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MMA event hosts semis

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ONE FC Bantamweight Grand Prix semi-finalists (L to R) Jens Pulver, Thanh Vu, Kevin Belingon and Masakatsu Ueda will fight on April 5. Photograph: ONE FC website

ONE FC Bantamweight Grand Prix semi-finalists (L to R) Jens Pulver, Thanh Vu, Kevin Belingon and Masakatsu Ueda will fight on April 5. Photograph: ONE FC website

One fighting Championship announced on Wednesday that the ONE FC Bantamweight Grand Prix semi-final fights will be featured at the ONE FC: Kings & Champions event to be held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on April 5.

Former world lightweight champion Jens Pulver, of the US, will take on Japan’s Masakatsu Ueda and Kevin Belingon, of the Philippines, will face Vietnamese-Australian Thanh Vu.

“ONE FC: Kings & Champions is the biggest event in ONE FC history and will feature four of the world’s best bantamweights fighting for a shot at the Bantamweight World Championship title,” ONE FC boss Victor Cui said in a press release.

“It’s a must-see for MMA fans, because when these four champions enter the ONE FC cage, nothing will matter more to them than making it into the finals of the Grand Prix.

“Get ready for explosive MMA action that will leave you on the edge of your seats.”

Pulver has competed for the top promotions in the history of MMA — the UFC, PRIDE and ONE FC — and he relishes the chance to represent the US at international competitions.

The 38-year-old, based in Crystal Lake, Illinois, has every intention of capping his incredible career by winning the ONE FC Bantamweight Grand Prix.

A true pioneer in MMA, Pulver brings a wealth of cage-fighting experience as he faces Japanese veteran Masakatsu Ueda.

Ueda is the former undisputed Shooto featherweight champion, a title he has successfully defended three times.

With an outstanding 16-2-2 record, he is a widely regarded as one of the world’s best bantamweight fighters.

Ueda has studied Brazilian jiu-jitsu extensively under legendary Japanese coach Yuki Nakai, who has also trained DREAM superstar Shinya Aoki.

Since making his debut in 2005, he has defeated current Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas while defending his Shooto belt.

With his impressive track record, Ueda will definitely be one of the  favorites to win the competition.

What Kevin Belingon lacks in size, he makes up for with his lightning-quick speed and well-honed striking skills.

The current URCC flyweight champion is considered one of the most dangerous strikers in the Asian bantamweight division.

Setting a fearsome pace, he can either aim for takedowns to rough up opponents with the ground-and-pound or keep it standing and pick them apart with his pinpoint-precision striking.

Belingon is incredibly enthusiastic about representing Pinoy warriors in the inaugural ONE FC Bantamweight Grand Prix because, as he puts it, there is no better feeling than fighting for Filipino pride.

Thanh Vu, a bantamweight, is already rated one of the best prospects in his weight class in Australia, where he currently competes.

Vu is a decorated grappler who has placed in the Grappler’s Realm Australia and Events BJJ tournaments.

Vietnam has a strong culture of martial arts but has produced few famous fighters, and Vu is looking forward to representing the country on the largest stage in Asian MMA.

He made quick work of his opponent in the Final Elimination Bout in February, and will look to do the same in April.

ONE FC: Kings & Champions will be headlined by the ONE FC lightweight world championship bout between reigning champion Kotetsu “No Face” Boku and number- one contender Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki.

The event will be broadcast live on Star Sports across Asia, as well as on the local channel MyTV in Cambodia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Riley at dan.riley@phnompenhpost.com

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