Zorobabel Moreira of Brazil (right) performs an arm bar submission move on Japan’s Felipe Enomoto during the ONE FC War of the Lions MMA event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on March 31. Photograph: ONEFC.COM
One fighting Championship, Asia’s premier mixed martial arts organisation, continues its expansion throughout the region this weekend with its first Malaysian event.
The fight night, on Saturday at Kuala Lumpur’s Stadium Negara, is billed as ONE FC: Destiny of Warriors, and follows successful ventures into Indonesia and Singapore.
Mixed martial arts is one of the fastest-growing full-contact combat sports.
Combining techniques from various fighting disciplines, it has become a sport of its own in which combatants seek to finish their opponents with punches, kicks or submissions.
It has rapidly grown from no-holds-barred, anything-goes bloodfests into a billion-dollar industry.
Looking to get a slice of this lucrative pie is ONE FC, led by Canadian Victor Cui. Backed by a 10-year deal with ESPN STAR Sports, ONE FC has managed to sign several top international fighters and has secured the rights to Asia’s best MMA individuals.
After selling out in Jakarta and twice in Singapore, ONE FC now brings the action to Malaysia. Even before the first bell, the event can be deemed a financial success, as organisers had to shift to the 8,000-seater Stadium Negara because of high demand.
Headlining the show is a clash between light heavyweights Renato “Babalu” Sobral of Brazil and Japan’s Tatsuya Mizuno.
Sobral, a former Strikeforce and Pride veteran, has carved a name for himself battling the best fighters in the world.
Never one to back down, he loves to get into exciting fast-paced brawls with his opponents in the cage.
The man standing across from him is likely to indulge in making this an up-tempo, exhilarating fight.
Mizuno is the best Japan has to offer in this weight class (84-93kg). A third-degree black belt in judo, he has shown a repertoire of moves, with a good mix of knockouts and submissions.
Also fighting on Saturday night are Singaporeans, Filipinos and Malaysians, with a cast of Brazilian, American and French fighters as well.
To contact the reporter on this story: Gerald Ng at [email protected]
Reporting from Kuala Lumpur