Monday, May 6, 2019

Asian MMA Weekend Recap May 3-5 2019

Before we get right into the fight action from the weekend, I’ve got to give a shout out to two fighters who have cut their teeth in the Asian MMA scene over the years and have been making some serious moves as of late.

First up a big shot out to Cole Smith who made a successful UFC Debut over the weekend. The Cole Train spent a lot of time training up in Chiangmai Thailand with Team Quest Thailand, under the tutelage of Dylan Fussell.

Cole cut his teeth in the Bangkok based promotion Full Metal Dojo, having an amateur fight under their banner, and making his pro debut with Thailand Ring Wars back in 2016.

This isn’t on Coles record, but if my memory serves me correctly I saw Cole fight in a very underground promotion out in Pathum Thani, Thailand called Ring Wars, this was pure grit, they set up mats in a parking garage, slapped some cage around it and held a one-day tournament. Amature, pro, it didn’t matter. You just showed up and banged.

The second shout out is to another FMD Alumn and Rizin Heavyweight Grand Prix finalist Amir Aliakbari who signed with the UFC over the weekend!

Amir is an Iranian beast who other than his only loss to the legend of CroCop has smashed everyone else he has faced, having gone the distance just once in his 10-1 career. He was basically the most feared heavyweight in Asian MMA for a long time, Also happens to be one of the nicest dudes in the game.

He was training out of AKA Thailand with Mike Swick for a while, I’m not sure if that is still the case, I have heard conflicting reports, and have not had that confirmed by Amir as of yet.

It looks like he will be making his UFC debut on their upcoming Abu Dhabi show in September, no opponent has been announced, but I am looking forward to that one for sure.

One thing that has to be pointed out regarding Amir is that he has a lifetime band from wrestling due to a positive PED test. Of course, we all assume that fighting for Rizin and ACB these types of things are not an issue, but signing with the UFC means he will have to enter their USADA testing pool.

My hope is that this won’t impact his ability to compete in the UFC, but only time will tell. But my fingers are crossed.

On to this weekends events.

The first one is the IMMAF Asian Open Championships held right here in Bangkok. Now Bangkok was a last minute replacement location for the championships. They were supposed to be held in China, but there were some administrative difficulties so the Thailand branch of IMMAF stepped up and organized the tournament on about two months notice.

The event went really well. It was held right in the middle of the city, so it was easy to get to. And they put on three days of amazing fights.

The tournament was full representative of the Asian members of IMMAF, but what we saw when you look at the results were that for the most part Kazakhstan and Bahrain pretty much dominated every single division.

Of the 15 divisions, just 3 were won by fighters from other countries, and of the 15 division, Kazakhstan won 7 of them. There is something special in the water there. Clearly, the wrestling base played a very big role in the Kazak teams success, as did their overall conditioning.

It was really 3 amazing days of events, I plan to have Plai the head of TMMAF which is the local chapter IMMAF here on the show later this week to discuss the event overall and the state of amateur MMA in Asia, because there are some exciting things happening.

Lastly, we had ONE For Honor that took place in Jakarta on Friday. The main event was a ONE Superseries Muay Thai championship fight between Sam-A and Jonathan Haggerty which saw Haggerty outwork Sam-A and knock him down twice over five rounds to secure the victory and become the new ONE flyweight Muay Thai champ.

It was a great fight from bell to bell and a hard-fought win for Haggerty.

The Co-Main event was the ONE Championship debut of Yushin Okami against Kiamrian Abbasov.

The fight got off to a good start, Yushin hit a fantastic trip takedown and dominated position on the ground, but Abbasov was able to shut down any real office for the remainder of the round.

In the second round, Abbasov came out swinging and caught Yushin with a right that dropped him.
Abbasov jumped on top and was landing some pretty good shots and was clearly working to finish when the ref jumped in to save Yushin.

This was a tough one for me, I don’t think Yushin was going to be able to turn this around, but at the same time, I think the ref stopped this one just a bit early. It looked like Yushin was still trying to adjust his position and avoid some shots. At this level, you have to give a veteran like Yushin every opportunity to find his way out and I don’t think that was done here.

Host: dana blouin
Producer: Emily Barner
Executive Producer: dana blouin

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