW-YAN (Sayaw ng Kamatayan) is deeply interwoven with Filipino culture, and its synthesis with contemporary MMA practices provides a rich training environment.

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