China’s premier MMA promotion RUFF is careening towards crowning its first title holders in February of next year with the Super Fight eliminations taking place this weekend, December 22nd, in Nanjing. This will make a prodigious total of five events in 2012, only its sophomore year of existence. RUFF spent several years working with the Chinese government on sanctioning and approvals prior to holding its inaugural event in Shanghai, and since then it has hosted events across China – in Chongqing, Hohhot, and now Nanjing. Although geared towards a Chinese audience via tertiary broadcasting and committed to primarily developing Chinese athletes including showcasing them on a reality television show, RUFF aims to satisfy MMA afficionados beyond the country’s borders with multiple live streaming internet portals and detailed information in English on how to access them.
The coming seventh edition will determine the opponents for those who have previously qualified for the National Championship fights and the mouth-watering one million RMB prize that goes with them. By limiting the eligible participants to MMA fighters who are Chinese or China residents, RUFF has honed in on a small yet rapidly developing talent pool, and this has allowed its audience to become familiar with the fighters and witness their growth. No place will this be more apparent than RUFF 7, a card stacked with much of China’s new generation MMA fighters who will be clawing tooth and nail for a chance to step back in the cage as a title contenders come February. The winners of this event will all face uphill battles against RUFF’s first round qualifiers – Wang Guan, Liu PingYuan, Rodrigo Caporal and Li JiXiang – who have cemented their positions by previously eliminating one or both of their potential opponents.
Jumabieke Tuerxun and Irshaad Sayed are resting safely for now, having already been announced as title contenders in what will culminate in a best-out-of-three scenario, with Bieke’s two decisions over Sayed weighing heavily in his corner.
Full fight card, and full press release below.
#9 – Meixuan Zhang (3 – 1 – 0) versus Zhifa Shang (3 – 1 – 0)
#8 – Haotian Wu (10 – 3 – 1) versus Arthit Hanchana (3 – 6 – 1)
#7 – Chengjie Wu (4 – 4 – 0) versus Chunbo Yuan (2 – 3 – 0)
#6 – Longyun Jiang (4 – 2 – 1) versus Han Jie (0 – 1 – 0)
#5 – Zilong Zhao (7 – 3 – 0) versus Handong Kong (0 – 1 – 0)
#4 – Sandro da Silva (2 – 2 – 0) versus (Qishan Wang) 0 – 0 – 0)
#3 – Eridemutu Zhao (1 – 1 – 0) versus Zhou Wen Jiang (1 – 4 – 1)
#2 – Zhenhong Lu (1 – 1 – 0) versus Liucai Cui (3 – 2 – 0)
#1 – Junfeng Zheng (1 – 0 – 0) Liang Yang (6 – 4 – 1)
Super Fight qualifiers size up RUFF 7 competitors
With the four final berths in the 2013 RMB 1,000,000 Super Fight up for grabs at RUFF 7 on December 22, 2012, previously-announced Super Fight qualifiers Wang Guan, Liu PingYuan, Rodrigo Caporal and Li JiXiang are eyeing up the competition as they await the final notice on their matchups for China’s first MMA national championship event.
Having previously faced Yuan ChunBo at RUFF 5, featherweight Wang Guan knows the ins and outs of the slick, Harbin-based Jiu Jitsu expert’s game. Wang, who walked away unscathed, with the unanimous-decision win, was heavily criticized for his inability to engage with Yuan on the ground. Yuan on the other hand had no match for Wang’s superior striking.
“[Yuan Chunbo]’s advantage is on the ground, standing defense and physical fitness,” comments Wang of Yuan’s upcoming showdown with teammate Wu ChengJie at RUFF 7. “His Jiu Jitsu is delicate with many unexpected actions.”
Commenting on Yuan’s opponent, Wu ChengJie, Wang Guan offers less insight, having never previously fought the ground-and-pound specialist.
“Wu ChengJie’s advantage in this fight may also be a drawback; he is very fast with the takedown and ground and pound,” states Wang Guan. “He will need to take advantage of [Yuan’s] defensive vulnerability.”
Flyweight qualifier Liu PingYuan also knows a thing or two about his potential Super Fight competitor, having previously topped both Zhang MeiXuan and Shang ZhiFa at RUFF 5 and RUFF 6 respectively.
Defeating both Zhang and Shang via a pair of split decisions, Liu has great insight into both fighters’ strengths and weaknesses, and is looking forward to a rematch with either man come the February 2, 2013 Super Fight.
“Shang [ZhiFa]’s advantage is wrestling . . . and Zhang [MeiXuan] will have to sprawl to keep it standing if he wants to win,” comments Liu PingYuan. “At RUFF 6 I fought a little too dependent on the ground. If I face [Shang ZhiFa at the Super Fight] I will beat him with Jiu Jitsu. At RUFF 5 Zhang MeiXuan was still a little anxious. If it’s Zhang [in the Super Fight], I’ll control the rhythm and take him to the ground.”
Both Shang ZhiFa and Zhang MeiXuan are hungry for a re-match against Liu PingYuan, as both fighters claimed to have won their previous contests. Aware that the competition is gunning for him, Liu PingYuan is prepared to showcase his flyweight dominance no matter whom he faces in the Super Fight.
“At the Super Fight I have a lot to prove. I will control the fight from the beginning and finish my opponent with a perfect victory.”
Rodrigo Caporal is another Super Fight qualifier who is prepared to face whoever comes out of the RUFF 7 title eliminator at RUFF’s 2013 MMA national championship event.
Having previously finished Wu HaoTian via KO at RUFF 5 and Arthit Hanchana via head-arm-choke submission at RUFF 6, Caporal is not relying on his previous victories, and is certain that whoever he faces at the Super Fight will present a whole new set of challenges for him.
“I know I deserve to be the champion of RUFF, [and] I want to fight the best,” exclaims Caporal. “Both [Wu HaoTian and Hanchana] are very good, [and] I can not compare them. There is never an easy fight.”
Also fighting at China first MMA national championship event is Li JiXiang, a light heavyweight who is determined to win the title and the 1-million RMB prize.
Currently 2-0 inside the RUFF cage, Li has already defeated both his potential Super Fight combatants, TKO-ing Kong HanDong at RUFF 4, and earning a hard-fought unanimous decision win over Zhao ZiLong at RUFF 5, in what is considered by many to be one of RUFF’s greatest fights to date.
Possessing a significant height and reach advantage over both Kong and Zhao, Li JiXiang has shown an ability to dominate both opponents in the standup game, and his superior conditioning and flexibility helped him escape from all of Kong’s flurry of submission attempts.
RUFF 7 will prove to be a pivotal battle, as four athletes will advance to the 2013 RMB 1,000,000 Super Fight, while the four losers will go home to start preparing for the next MMA season.
All of RUFF’s current Super Fight qualifiers: Wang Guan, Liu PingYuan, Rodrigo Caporal, Li JiXiang, Jumabieke Tuerxun, and Irshaad Sayed; are set to star in RUFF’s 10-part reality TV series RUFF Journey, which debuted on November 27, 2012, and will be broadcast weekly across China leading up to the Super Fight.
RUFF is China’s first professional government-sanctioned MMA organization, and with the 2013 RMB 1,000,000 Super Fight will become the first MMA organization in the world to crown a national champion.
For more on RUFF, RUFF 7, and the 2013 RMB 1,000,000 Super Fight, visit RUFFChina.com