Culture | Mixed martial arts events to pack a punch in Southeast Asia
Angela Lee (left) and Mei Yamaguchi do battle earlier this year in Singapore. Photo: Action Images / Yaocheng Lee
Angela Lee (left) and Mei Yamaguchi do battle earlier this year in Singapore. Photo: Action Images / Yaocheng Lee

Power packed

Fans in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok are in for a treat as plenty of cage action is on the cards

January 9, 2017 2:28 PM (UTC+8)

For fans of mixed martial arts in Asia, ONE Championship has a couple of events in January that will get the new year off to a flying start.

In the Jakarta Convention Center, Indonesia, ONE: Quest For Power features a card of juicy matchups for the cage, including Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen against DEEP Featherweight Champion Kazunori Yokota on January 14.

“This fight means the most to me because he is the toughest of all my opponents so far,” said the 27-year-old Nguyen from Sydney, Australia. “[Yokota] is a veteran and has been in this game for so long.

“He is a veteran of 30-plus fights. He has more than double what I have, so I cannot imagine what he has been through. It is hard being a fighter, going through this emotional and physical ride.”

Also on the card are ONE Middleweight World Champion Vitaly Bigdash against Myanmar’s Aung La N Sang, taking the place of Marcin Prachnio, who had to withdraw due to injury as well as longtime heavyweight competitor Igor Subora making his light heavyweight debut when he faces Sherif “The Shark” Mohamed.

An exciting prospect, Sherif is making his promotional debut, and is a former Evolution Light Heavyweight Champion sporting an impressive 8-1 record. Every one of his victories has come before the final bell, with four knockouts and four submission finishes.

On February 10, Ev “E.T.” Ting, who is of Malaysian heritage and lives and trains out of the New Zealand city of Auckland, faces 39-year-old fight veteran Kamal “Prince of Persia” Shalorus.

Victor Cui, chief executive of ONE Championship, is bouyant about the return to Malaysia.

The goal for 2017 is to be an active champion and to stay busy. Since my last fight, I’ve been training extremely hard, improving my skill set, and I can’t wait to show everyone

“We can’t wait to be back in February. Ev Ting is the biggest Malaysian MMA star right now, and he is poised for another thrilling performance.”“It’s always an amazing time when the team is in Kuala Lumpur because Malaysian fans are so intensely passionate about MMA that the atmosphere in the stadium just hits a fever pitch,” said Cui.

Ting, who has amassed a stellar 12-3 record so far in his professional career, is a winner of his last three bouts over top-caliber opponents.

One of the most talented fighters to come out of Kuala Lumpur, eight of Ting’s 12 victories have come by exciting finishes, including four submissions and four knockouts.

As Ting’s popularity in Kuala Lumpur soars, he gets the chance to once again grace the ONE cage in the headlining bout against Shalorus.

The “Prince of Persia” is a mixed martial artist from Iran who sports a 9-4-2 professional record. He is an elite wrestler who also possesses the ability to finish his opponents with highlight-reel knockouts.

In March, Singaporean Angela Lee, who will defend her women’s atomweight title against Taiwan’s Jenny Huang when ONE Championship hosts its second mixed martial arts promotion in Thailand on March 11.

The 'Unstoppable' Angela Lee. Photo: Addison Sports Media and Management
The ‘Unstoppable’ Angela Lee. Photo: Addison Sports Media and Management

The 20-year-old Lee improved her perfect career record to six wins when she won the title in a unanimous decision against Mei Yamaguchi in May 2016. The fight in Bangkok will be her first defense.

“I had back-to-back fights leading up to the title fight, and after I won the belt, I took some time off,” Lee said. “The goal for 2017 is to be an active champion and to stay busy.

“Since my last fight, I’ve been training extremely hard, improving my skill set, and I can’t wait to show everyone.”

Huang also has a perfect record, winning her fifth fight against April Osenio by submission last month.

Five years older than Lee, Huang was later to start her MMA career than her upcoming opponent.

“I have been working so hard to come to this point in my career, and now that I’m finally here, it all feels very surreal to me,” Huang said.

“Inside the cage, I only have one goal and that’s to win this bout at any cost. She better be prepared for what I bring to the table, because I will go to battle with my full arsenal.”

ONE: Throne of Tigers will be the first even for ONE Championship in 2017. Photo: ONE Championship
ONE: Throne of Tigers will be held in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: ONE Championship

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