Fight fans in Asia are truly spoilt for choice this weekend, with a handful of big events taking place across the region. From Pattaya, to Korea, Tokyo and Singapore, it’s a weekend slammed with face-punching and sumo wresting action. Let’s get right into it.
UFC Fight Night 117
The festivities leading up to the UFC’s Fight Night Japan: Saint Preux vs. Okami card are well under way in Tokyo, with the media day done and dusted and the smoke only just now settling from the official weigh-ins. Injury might have robbed the card of the much-anticipated rematch between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Ovince Saint Preux but by throwing Yushin “Thunder” Okami into the mix, the UFC has opened up all manner of opportunities for the local star. Mizuto Hirota is the latest in a number of changes to the UFC Japan line-up after being cut from the card over health and safety concerns. Hirota looked in poor shape at last night’s weigh-ins at the Hilton Tokyo, only just managing to get himself on the scales. The big event kicks off at 8.30am (!!!) on Saturday morning at the Saitama Super Arena with 10 bouts and will be streamed on UFC Fight Pass.
UFC Japan ain’t the only game in town this weekend. The 24th All Japan Amateur Shooto Championships is set to take place across the other side of Tokyo, going head-to-head with UFC for local eyeballs. It’s a free event, which might mean a bigger audience and Shooto has lined up some impressive talent from across the region, including a handful of Hong Kong hopefuls from the undefeated Ted Koh to Kwan Lok Chan.
Autumn Basho Grand Finals
Come Sunday, the giants of the Japanese wrestling world will be on display at the Autumn Basho Grand Finals at Ryogoku Kokugikan. Ozeki Goeido has long been regarded as one of the most promising Japanese wrestlers in sumo. This year he is on track for a second career championship at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament, despite a surprise second defeat at the hands of fourth-ranked maegashira Shohozan. The 15-day tournament draws to a close this Sunday and Asia MMA will be on hand live with some some photos and hopefully a bit of video. There’s some excellent Twitter accounts to follow, including SumoSoul, who update the account pretty frequently.
ROAD FC 42
The big boys will be back in action come Saturday night when China’s Kung Fu Panda Aorigele returns from a devastating groin kick to face Masuda Yusuke in the main event of ROAD FC 42. ROAD’s openweight division is stacked not only with talent, but some serious kilograms. Aorigele crushed the scales at weigh-ins with a whopping 159kgs, while Masuda Yusuke came in at 103.3. Aside from the main event, a PRIDE-era throwback is set between two legends of the sport: Minowa Man vs. Yoon Dong-Sik. There’s also some seriously good young guns on the err… Young Guns 36 card. Watch out for women’s atomweight match between Park Jung-Eun and Park Si-Woo. ROAD FC 42 and Young Guns 36 will be held in conjunction with the Chungju World Martial Arts Festival and the event will be streamed on YouTube.
Rock Wars Pattaya
The first instalment of Rock Wars kicks off this Saturday with an impressive card headlined by Thirayut “Top Saksurin” Khaorat who takes on Cambodia Top Team’s Meas Meu. There’s a big, ambitious idea behind Rock Wars, an initiative between True Arena and Vicious Circle, that sees a mix of live music and MMA. The whole thing will be broadcast live on 693 True Vision in Thailand. For the prospect watchers, the 21-year-old Loma Lookboonmee makes her MMA debut on the undercard and is definitely one to watch. A former member of the Thai national team, Loma is a nine time champion in Muay Thai. She’s held the S-1 title, was an Assawindam Stadium Champion, in addition to the many regional and national titles she’s collected. She’s also won IFMA gold, as well as SEA Games gold. She has a very big future ahead of her.
SFC returns with a vengeance for its sixth show “Rise of Legends” again on September at a new location Le Danz. Will Chope will again don the boxing gloves to meet Thai boxer Chatri Charoesin in a four round bout. While in the headliner for the evening is Singapore’s first pro boxing champ Nurshahidah Roslie (6-1) who will be taking a shot at a championship title belt against Siriphon Chanbuala from Thailand. There’s no live stream for this one, but The Fight Nation will carry full results when they arrive.