On November 3, 2023, a Kagay-anon MMA fighter based in Qatar won his debut MMA fight with a third round technical knockout on the undercard of ONE Friday Fights 39 at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
Moises Lois Ilogon, a.k.a. The Lion King, won his third straight professional MMA bout to keep his record spotless at 3-0, a feat cheered by his close friends and associates who watched the fight live online.
But just who is the Lion King of Cagayan de Oro?
Moises Lois Ilogon was born in Cagayan de Oro City on August 13, 2000, the youngest of four children of Mie Amor Ilogon and Apolinario “Dodong” Casil Jr. of Barangay Canitoan.
His siblings are Mielandbeth “Lalyn” a businesswoman, Noah Gadriel, Territory Manager of Recket Mead Johnson (who’s also a Muay Thai/MMA Instructor), and Apolinario Gabriel III “Thirdy”, a Muay Thai/MMA Instructor at the Pelaez Sports Center and head coach of Cagayan de Oro City’s Muay Thai Team.
Although he’s known as Em-em to his family and friends, his Mom Amor called him Bololot because even as early as eight months old, she already noticed her bunso’s unusual dexterity with his hands and feet.
He finished his elementary days at City Central School and high school at the Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (MOGCHS).
“He is so lambing and humble, and was a favorite of his late grandfather (Amor’s father), whom he constantly amused with his funny antics,” Amor recalls. Moises is the youngest apo of Calinico Putian Blasco-Ilogon and Elnora Balibagon Tiu Contreras-Ilogon.
Even at a young age, his mom already noticed he did not have a barkada, just acquaintances, preferring instead the company of his siblings Thirdy and Noah, who were influential in awakening his interest in the martial arts, especially Muay Thai.
Muay Thai Roots
In 2010, Moises started hanging around his brother Thirdy at the former Elorde Boxing Gym at Stonestown Suites in Uptown Cagayan de Oro.
Eventually, Thirdy became his first instructor for Muay Thai and at the young age of 13, he was entered into a summer tournament in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon,, where he won and was adjudged the Best Fighter of the tournament.
The very next month, he was sponsored by the Pelaez Sports Center Muay Thai Gym to the 2013 Batang Pinoy games in Bacolod City where he came home with his first gold medal. It was this group known as the Lions who baptized him with his MMA moniker “The Lion King” since he was the most outstanding member of their club.
The Philippine Youth Games a.k.a. Batang Pinoy is the national youth sports competition of the Philippines for athletes under 15 years old. Unlike the Palarong Pambansa a competition for student athletes, the Batang Pinoy also includes the out-of-school youth.
In 2013 Moises became a member of the Philippine Muay Thai Team non-training pool until officially becoming a National Team member in 2018. He fought in Vietnam at the Uni Super Championship where he absorbed his first loss in Muay Thai on December 23, 2018, but still made a podium finish with a silver medal.
“I still enjoy Muay Thai which has become my bread-and-butter, and I have only lost three times in the 40 bouts I have already competed in,” he reveals. Although he has previously won the national title three times, he last competed during the 32nd Southeast Asian Games held 5 to 17 May 2023 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia where he won a bronze medal but maintains he remains open to again competing in Muay Thai (known as Kun Khmer in Cambodia).
“The bronze medal I got at the SEA Games meant a lot to me because, even though I’ve been out of circulation for a while, I’ve rediscovered my desire to compete and win,” Ilogon said in an article posted in The Tiebreaker Times.
Due to his outstanding performance in the 32nd SEA Games, Ilogon was recruited by ONE Championship under the ONE Friday Fights banner, and the rest is history.
The Lion King cometh
Under the mentorship of his Kuya Thirdy, Moises fought his first MMA bout in 2014 at Quezon City. He further added to his repertoire of moves by developing his wrestling and Jiu jitsu skills while working at the Pasig Metrowalk with Submission Sport Philippines.
After further honing his skills, he turned professional in 2018 with the URCC and won his next two bouts by second-round submission. He credits Coach Erwin Tagle for rounding out his fighting skills in MMA and Jiu Jitsu to a higher level.
In 2020, he moved to Doha, Qatar as an OFW seeking greener pastures to ensure a brighter future for his only child, five-year old Ammarah Lois. At present, he works as a Muay Thai and Fitness Instructor with Ox Fitness Lab.
While in Qatar, he enrolled in an online course for nursing assistants when the covid pandemic hit, and eventually graduated in October 28, 2022 with a professional diploma to practice should he choose to do so in the future.
It seems that after all those hungry years, the stars are finally aligning for The Lion King of Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines.