One Fighting Championship, Asia’s leading mixed martial arts promotion, kicks off its 2014 calendar in Kuala Lumpur with a blockbuster event scheduled for March 14 at the iconic 10,000-seat Stadium Negara.
The main event of ONE FC: War of Nations has been announced as a titanic clash between Japanese striker Nobutatsu Suzuki and American submission specialist Brock Larson for the inaugural welterweight world champion belt.
Two of the top bantamweights in the region, Kevin Belingon of the Philippines and South Korea’s Kim Dae-hwan, will meet in the co-main event while Brazilian flyweight Adriano Moraes battles Yasuhiro Urushitani of Japan.
The fight card will also feature the highly anticipated rematch of Asia’s top female cage fighters as Sherilyn Lim of Singapore takes on Malaysia’s Ann Osman. Home fans can also look forward to the return of Malaysian MMA star Peter Davis, whose opponent will be announced at a later date.
“Following the resounding success of ONE FC’s jam-packed events in Malaysia in 2013, we are returning to Kuala Lumpur with one of the best cards in the organisation’s history,” ONE FC CEO Victor Cui stated in a press release.
“Fans around the world have been eagerly awaiting the next ONE FC world championship title belt to be introduced, and now, the wait is over. The ONE FC welterweight division is filled with the most talented mixed martial artists in the world and we will crown the best of the best when Nobutatsu Suzuki meets Brock Larson.”
All the action can be watched live on local channel MyTV as well as international broadcaster Star Sports.
Suzuki (10-1-2) is a fighter with undisputable knockout power, recording nine of his 10 professional wins by way of stoppages. The 36-year-old Kyokushin Karate black belt pioneered the use of the Japanese discipline in the MMA cage, and last fought at ONE FC: Rise to Power in May 2013 when he defeated veteran combatant Phil Baroni of the US by TKO in the first round. Suzuki will be looking to use that explosive power to earn a Knockout of the Night bonus and leave with the coveted ONE FC title belt.
Larson (37-7) boasts a wealth of experience in several top organisations across the world. The 36-year-old made a successful ONE FC debut last April in Singapore when he overcame feared Dutch kickboxer Melvin Manhoef via unanimous decision. He now gets the opportunity to cement his legacy when he faces another elite striker in Suzuki.
Larson’s 26 submission victories are testament to his grappling prowess, which he will likely rely on heavily in his bid to be named the first ONE FC welterweight world champion.
Belingon (12-3) is the Philippines’ top bantamweight and has proven he can vie with the best in the world. The 26-year-old is coming off a first-round knockout win over David Aranda of Spain last month.
Belingon’s Korean opponent Kim (9-0-1) is undefeated in nine professional MMA bouts so far in his career, having made his promotion debut last month, defeating Australian grappler Thanh Vu via submission.
Kim, 26, is never afraid to brawl, consistently putting on Fight of the Night performances, and will look to move a step closer to a title opportunity as well as maintaining his record.
At ONE FC: Total Domination last October, Lim won her match via split decision over Osman after three back-and-forth rounds which had the 12,000 fans in attendance at the Singapore Indoor Stadium jumping off their seats.
Lim will once again be representing Singapore’s oldest mixed martial arts gym, Fight G, where she has been a member since 2007.
Osman is Malaysia’s first female mixed martial artist and has captivated the nation with her infectious personality and indomitable fighting spirit. She trains out of Borneo Tribal Squad in the mountainous region of Kota Kinabalu in the east of the country.
Although Cambodian fighters have yet to find a victory in four ONE FC bouts contested to date, company officials have voiced confidence that the Kingdom will be represented once again in Kuala Lumpur in March.