Martial Combat is a brand new MMA promotion based in Singapore which is fast establishing itself as a major player on the South East Asian scene.
It is the brainchild of Victor Cui of ESPN Star Sports and is being broadcast to over 30 countries across Asia. The show features a mixture of established veterans and up and coming prospects. Probably the most recognizable name to appear on any of the cards announced so far is Muhsin Corbbrey.
Securing the signature of Corbbrey represents a major coup for the ESPN matchmakers, this lightweight contender may have lost his last two fights but he is a WEC and Elite XC veteran who lost a close and controversial fight to Nick Diaz in 2008.
I caught up with Corbbrey at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket where he is preparing for his fight against unbeaten Chinese fighter Wu Cheng Jie.
He had this to say about the Diaz loss, 'That fight was scheduled for 160 lbs. I weighed in at 158 lbs so I was well underweight. They told me he wasn't going to make weight but I had spent months training and I had sponsors and I wasn't going to turn the fight down.'
Corbbrey claims Diaz weighed 193 lbs on fight night, whereas he was only 170 lbs, and believes the fight was stopped prematurely,
'There were 30 seconds to go when the referee stopped it. I think he should have let it go and Sherdog had me winning the first two rounds.'
While he acknowledges the Elite XC judges might not have felt the same way it was still a career defining loss for Corbbrey. He is hoping to get back to winning ways on June 17th and should be far too good for the relatively unknown opponent he is facing.
Veteran fighter Ray Elbe who lost to DaMarques Johnson on TUF 9 is working as a commentator and will also be fighting on the show. He thinks it is great news for MMA fighters in the region,
'I have fought for promotions all over the world but this is one of the most professional shows I have ever been involved with. It is a great chance for fighters to gain exposure because it is being broadcast to over 310 million homes across Asia. I think Martial Combat will take MMA here to the next level.'
Up and coming fighters on the card on the 17th include Joe Ray who made his debut on the undercard of Strikeforce Miami and is currently 2-0 with two stoppage wins. He has great hands and good stand up but Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt Zorobabel Morerira is likely to put his ground game to the test.
There are two cards on consecutive nights, each with five fights. One of Australia's best known mixed martial artist, Ian Bone, will be up against experienced American journeyman Matt Delanoitt on June 16th. Delanoitt's team mate Aaron Steele has the biggest fight of his career against Korean veteran Jong Man Kim who has fought for K-1, M-1 and Deep.
One of the most promising prospects in the Phillipines, Eduard Folayang will be in action the following night. He was being heavily tipped with the UFC until he got brutally knocked out by Jon Tuck last year. He bounced back with a win earlier this year and will be looking for another win against Egon Racz, who is a world class Muay Thai fighter.
Two top Korean fighters are also in action. Yun Seob Kwak is up against BJJ black belt Arthur Cesar, a bjj black belt and holds a decision win over Rousimar Palhares while Neofight welterwight champion Do Won Seo will be facing american wrestler brian choi.
This is one of the most exciting things to ever happen to MMA in the region and is going to grow and grow.