JUST MMA will make its long-awaited return in March and a bantamweight bout has been added to the lineup.
Rising Hong Kong prospect Max Leali is set to face Japan’s Hiroki Yamashita at the Southorn Stadium on Friday, 13 March.
Leali (3-1-1) last competed in MMA in September 2018, where he picked up a win over Roberto Medalla at JUST MMA Hong Kong 3.
An ACL injury has kept him on the sidelines for 11 months, but he has been steadily building up competition time.
SEE MORE: Know this Fighter: Max Leali
Last October he won an amateur boxing bout at DEF Boxing, before heading to Europe for back-to-back jiu-jitsu competitions, where he placed silver in the Paris Open Gi and No-Gi.
Leali described 2019 as a “turbulent year” and said he was excited to get back to MMA.
“I want to buckle down and focus on MMA for the time being,” he told TFN. “Right now getting back to my career is my main priority.”
Leali credited his team for helping him through the rough times. “I’m honestly lucky I have the team I have,” he said.
“I’ve let myself get into negative spaces before and that sucks, so more than anything I didn’t let that really happen. I’m always focused on growing in some way or another.”
He will head into JUST MMA Hong Kong 4 riding two back-to-back wins.
His opponent brings a 7-7 record, having competed under Pancrase, Hex Fight, DEEP and more recently Grachan. Last December he snapped a three fight skid to pick up a win against Kaito Sakamaki at GRACHAN 42.
JUST MMA Hong Kong 4 will go down at Southorn Stadium on 13 March. It will be the promotion’s first event of the year after postponing previous dates due to the political unrest across the city.
A handful of rising athletes are expected to be on the card, including young MMA hopeful Andy Tang, who most recently competed in the GRACHAN 42 x GLADIATOR 011 card in Tokyo.
Tang (2-0) will meet Full Metal Dojo alumni Natthatorn Tampiyanan in a featherweight scrap, while Ukraine’s Narek Arutiunian meets Rasul Tezekbaev.
Arutiunian vs Tezekbaev is an intriguing match-up. Arutiunian is a submission specialist and remains undefeated, while Tezekbaev is a former ADCC Asian & Oceanic champ.