Khim Dima is set to become the second Cambodian to step into the ONE Fighting Championship cage after the mixed martial arts promotion handed him a bout in their upcoming event, Total Domination, in Singapore on October 18.
The 22-year-old, who hails from Poung Keab village in Sisaphon district of Banteay Meanchey province, will be facing Filipino wushu champion Rene ‘D’Challenger’ Catalan in a flyweight contest in front of an expected 12,000 cage fight fans at the Singapore Indoor Arena.
“I can’t believe I have the chance to fight at ONE FC,” Khim Dima told the Post yesterday. “MMA is such a new sport in Cambodia. I can’t say if I will win or lose, but I will try my best for the pride of my country.”
Khim Dima, currently a second year law student at Build Bright University, holds a Cambodian kickboxing record of 40 wins (including 12 by knockout), six losses and three draws, having fought out of Reaksmey Poung Keab Club. Nicknamed the Black Dragon, he was a 60kg champion at the CBF tournament on TV3 back in 2011 but has been training at his current club, A Fighter MMA gym in Phnom Penh, for the past seven months.
Like his club-mate Long Sophy, who lost to Indonesia’s Max Metino at ONE FC’s most recent event in Jakarta on September 13, questions will be asked about Dima’s ability to master all the disciplines concerned with cage fighting, especially those for groundwork such as wrestling and Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). However, his trainer Im Ouk reckons he will be “more than ready” come October 18 to take on Catalan, who won gold in the Chinese martial art of wushu at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.
“[Dima is] very confident about the fight,” Im Ouk told the Post. “His strength is his striking and he has no weakness. His ground game is pretty decent.
“With Long Sophy it was also going to be a grappler versus striker. We already know if the fight went to the ground, Sophy was going to be in trouble.
“With every fight there is always a different way to prepare and different game plan. With this fight it will be striker versus striker, so we have a few game plans in mind.”
Im Ouk noted that the gym was constantly trying to find new ways to train their Cambodian fighters to develop their own style in the cage.
“We’re teaching Dima many things in the cage to learn how to use the cage and understand that you can use the cage to your advantage if you know how to use it,” he added.
“In my opinion, he will knockout his opponent and take the win for Cambodia.”
Catalan has experience in the ONE FC cage, having made his debut at Kings & Champions in Singapore on April 5. He was submitted by armbar by Brazilian BJJ black belt Alex Silva at the end of the first round.
Cambodian fans can watch the action live from Singapore on local channel MyTV.
In addition to the Total Domination’s highly anticipated headlining match between ONE FC bantamweight world champion Soo Chul Kim of South Korea and interim champion Bibiano Fernandes of Brazil, the promotion has announced two other clashes.
The co-main event will see Japanese MMA superstar Shinya Aoki cutting down to make his featherweight debut in a non-title contest against American Cody Stevens.
On the undercard, Mitch Chilson of the US and Thailand’s Shannon Wiratchai will square off in the cage once again after their controversial previous bout in August 2012 was ruled a no contest when Shannon knocked out Chilson with an illegal soccer kick.
“ONE FC: Total Dmonation will feature two of the best pound-for-pound mixed martial artists, Bibiano Fernandes and Shinya Aoki, competing on the same night. Their opponents are hungry and will be looking to earn the biggest wins of their lives by defeating these two iconic superstars,” ONE FC CEO Victor Cui stated in a press release.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CHHORN NORN