In 2005 Beijing Jiu-Jitsu's Andy and Konrad Pi put together the first installment of China's biggest MMA promotion, Art of War Fighting Champsionship, at Beijing Sports University. Fast forward five years and one of that fateful night's combatants has taken a great leap forward in entering the world's biggest MMA promotion, thanks to a 53-second submission victory at Hong Kong's Legend FC 2 on June 24.
URCC MW Champ, Inner Mongolian San Da champion, BJJ purple belt, 10-0 Chinese prodigy, and all-around just scary dude, Zhang Tiequan (pronounced Johng Te Chew En), submitted New Zealand WW Champ Daniel Digby via guillotine choke in another display of Chinese dominance in Asian MMA. With Zuffa having made their intentions of entering the Chinese market clear, the scene is set for a Chinese fighter to enter the Octagon, and Zhang seems to be the man to do it. But before that, he will have the chance to fight for another championship belt at Legend FC 3 in September against a yet-to-be-named opponent.
Also at Legends FC 2, Zhang's China Top Team training partner, 23-year-old phenom, and provincial (Xin Jiang) San Da and Freestyle Wrestling champion, Li Jingliang (Jeeng Lee Ong), earned Fight of the Night honors for his hard-fought three-round MW battle with New Zealand's Pat Crawley. Having come up on the wrong end of a unanimous decision, Li has stated that his bout with Crawley would be the last time we'd see him fighting above his weight class.
However, top student of undefeated Chinese MMA star, Ao Hai Lin (Ow Hi Lean), Zhang Li Peng, did not fair as well as the BJJ-focused China Top Team competitors, as he and San Da fighter Wang Zhen both lost via 1st RD submission. China Top Team coach, Brazilian Top Team's Ruy Menezes, hopes to welcome Li Peng and other Chinese MMA fighters to train BJJ in the near future.
As if the need for BJJ wasn't clear enough in Chinese MMA, China Top Team itself held its first ever MMA show in Beijing's scenic Babaoshan district on June 12, with all CTT members leaving the rings with their hands raised. CTT fighters were up against steep competition as San Da, Shuai Jiao, and Freestyle Wrestling academies all sent representatives to the event. Headlined by Art of War veteran, Wang Sai (Wong Sigh), CTT's inaugural event was another successful attempt at showing the importance of BJJ in MMA to Chinese fighters.
Up next for Chinese MMA in July is the biggest clash of inter-Asian MMA talent to date, as China's Wang Guan (4-0-1) and the Philippines' top MMA prospect, Eduard "Landslide" Folayang (7-1), meet in a LW championship fight at Singapore's Martial Combat 5. The bout is of particular interest in that both Wang and Folayang come from Chinese Wushu and San Da backgrounds and are well-versed on the ground. Wang will be making his return to MMA after an almost 3-year layoff, during which he represented China in Muay Thai matches, while Folayang has won two bouts in 2010 in the 1st RD. For more on the Shaanxi San Da Champion visit http://www.soku.com/search_video/q_%E7%8E%8B%E5%86%A0.
(Footage of Chinese fighters mentioned can be found by copying and pasting Chinese characters into the search engine at youku.com: Zhang Tie Quan (张铁拳); Ao Hai Lin (敖海林); Wang Sai (王赛); Wang Guan (王冠); or Art of War (英雄榜) You can also visit the Art of War's offical website's (mmachina.com) Video Section: http://www.artofwarfc.cn/?q=taxonomy/term/2)
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