Pair of MMA gloves sparks LTT


Luta Top Team’s L.D. Ogo, left, sizes up his opponent Perry Mundo of Team Tinian in one of the undercard fights in last month’s Rites of Passage 22: Rampage held at the Marianas Business Plaza. (Jon Perez)

Keith Ogo was busy training with some of his friends for an upcoming fight against Guam Muay Thai’s Eric Gatman three years ago in Rites of Passage 17: Road to Glory—his debut in mixed martial arts.

Although he lost by technical knockout via punches at the 1:44 mark of the first round, his determination and passion sparked an interest in the sport, thus giving birth to Luta Top Team.

Ogo said they wanted a name that would stand out and highlight the island where they come from. “We have that island fighting warrior spirit and we’re here to stay. We started with nothing, just a pair of MMA gloves and each other.”

LTT currently has nine to 10 people actively training under Ogo, who shares the MMA and Muay Thai skills he learned while he was in San Diego, California to his students. Colin Duenas also helps out in teaching LTT members jiujitsu techniques

“I used my experience from training at Undisputed El Cajon under Bellator MMA fighter Andy ‘The Tooth’ Murad for MMA and Muay Thai under Preston ‘The Predator’ Peters,” said Ogo.

He added that having no permanent training facility is never a problem to them, as they use the whole island as their entire gym. However, they plan to build a small gym in the future.

“So, we make the best out of nothing. Where we train also depends on the weather. For example, if it rains, we train at the roundhouse. If it’s dry out, we train anywhere we want,” said Ogo.

He said that every MMA fight they compete in is a learning experience to all LTT members. “Representing Luta is a very big thing for the people of Rota, especially we’re coming from a place that has nothing. We test our training and the hard work that we put in against other islands, and keep on correcting our mistakes one fight at a time. When fight time gets closer, we have other [LTT warriors] training in Guam.”

Guam-based fighters from Rota like Juan Lizama, Khalil Toves, and Jerome Fujihira also lend their time in helping train LTT members, sharing the things they’ve learned while working out in Guam.

Ogo said that membership is slowly increasing after each fight, but financial challenges prevent some from continuing their training. Currently, they don’t have any sponsors and had to shoulder the airfare, food, and lodging costs when they joined the ROP 22: Rampage held last month.

“We don’t have any sponsors and no one actually helped us. We’re thankful to [TrenchTech promoter] Cuki Alvarez for providing us with transportation when we get to Saipan. We would greatly appreciate any help,” said Ogo.

Three LTT warriors saw action in last month’s ROP on Saipan and they went 1-2 against their opponents from Team Tinian. John Mendiola let loose a flurry of punches from a successful mount to win by technical knockout against Juschery Castro at the 1:37 mark of the opening round. That victory somehow eased the pain of consecutive losses by L.D. Ogo, who bowed to Perry Mundo by split decision, and A.J. Barcinas’ setback against Austin John King by rear-naked choke at the 1:44 of the first round.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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