It’s a massive weekend for MMA in Asia, with Invicta FC, IMMAF and ONE Championship back on deck, with some bareknuckle madness thrown in for good measure. Friday Fight Facts has you covered.
The Phoenix Rises
The first instalment of the Invicta FC Phoenix Rising Series arrives this weekend. A one-night, eight-woman tournament format that brings the sport of MMA back to its roots. Eight of the promotion’s top strawweight prospects have been randomly matched up ahead of the event and in one night a new strawweight champion will be crowned. The action will take place from Kansas City’s Memorial Hall and will stream live on UFC Fight Pass. Keep an eye out for Japan’s Mizuki Inoue, a well-known face in women’s MMA and a true veteran of the Invicta cage. UPDAT: Mizuki missed weight and is out of the tournament.
Amateurs in Thailand
IMMAF wraps up its debut Asian Open Championships in Bangkok this weekend – a massive event that will see some 77 competitors across 11 nations go head-to-head in the first unified IMMAF-WMMAA Asian Open Championships of Amateur MMA. The fact that this year’s event was moved to Bangkok will hopefully be a huge win for the Thai MMA Federation and the sport of MMA in the Land of Smiles. Head on over to The Fight Nation for coverage and results.
Dy digs for UAE gold
“The Incredible” Rolando Dy has a laser focused goal to claw his way back to the UFC and this weekend forms a critical part of that plan. Just a few weeks ago Dy scored a highlight-reel knockout over Mehmosh Raza at Brave 22 and has now packed his bags for Abu Dhabi and a date with Kazakhstan fighter Yerzhan Estanov (16-7-1). Up for grabs is the UAE Warriors (formerly Abu Dhabi Warriors) featherweight title and Dy is predicting another knockout. Let’s face it, the man is highly entertaining and deserving of another shot in the big leagues.
Meanwhile in Jakarta, ONE Championship returns to the Istora Senayan with a 14-fight card mixed with some solid Muay Thai, MMA and kickboxing talent. In the main event of ONE: For Honor, flyweight Muay Thai champion Sam-A Gaiyanghadao will make the first defense of his belt against the United Kingdom’s Jonathan Haggerty. Before that happens, Japanese mixed martial arts icon Yushin “Thunder” Okami will make his ONE Championship debut when he collides with welterweight contender Kiamrian Abbasov in the co-main event. ONE will stream the entire event on YouTube and its mobile app.
WLC: Karen Spirit
World Lethwei Championship is back for another landmark event. WLC: Karen Spirit sees hometown favourite Mite Yine take on Morn Samet from Cambodia. Mite Yine is considered one of the biggest names in lethwei and will be facing an aggressive fighter with devastating elbows in Morn Samet. Kayin State is considered the epicentre for lethwei culture – and highly regard among the Kayin people, an ethnic subset in Myanmar. WLC: Karen Spirit takes place this Sunday from Chit Tu Myaing Park, a theme park in Hpa-An, Kayin State. The live broadcast starts at 6.30pm (local time) on UFC Fight Pass.
Cowboy is back… again
UFC on ESPN+ 9: Iaquinta vs. Cowboy kicks off early Sunday morning (Asia time) from the Canadian Tire Centre where Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone returns for his second fight of the year against the always dangerous “Raging” Al Iaquinta. While the card won’t see any talent from Asia, there’s a few barn burners to watch, in particular Cub Swanson vs. Shane Burgos.