It’s been one of those weeks where you sit back and think what the heck just happened. From Floyd Mayweather’s stunning u-turn over an exhibition fight with Tenshin Nasukawa, to Connor McGregor blaming One Championship boss Chatri Sityodtong for the demise of UFC’s flyweight division. Asian MMA, it seems, is embracing its wild, wild roots. But it is exciting times. This week alone we’ve seen One dive headfirst into the booming eSports arena, launch two Grand Prix’s, hire Miesha Tate in a vice president role… while more big signings are expected later today. But I digress. We’re here to look at what’s ahead for this weekend. So let’s get into it.
ONE: Heart of the Lion
Kicking off the weekend, One Championship is back on home turf with an intriguing 13-fight card that has more than its fare share of sleeper fights. The loss of a women’s strawweight title bout between Angela Lee and defending champ Xiong Jing Nan seems to have had little – if any – effect. Instead, an undisputed bantamweight king will be crowned in the main event when Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes (22-3) defends his belt against interim champion Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon. After a controversial DQ earlier this year, Christian Lee (9-3) returns on very short notice to fight former Pancrase lightweight champion Kazuki Tokudome (18-9-1) in the co-main event. The bout will be contested at a catchweight of 73 kilograms. One to watch is no-gi grappling champion Sung Jong Lee (4-2) facing five-time EBI grappling champion Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon (2-0) in a featherweight tilt. The entire event will be streamed live and free on the One Super App from 6pm Singapore time. Super.
MAS Fight World Grand Prix
A new China-backed promotion gets underway in Macau on Saturday as Martialism Square Fight (MAS Fight) sets the tone with its first World Grand Prix. The Shaolin monk Yi Long will literally face a mountain of a challenge when he squares off against 7ft 2in Korean fighter Choi Hong-Man. The two will headline a card that includes MMA, Muay Thai and kickboxing from some of the globe’s strongest men. The newly-formed promotion has generated a truck load of interest for its unique rules set of a single nine-minute round that can only be won by knockout. There’s a referee, but no judges. Apparently it will be broadcast on Fox Sports Asia.
WEF 47 x Arzalet
On Saturday, Japan’s Arzalet (formerly Real Fight / Globe of China) is co-promoting WEF 47 in Bishtek, Kyrgyzstan. At the top of the card, DEEP Future King winner Ryo ROY will face undefeated Kyrgyz prospect Bakhytbek Duishobaev. ROY is an aggressive finisher and Duishobaev’s record is three wins by submission, one by KO – so this should be a pretty hopping fight. It’s unclear if ROY is going up from bantamweight or if Duishobaev is dropping. Also on the main card, BJJ phenom and Real Fight welterweight champ Marcos de Souza will square off with WEF middleweight champ Nursultan Ruziboev and undefeated Altynbek Mamashev, one of the top welterweights in Kyrgyzstan, will take on Mongolian journeyman Batmunkh Burenzorig. WEF 47 will be streamed live and free on YouTube at 15:00 local time (21:00 Japan).
One Pride FN 24
One Pride’s next weekly installment for Fight Night 24 will feature five ranking fights. In the uberhot strawweight division, well-known number six Brianata Rosadhi is back and welcomes Fadlullah into the top 10. At featherweight, fifth-ranked Aep Saepudin faces number 14 Wallie Teo in a match that will surely have grappling come into play and has the potential to send one of them into closer title contention. One Pride FN is live broadcast at 22:00 Jakarta time on TVOne and the TVOne app.
From the outside looking in it appears that things haven’t entirely gone the way of “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung-jung over the past few years, but he will be hoping to turn all that around this Sunday as he headlines the UFC’s 25 anniversary card in Denver. An injury to Frankie Edgar means Chan will face one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC’s featherweight division in Yair Rodriguez. These two explosive fighters headline a card that also includes some juicy match-ups such as Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone versus Mike Perry, and a critical bout for the women’s bantamweight division as Raquel Pennington takes on former women’s featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie. The event will be live on UFC Fight Pass.
RFC – WOTD
Chinese Taipei MMA Association (CTMMAA) is overseeing the next edition of RFC – Way of the Dragon in Taiwan on Sunday, which will be a full day of amateur MMA. A massive 28 fights are scheduled. The amateur scene in the country is growing as immense interest develops in the sport of MMA. For example, two women from karate backgrounds have transitioned into MMA and will have their first fight on this card: Pan Jiaxin versus Huang Yuxi. In the main event, Taiwan’s leading lightweight amateur Ye Junhong will take on Hong Kong’s Qi Zhengxiong, a purple belt in BJJ. The winner is expected to launch into a pro career.