Asian MMA this weekend is all about the local scene tying into the national and international circle. April Fool’s Day is bound to produce some exciting action for local fans.
IMPI 6 1/4
Starting with IMPI World Series 6 on 1 April, the brainchild of MMA fighter Vuyisile Colossa, Hong Kong sees its only cage event host 12 fights in the 2,000-seat Southorn Stadium. There are 7 legit Hong Kong fighters on the card, plus Koreans, Filipinos, eight different countries represented by one each, and two South Africans from the promoter’s home country.
IMPI 6 is headlined by a women’s match between local hot prospect Ramona Pascual and Jennifer Lee Norris, fighting out of Singapore. Behemoth Ederson Macedo takes on a game Hong Ji-Won who is undefeated as an amateur, but probably not quite ready for the giant Brazilian black belt. To show how international of a city Hong Kong is, there’s even a Pakistan vs India bout.
The fights will be shown locally on Now TV and uploaded to YouTube later.
Thailand FC 2
The handiwork of Asia’s adopted million-fight-man Will Chope will be out in force in Thailand FC 2 in Kho Lak on Saturday as well. There are five homegrown Thai fighters on the card which is headlined by Topnoi (yes, THAT Topnoi) Thanongsaklek TigerMuayThai and pro debutant Michael Mondragon. Also, Rajdamnern and Omnoi champ Saksurin Thirayut Khaorat faces Setthawut Naimthanon.
There are also three Filipinos on the card, most notably the former URCC bantamweight title contender Reysaldo Transmonte who will go up against Canada’s Cole Smith.
Check out Thailand’s craziness on the Thailand FC Facebook page for live streaming on Saturday night (https://www.facebook.com/ThailandFightingChampionship).
OnePride Season 3
Skip over to Indonesia on 1 April for the growing rebirth of the national MMA scene as One Pride Season 3 kicks off live on nationwide tvOne. The ambitious project is the work of Indonesian standout fighter Fransino Tirta in conjunction with the government sanctioning board KOBI. It is a structured amateur series with tournaments and ongoing rankings.
Once there are enough good fighters developed in each weight class, tournaments are set to decide the champions. Indonesia has an excellent pool of stand up fighters, and the level of BJJ in the country is surprising. Since Indonesia’s predominant MMA promotion TPIC aired live across the country during the days of Pride, the MMA scene is well-placed for a strong resurgence. Fight videos are uploaded regularly on the website.
MIMMA Season 5
Malaysia’s breakthrough amateur tournament Malaysian Invasion MMA, which produced many of the athletes on Asia’s very first team sent to the IMMAF World Championships, is set to open tryouts for its 5th season. Produced by telecom juggernaut TuneTalk, MIMMA will start the tryouts in Johor on Aril 1st, then move to 4 other cities to the middle of May. Competitors from literally all walks of life sign up to test themselves at these try outs.
After that, selected applicants will be put through ladder matches. Those finishing to the grueling trials will make it to the season finale, then have a chance to face one of the champions in nine divisions. MIMMA streams many of their events and are always fun to watch because of unexpected amateur antics, hilarious commentary. Keep an eye out on its Facebook page.
Shooto Challenge 4
On Sunday, Shooto sets its next amateur event in Yamaguchi with Shooto Challenge Yamaguchi 4. This will be the start for many new Japanese fighters. Shooto has produced fighters like Kyoji Horiguchi, Hatsu Hioki, Caol Uno, Takanori Gomi, and Tatsuya Kawajiri. Who’s next?
DEEP Hachioji Chojin Matsuri 2017
Also on Sunday, another DEEP festival takes place, this time in Hachioji. Most of the card will be DEEP Kick (kickboxing), with the main event being Kohei Nishikawa versus Jarunchai KesaGym. There are 5 MMA bouts with one being in the “over 45” division which means years, not kilos. The card is punctuated by a 30-minute tag team 3-on-3 wrestling match between Jun Ishii, Shibata Masato, and Tomohiko Hashimoto versus Shogun Okamoto, Yasuo, and Akebono (yes, THAT Akebono).
This event won’t be live streamed, but perhaps it will be uploaded later to DEEP’s new bespoke streaming service for 777 yen per month.