ESPN Star Sports, one of the biggest sports providers in Asia, decided to make a venture into MMA with an organization dubbed as Martial Combat - 'Asia's Ultimate Mixed Martial Arts Fighting Championship'. They're promising to be the largest MMA broadcast in Asia, with over 60 hours of content, shown to 310 million viewers in 24 different countries.
It's a lofty claim and a hard goal to maintain, especially when they're trying to get good ratings from a sport that isn't universally accepted yet - but if they manage stay with ESPN, Martial Combat can guarantee exposure to tons of eyeballs all over Asia, making it easier for them to get fighters and partner up with some of the top promotions from Asian countries like Thailand, India, Korea, China, Singapore, and the Philippines.
The event, which will be held in Resorts World, a $6 billion project and theme park in Sentosa, Singapore, has officially announced their May 12-13th cards. Here's a quick rundown of the headliners:
Headlining the May 12 fight card will be former World Kickboxing Champion, Muay Thai Kings World Cup Champion, and one of the most respected fighters in Asia - Ole "Iron Fist" Laursen. "Iron Fist" will wage battle against the Brazilian sensation Eduardo "The EduCator" Pachu.
Also confirmed is 11-year fight veteran and Brazillian Ju Jitsu Mundial World Champion Leandro Issa. Issa currently calls Singapore home and is training out of the prestigious Evolve Mixed Martial Arts Gym under the legendary instructor and Mundials BJJ Black Belt World Champion Rafael "Gordinho" Lima. Issa will face China`s top-ranked MMA fighter Yun Jiang Long.
The May 13th main event and SuperFight Championship will showcase Singapore`s very own MMA sensation - Mitch "The Dragon" Chilson. "The Dragon" brings a string of 16 international wins and has earned a reputation at a talented fight tactician. He will be facing Taiwanese undisputed and reigning three-year Sanda Champion (since 2008) Zhang Jing Xong.
Also competing in the May 13 card is Neo Fight Korea's Dooje Chung (Doo Jae Jung), as he faces the only American in the card, David Gardner, who is more known for his "Hello Japan" antics on his bout against Shinya Aoki. Undefeated URCC Flyweight Champion and wushu expert, Kevin Belingon will also be participating, as he is matched up against Ngoo Ditty, of the famed Tiger Muay Thai camp.
Here's the full fight card for the 2-day Martial Combat event next month:
1. [67 kg] -- Jiang Long Yun (UMAC, China) vs Leandro Issa (Evolve, Brazil/Singapore)
2. [73 kg] -- Wang Guan (UMAC, China) vs Sabah Fadai (URCC, Philippines)
3. [80 kg] -- Wiktor Swennson (Tiger Muay Thai, Sweden/Thailand) vs Dong Ho Han (Neo Fight, Korea)
4. [87 kg] -- Yoann Gouaida (Legacy, France) vs Bhupesh Kamble (Tiger India, India)
5. [73 kg] -- Ole Laursen (Legacy, Denmark) vs Eduardo Pachu (Evolve, Singapore)
1. [60 kg - below] -- Kevin Belingon (URCC, Philippines) vs Ngoo Ditty (Tiger Muay Thai, Thailand)
2. [93 kg - Above] -- Yang Yu Cun (UMAC, China) vs Joon Soo Lim (Neo Fight, Korea)
3. [73 kg] -- David Gardner (Team Quest, USA) vs Doo Jae Jung (Neo Fight, Korea)
4. [93 kg] -- Martin Singh (Tiger India, India) vs Zhang Jian Jun (UMAC, China)
5. [67 kg] -- Zhang Jing Xong (Tough MMA, Taiwan) vs Mitch Chilson (Evolve, Singapore)
These are the first 2 out of 60 events planned for the ESPN shows, with the next 2 to be held on June 16 and 17. URCC officials have informed BloodyElbow.com that the Philippines' top fighter, Eduard Folayang, is set to compete on that card, after he returns from competing in Wushu/SanShou this May.
Promo video for Martial Combat is after the jump.