Tuesday, January 29, 2019

IMMAF Moves Asian Open - Abu Dhabi Warriors 5 - ONE Heros Ascent and Saku Returns



I’ve got to start out with the big news on the amateur scene. IMMAF The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation has been forced to pull their 2019 Asian Open Championships out of China. The good news is that it will be landing here in Bangkok, they will announce the new date soon. I am going to try and set up an interview with Plai the president of the Thai Mixed Martial Arts Federation to get his take on it, but I am sure he is super excited for this.

IMMAF has had bureaucratic issues with MMA in China in the past and I am sure this is no different. Of course, it’s a massive market that everyone wants to tap, but there are barriers to entry there, even ONE Championship and the UFC have struggled with China at various times.

Personally, I think IMMAF under Kerith Brown's leadership has done some fantastic things for the sport, and to the same effect TMMAF here in Bangkok under the leadership of Plai has been fantastic so I think Bangkok is the absolute best options for the Asian Open Championships.

I’ll definitely have more info on this as it develops.

Over the weekend we saw Abu Dhabi Warriors 5 take place in, well Abu Dhabi. The biggest outcome there was UFC vet Oli Thompson get a second-round stoppage against Cage Rage vet Roman Webe via TKO.

Another notable fight on that card was UFC vet Rolando Dy out of the Philippines who also pulled a second-round stoppage via TKO.

This is the 5th outing for Abu Dhabi Warriors, but this was also their first event since 2016. unfortunately, this type of promotional inactivity is a common thread across Asia as the economics of the fight game are clearly difficult to figure out at a smaller scale.

With any luck, we will see some more shows from Abu Dhabi Warriors in the near future.
On to ONE Championships Hero’s Ascent in Manila over the weekend.

The main event saw Adriano Moraes face off against the champ Geje Eustaquio, this was an amazing fight that went back and forth, at the end, I fully expected this to go in the Champs favor, but I was surprised, as I think a lot ware that the decision went to Moraes.

I’ve taken a lot of issues with ONEs judging over the years, I am not a fan of judging a fight as a whole, It’s not a street fight, it’s a sport and they fight in rounds for a reason. I don’t think that the whole 10 point must system is the best judging criteria out there either, but judging by round is a much better fit for the format of the sport. I’ve seen a lot of judging decisions in ONE that were very questionable over the years.

The most recent Angela Lee vs Mei Yamaguchi fight from 2018 comes to mind, after 5 rounds everyone I was sitting in the press section thought for sure Mei had just easily handed Angela her first defeat but when the decision was announced Angela won via Unanimous Decision.

It’s all a conversation for another day if you guys want to see me do a whole episode on Judging Criteria let me know.

Lastly, in super fanboy news, the legend, the Gracie Killer, Sakuraba will hit the mats for Quintet Fight NIght 2 for a submission grappling match on February 3rd.

Who doesn’t want to see Sakuraba come back and do just about anything? I mean if he came back for an ice cream eating contents I would pay for the PPV because he is just that much of a legend.

That is all I have to say about that.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The First Fights for Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez in ONE Championship, Matt Hume Conflict of Interest



By now just about everyone knows that ONE Championship has announced the first matchups for Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alverez which are both slated to fight on their first ever show in Japan, entitled “A New Era” on March 31st next year. Which was already a stacked card before they added DJ and Eddie to it.

Let’s kick it off with Eddie Alvarez whos last fight had him suffer a KO defeat to Dustin Poirier and he’s only tasted victory in a single outing in his last four fights. That being said he is a former UFC champ and has been fighting exceptional talent for years.

His first opponent in ONE will be 12 and 4  Timofey Nastyukhin, who is coming off a first-round KO loss to Saygid Arsianaliev earlier this year.

I wouldn’t call Timofey a top tier fighter just yet in his career, he has notable wins over Rob Lisita and Eduard Folayng, but he hasn’t put together a body of work that would make me think he is ready for Eddie Alvarez at this juncture.

That doesn’t mean he’s hands down outmatched here, he’s at a point where this could be the win that shoots him into that top tier. He’s got all the tools, we just need to see if he can execute against someone of Eddie's caliper. We’ll find out in March.

Now, that brings us to DJ. And this is where we have to jump into a much more detailed conversation.

Now Demetrious Johnson might be coming off a loss to Henry Cejudo, But he is still considered by many, myself included, to be one of the greatest fighters to ever strap on 4oz gloves.

The things he accomplished at 125lbs in the UFC, against the best in the sport are amazing. So no matter who he faces first it’s going to seem like an unfair fight. But when I see he is facing 10 and 3 Pancrase veteran Yuya Wakamatsu I have to scratch my head.

I understand that ONE probably doesn’t want DJ to jump right into the title picture, but he has to be in that top tier right off the bat.

I was a bit surprised that he wasn’t matched with Danny Kingad who actually handed Wakamatsu his most recent loss.

Or the fight I really want to see would be against former Flyweight champ Karait Akhmetov. Who is an absolute beast. Now that is the fight I think everyone who follows Asian MMA wants to see in ONE Championship.

Unfortunately, I have to bring this up, but one of the things that will always be a concern with DJ fighting in ONE Championship until it’s addressed is that his coach, Matt Hume is also the matchmaker and VP of Operations for ONE Championship, that is a clear conflict of interest.

I’ve yet to hear anything form ONE on if they will be putting a system in place to ensure that Matt Hume isn’t involved in any of DJs matchmaking or any other aspect of his fights, and I reached out to ask that question to several people at ONE and they basically told me it’s not something they are addressing at this point.

To be clear, I’ve never observed anything from Matt Hume that would make me think there is something underhanded going on or that there would be. The few times I’ve met him he’s been great, and all the people I know who work with him on a regular basis at ONE have nothing but positive things to say about him. But that conflict of interest is still a reality that ONE should really address and put to bed.

All that aside, I am still excited to see DJ in ONE and I can’t wait for this fight. And with any luck, he moves right into a title shot and starts rocking some crazy e-sports content for ONE as well.

As I mentioned at the top of the episode the rest of that Japan card is stacked! There are three title fights on the card, Woman's Strawweight champ Xiong Jin Nan will face woman's atomweight champ, Angela Lee. Middleweight champ Aung La N Sang will face off with Ken Hasegawa and lightweight champ Eduard Folayang will go toe-to-toe with Asian MMA Legend Shinya Aoki.

What do you guys think of DJ and Eddies first matches in ONE Championship? Are they what you expected? Or were you hoping for something different?

Let me know.

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Thursday, January 3, 2019

New Years MMA Recap Rizin 14 and ONE Championship




I am sure a lot of you know that New Year MMA is a sort of tradition in Asia going back to the Pride days, and it seems that RIzin has picked up that mantle. And while we didn’t have any fight action from ONE Championship we did get some interesting news from them that we’ll get into a bit later.

First things first we have to talk about Rizin 14 and Floyd Mayweather and his “fight”, or as I have taken to calling it, drive by worth 9 million dollars. He finished. Tenshin in the first round after three knockdowns the corner threw in the towel. I’m not sure how much of a fight this actually was, I don’t want to say it was a work, but it was fairly suspect… I’m just saying.

If, and this is a big if it wasn’t a work. Floyd Mayweather was bigger, more experienced and fighting under a ruleset he was comfortable with. Tenshin wasn’t able to utilize the kicks he’s known for and Floyd was never in trouble.

Other fights worth mentioning on the card:
Kyoji Horiguchi claimed the first ever Rizin bantamweight championship by choking out Bellator champ Darrion Caldwell in the 3rd round.

Former Invicta FC champion Ayaka Hamasaki defeated Kanna Asakura to claim the Rizin women’s super-atomweight title, via second-round armbar.

Openweight woman's fighter Gabi Garcia tapped out Barbara Nepomuceno with a first-round Americana. These are both big women, but Gabi was still a full 10kg heavier than Barbara, But at the end of the day this is the type of fight you expect in Japan, I guess I’m just happy that there is a platform for this type of freakshow fight still.

What is hands down one of the nastiest eye injuries I have ever seen Yusuke Yachi got a nasty cut to the right eye that ended his fight with UFC vet Johnny Case, google this, it’s just craz


y.
In ONE Championship news over the holiday break, they announced that they have inked a broadcast deal with TV Tokyo for weekly content, both live and recorded that will have them on free TV analog and digital as well as their cable platform.

This is the second major broadcast deal we have seen ONE sign to round out the year. This is a major win for ONE who I know sees Japan as a key market in their plans for global domination.

Of course, they are going to Japan with their first event there next march in a stacked card that not only has three titles on the line but also the debut of DJ and Eddie Alverez, But I’ll talk more about that in the next episode.

Chatri Sityodtong also announced that ONE Championship will have a crazy schedule with 45 events in 2019, it will break down like this

-24 ONE Championship events
-12 ONE Hero Series events
-6 ONE Warrior Series events
-3 ONE Esports events

That is an insane schedule, That is great for me though, ton’s of Asian MMA to cover!
In other news, I am now contributing to the rankings discussion at Asian Persuasion MMA, you can check them out over APMMA.net and I’ll leave a link to the rankings in the show notes.

Thanks all I have for you guys today, Happy New Year, and

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