Decorated Kun Khmer fighter Long Sophy made his professional MMA debut on the undercard of ONE FC: Champions & Warriors in Jakarta on Friday night, which ended in disappointment for the 23-year-old as he suffered a controversial second-round submission defeat.
The Battambang native, who trains out of A-Fighter MMA club in Phnom Penh, was always the underdog against hometown hero Max Metino. The Indonesian submission grappling specialist was also making his ONE FC debut, but came into the bout with over a decade of MMA experience.
Long Sophy showed that, despite his outstanding striking credentials, he is developing into a genuinely well-rounded mixed martial artist when he survived a first round spent primarily on the ground defending submission attempts from the Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ) purple belt.
The second round followed a similar pattern, with Metino able to successfully take the fight to the floor and work for a keylock (arm submission), which caused the referee to step in and stop the fight.
Sophy was incensed at the decision, stating that he never tapped or verbally submitted and replays seemed to support him.
Under MMA rules, a referee does not normally stop the fight due to a submission attempt until a fighter acknowledges defeat (either verbally or with a tap), loses consciousness or suffers a serious injury.
Sophy’s arm was not damaged and he was extremely frustrated to have his first bout under the banner of Asia’s biggest MMA organisation stopped prematurely,
“When he was on top of me in the second round I felt that he was tired and his strength was wearing down. He had me in the submission, but I never tapped and I don’t know why the referee stopped it,” he told the Post.
However, Metino thought the referee’s decision that went against his inexperienced opponent was the right one.
“[Sophy] doesn’t know what the dangers are when I apply the Americana [keylock submission]. The referee could not wait any longer,” he said.
The loss means that Sophy’s MMA record stands at 0-1. His fearsome Kun Khmer credentials make fighters in Cambodia reluctant to fight him, so he struggles to find opponents on the domestic scene willing to step inside the cage with him.
By surviving multiple submission attempts, Sophy did at least demonstrate that Cambodian fighters are not complete novices on the ground, and he says he hopes he will be given another shot by ONE FC.
“I want to come back and fight because I’m not satisfied. I never felt any pain today. I still don’t know what it means to feel pain in an MMA fight. I enjoyed fighting in front of such a big crowd and I want to fight again for ONE FC as soon as possible,” he added.
The main event at the packed out Istora Senayan Stadium saw South African muay Thai specialist Vuyisile Colossa claim a clear-cut decision victory over former ONE FC lightweight champion Kotetsu Boku.
The Japanese veteran was on the receiving end of a series of hard low kicks throughout the fight and Colossa also scored with knees, punches and elbows to claim his second win inside the ONE FC cage and move a step closer to a potential shot at the ONE FC 155lbs (70.3kg) title.
There were also big wins for lightweight Caros Fodor, featherweight Bruno Pucci and light heavyweight Jake Butler, while three of the four Indonesian fighters emerged victorious to the delight of the home crowd.
Next stop for Asia’s biggest MMA promotion is Singapore on October 18 when ONE FC: Total Domination will be headlined by a bantamweight unification bout between regular champion Soo Chul Kim of South Korea and interim champion Bibiano Fernandes of Brazil.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SUHAS BHAT
Official results from ONE FC: Champions & Warriors
Vuyisile Colossa (RSA) defeats Kotetsu Boku (JAP) by unanimous decision
Vincent Latoel (NED) defeats Willy Ni (IND/NED) by submission (guillotine choke) at 1:51 minutes of round 1
Jake Butler (USA) defeats James Kouame (CAN) by submission (arm triangle) at 2:11 minutes of round 1
Bruno Pucci (BRA) defeats Bashir Ahmad (PAK) by submission (rear naked choke) at 3:13 minutes of round 1
Vincent Majid (IND) defeats Eugenio Tan (MAL) by submission (keylock) at 1:30 minutes of round 1
Almiro Barros (BRA) defeats Kian Pham (AUS) by unanimous decision
Alain Ngalani (HKG) defeats Mahmoud Hassan (EGY) by knockout at 0:31 minutes of round 1
Caros Fodor (USA) defeats Yang Seung Ho (KOR) by unanimous decision
Max Metino (IND) defeats Long Sophy (CAM) by submission (keylock) at 3:24 minutes of round 2
Raymond Tan (MAL) defeats Brianata Rosadhi (IND) by submission (guillotine choke) at 0:21 minutes of round 1