MIMMA Semifinals Recap: Malaysia’s lighting-fast MMA growth

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The Malaysian Invasion MMA (MIMMA) Amateur Tournament Semifinals took place on May 18, 2013 at the Paradigm Mall in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Across a staggering seven weight classes, 28 fighters who transcended the rigors of the ladder matches faced one another to determine the finalists for the June 15th main event at Stadium Negara.

By John Merva, Malaysia Correspondent

MIMMA’s last event, the Quarterfinals of Malaysia’s first large-scale amateur tournament, took place on April 20th – the full report is here. Leading up to the Semis, the fledgling organization’s local and social media presence had been relentless: Facebook updates, statues in shopping malls, newspaper adverts, talk shows on television. Judging by the massive turnout, the media onslaught was successful. There were throngs of VIPs, media, gym representatives and spectators looking on to catch the fourteen fights that would decide the finalists in MIMMA’s seven weight classes.

As was the case for the MIMMA Quarterfinals, the Semifinal fights again did not disappoint. Eight out of the 14 fights were finished inside the distance and the remaining hard-fought for decisions were never boring. Judging and officiating at the event were well-executed and there were no calls that would have marked it as anything less than professionally organized. Whilst there were a few delays, the personal efforts from MIMMA promoters and staff Alex Wong, Jack Starr, Yap Brent, Tammy Chan Mun Yi and their teams belied the fledging status of the promotion. With the addition of a competition to decide the two ring girls for the Finals at the Stadium Negara on June 15th, the event was rounded out to include the beauty that compliments the brawn at any exciting fight promotion.

The following is a recap of the action with full Finals matches following.

Fight 1 – Heavyweights, Mohd Narshaiful vs Christopher Leow

The first fight got underway on time and from the beginning Mohd Narshaiful looked in charge as he taunted his opponent. Most of the action was contested on the feet with some big shots being landed by both fighters, but it was clear that Narshaiful was enjoying the bout more. With the exception of a brief stop for an illegal knee to the face in the clinch, this was all Narshaiful. The fight ended in the first round by TKO due to injury as Narshaiful attempted a standing choke from the back and dragged his man down to the mat where it he landed awkwardly. A strong performance from Narshaiful proved that he’s going to be a danger to anyone in the weight class.

Mohd Narshaiful def. Christopher Leow via TKO (injury), round 1

Fight 2 – Flyweights, Julian Lee vs N’Goh Jian Chong

The first decision on the card was certainly not a slow fight as both men clearly felt comfortable on the ground. N’Goh hit takedowns in all three rounds and showed a nice passing game in getting to mount in rounds one and two. Clearly no slouch on the ground either, Julian managed to reverse positions and work in some nice ground and pound in all three rounds but N’Goh was comfortable fighting from his back and looked for submissions. His repeated triangle choke and armbar attempts in addition to his aggressive takedowns were what swung the judges his way as he walked out of the cage with the unanimous decision.

N’Goh Jian Chong def. Julian Lee via unanimous decision, round 3

Fight 3 – Middleweights, Jack Cheong vs Hafiz Chandran

There was no wasting time from Hafiz as he went straight for the clinch against the cage and, after a brief reversal and eating a knee from Jack, he was able to get the takedown into side control, then smoothly pass to mount. Jack gave up his back in the process of trying to escape and Hafiz finished the fight with some huge punches from the back.

Hafiz Chandran def. Jack Cheong via TKO (ground and pound), round 1

Fight 4 – Bantamweights, Prabu Somanaidu vs Arthur Kah Bowie

Unfortunately for Arthur, frustration seemed to be the caption for these three rounds. Whilst he looked for, and got, a takedown in each of the first two rounds, Prabu’s superior strength and wrestling meant that he was reversed on the way down and ended up on the bottom both times. Despite some success taking Prabu’s back in the second round, Arthur was outstruck on the feet. He looked nervous about going to the ground by the third round and was dropped by a big shot by Somanaidu. At the end of three rounds there was no doubt that although Arthur had gutted out the fight, he had some very rough spots and wasn’t able to put Prabu in any serious trouble.

Prabu Somanaidu def. Arthur Kah Bowie via unanimous decision, round 3

Fight 5 – Heavyweights, Adrian Tham vs Mohd Fitri Abdul Jalil

Adrian was in control of the fight as he hit takedowns in all three rounds and hunted for the arm, only to be foiled in the first two rounds thanks to Jalil’s strength and some huge slams to escape. However, for Adrian the end was always in sight – Jalil’s frustration showed in his shoulder charge tactic at the beginnings of rounds two and three. Adrian’s patience was rewarded in the third as he finally locked in a tight armbar from mount. Jalil’s toughness cannot be questioned as he survived two armlocks that bent his arm to a gruesome angle in the earlier rounds, something that at this amateur level should have required an earlier referee stoppage.

Adrian def. Mohd Fitri Abdul Jalil via armbar, round 3

Fight 6 – Featherweights, Mohd Khairul Annuar vs Muhammad Ikram

The featherweights lost no time in getting to the action, exchanging kicks and punches before going to the ground. After some jockeying for position Ikram was able to get on top to deliver some heavy shots.

Mohd Ikram def. Mod Khairul Annuar via TKO, round 1

Fight 7 – Featherweights, Naimul Amar vs Keanu Subba

Keeping the action flowing along, Keanu Subba made short work of his opponent just over a minute into the first round. Whilst Amar started out very aggressively, Subba took the fight straight down and headed immediately to mount and then to the back, flattening his opponent out and landing huge punches. Amar survived the onslaught only long enough to tap out to a rear-naked choke.

Keanu Subba def. Naimul Amar via rear-naked choke, round 1.

Fight 8 – Middleweights, Irfan Rizain vs Jim Chong

Jim Chong has a ‘Believe’ tattoo on his back which looks shockingly like it may be a ‘Belieber’ tattoo. With that said, he certainly showed incredible belief in himself as he ‘Gangnam Styled’ into the ring before choking his man with a standing guillotine just two minutes into the first round. Rizain shot twice during the short contest, only to leave his neck unprotected both times and succumb to the last choke.

Jim Chong def. Irfan Rizain via standing guillotine choke, round 1.

Fight 9 – Bantamweights, Bryan Lim vs Muhd Aiman

Paradigm Mall erupted for Muhd Aiman and booed for all they were worth for his opponent Bryan Lim, who came walking out in sunglasses and carrying a snake! The first round of this fight was all action, with both fighters swinging for the fences and Lim looking repeatedly for a somewhat bizarre rolling single-leg takedown which he nailed and landed in Aiman’s half-guard. Once back on the feet Aiman began to assert himself with some tight combinations but showed some holes in his defense when Lim put him down with a wobbly-legged spinning backfist. In the ensuing rounds, however, it was all Aiman as he began to dominate his foe with heavy ground and pound. There was some controversy when the referee stopped the fight to mend a glove malfunction and Aiman thought he had won, followed by yet more weirdness when the referee literally could not hear the bell over the roaring crowd and stopped the fight after it had rung.

With all the theatrics and strange goings-on during the bout, there was no doubt that Muhd Aiman dominated his gutsy opponent, putting himself firmly into the favourite’s spot for the finals.

Muhd Aiman def Bryan Lim via unanimous decision, round 3

Fight 10 – Welterweights, Ooi Aik Tong vs Rezza Azim

When judoka Ooi failed to execute a throw at the beginning of the round and Rezza climbed on his back, it looked like things were going to go horribly wrong for him. However, with a recovery followed by a huge slam, Ooi wasted no time in rectifying the situation and took Rezza’s back for the fight-ending rear-naked choke just 33 seconds into the first round.

Ooi Aik Tong def. Rezza Azim via rear-naked choke, round 1

Fight 11 – Flyweights, Kenny Yap vs Muhammud Faizal

The first round was contested mainly on the floor and saw some good back and forth action. Kenny Yap began to take control in the second round by knocking Muhammad down to take mount and then taking his back to deliver some ground and pound. The third round saw a tired Kenny suffering at Muhammad’s hands on the ground before again being able to take the back to finish out the fight in dominant position.

Kenny Yap def. Muhammad Faizal via unanimous decision, round 3

Fight 12 – Lightweights, Allen Solomon Chong vs Zeus Lim

While not perhaps showing quite the flash and explosiveness as in his ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ quarterfinal encounter, Allen Solomon Chong was no less dominant in his semifinal fight. With Zeus clearly wanting to keep the fight standing, Allen rushed into the clinch time and time again and dragged his opponent to the floor each time. Once on the floor it was mainly a matter of holding onto dominant position which was the story of the fight. In the second round however, Zeus did manage to reverse into Allen’s full guard but was unable to do much except land some soft ground and pound. The third round played out much the same as the first with Chong securing the takedown and remaining on top and dominant for the rest of the round.

Allen Solomon Chong def. Zeus Lim via unanimous decision, round 3.

Fight 13 – Welterweights, Chew Chee Chan vs Teh Kah Wei

The Godzilla team is currently training with wrestler Matt Pellino and it’s certainly showing as Chew employed a takedown heavy gameplan and stayed on top during his fight with Teh Kah Wei. While Teh came out aggressively in all three rounds with good striking, Chan made it clear that he wanted the fight on the ground and employed some crisp double-legs to get it there. Once on the ground he worked from half-guard, the mount and side control to deliver nasty ground and pound, including hurtful knees to the body from side control. This pressuring top control allowed very little offence from his opponent and Chew received a well-earned three round decision.

Chew Chee Chan def. Teh Kah Wei via unanimous decision, round 3

Fight 14 – Lightweights, Shammah Chandran vs Chew Chee Hui

Chew Chee Hui wanted to emulate his brother in taking the fight to the ground, which he managed to do after suffering some stinging shots from Shammah. On the ground it looked as if Chandran was in severe danger as he gave up a crucifix position and was the recipient of some grounded punches. However, he never gave up and wriggled away from Chew to regain his full guard, switching very soon to a tight triangle and forcing Chew to ask out of the fight.

Shammah Chandran def. Chew Chee Hui via triangle choke, round 1.

With the semifinal fights in the books, MIMMA is now to the finals with some very exciting matchups that will take place. The standouts to watch include Godzilla gym representative Chew Chee Chan and Penang Budo Academy judoka and BJJ specialist Ooi Aik Tong who will be going head to head in a real pick’em fight. Muhd Aiman is clearly very talented and aggressive and his Ben Henderson looks and fighting style make him the favourite at Bantamweight. Perhaps the most closely contested fights will be at Heavyweight and Lightweight, where Adrian Tham’s ground game will pit him against the dangerous striking and confidence of his big opponent Mohd Narshaiful, and we will see the flashy exuberance and lethal BJJ of Allen Solomon Chong take on the never-say-die attitude and rapidly improving Shammah Chandran. Those two weightclasses promise to bring real fireworks.

With all of the contestants having gained a great deal of valuable experience over the course of the tournament, the cream that has risen to the top proves to be an exciting group of fighters to watch. The finals of the first ever Malaysian Invasion Mixed Martial Arts Tournament is going to be a very special night indeed.

MIIMA Final Matches
June 15, 2013
Stadium Negara
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Flyweight
Ngeoh Jian Chong vs Kenny Yap

Bantamweight
Prabu ‘Superman’ Somanaidu vs Muhammad Aiman

Featherweight
Muhammad Ikram vs Keanu Subba

Lightweight
Allen “Solomon” Chong vs Sharma Chandran

Welterweight
Ooi Aik Tong vs Chew Chee Chan

Middleweight
Hafiz Salam Chandran vs Jim Chong

Heavyweight
Mohd Narshaiful aka Badang vs Adrian ‘Tuck Man’ Tham

Official MIMMA Ring Girl Competition Winners

Lisha Ho and Merveen Tan

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