(from l-r) victorious fighters Allamurad Karayev, Peter Davis and Samir Mrabet. Photo by Elise.
Mixed martial arts is gathering momentum in Malaysia at a rapid rate as anyone who read my report from my last trip to Kuala Lumpur will know (The Malaysian Capital of Kuala Lumpur is Learning to Love Mixed Martial Arts). On Saturday night Malaysian Fighting Championship organized 'Fight Night 3' which featured no fewer than 20 fights taking place inside a cage using slightly modified professional rules.
The 'Fight Night' events are normally held in discos or bars and this time the cage was installed in a courtyard area outside a restaurant and a crowd of around 500 gathered, with the fights also available to view on closed circuit TV in the surrounding area.
Malaysian Fighting Championship is owned and operated by local entrepeneur Paul Teo who is also the man behind Muay Fit an extremely successful fitness centre which is now turning its attention to offering MMA classes and recruiting talent to join its fighters program.
The main event featured Malaysian actor and model Peter Davis making a comeback to the cage. Davis had not fought since 2006 but is a well known figure because as well as regularly appearing in films and adverts he also runs an MMA class at Muayfit which attracts anything up to 50 students.
He was taking on Nursultan Arsen Uulu from Kyrgystan in a welterweight contest which was the 20th and final fight of the night. To the delight of his fans Davis made a confident start, landing a devastating body kick which buckled his opponent, before showing off some unorthodox yet explosive striking.
Uulu was able to recover from the early setback and landed a couple of punches of his own with Davis appearing to lose his footing. The Muayfit instructor has a black belt in an obscure Kung Fu style called 'Wuji Sanshou' and has a reputation as being a stand up specialist so it was something of a surprise when he shot for the takedown.
Once the fight was on the floor the Malaysian fighter was firmly in control and after comfortably escaping a guillotine attempt he moved from side control to mount seemingly at will before taking Uulu's back and sinking in a rear naked choke which forced the Kyrgese fighter to tap.
Speaking after the fight Davis admitted he was relieved to have come away with a win in front of so many of his students,
"I had a little bit off cage rust or ring rust or whatever you want to call it and that's the main reason I did the fight in the first place to knock that rust off and get back in shape. Unfortunately I got tonsilitis and I only trained twice in the last three weeks"
Davis weighed in well under the welterweight limit at 73 kgs putting him at a noticeable size disadvantage and will be looking to drop to lightweight for his next fight. He describes his style of fighting as follows,
"Wuji is a complete style which has takedowns and grappling as well as stand up and I've been doing it for 10 years, I have also been training BJJ and when I slipped on the surface in the cage, or whatever happened, I saw his legs and just decided to take him down. I'm confident on the ground, people think it's a hole in my game but that's not the case."
He plans to put some of his work commitments aside in order to focus more on mixed martial arts but is already discovering that a career as a model might not be compatible with a career as a cage fighter,
"I'm looking to get back in the cage in 2012 and I would love to fight for ONE Fighting Championship, I think it's every fighter's dream at the moment, but if I do my training regime will be something spectacular compared to this. I have been very busy with work and I also got sick before the fight which didn't help. I have a modelling job at 7am tomorrow so I hope my face isn't bruised!"
Samir Mrabet controls Hanif Salleh on the ground. Photo by Loo Yi Hou.
Earlier in the night one of Davis' Muayfit students, Allamurad Karayev, scored an impressive one punch knock out over Anis Syakir Abu Bakar from the Military Gym in Selangor. Karayev is from Turkmenistan but is based in KL and boasts an impressive 12-0 record including amateur fights.
There was a bit of BJJ royalty on the card in the shape of Alexsandro 'Leke' Machado who fought twice, taking on a much bigger opponent on the second occasion, and won both contests very comfortably. Leke is probably a bit too good to continue fighting at this level and looks ready to take a step up in terms of opposition.
His students at Impact MMA in Singapore also gave a very good account of themselves with Garie Tang, Royston Wee and Garrick Seah all posting first round wins. Belgian BJJ purple belt Samir Mrabet who is the head coach at Malicia Team Malaysia in KL won with a slick armbar in a fight which was restarted after being prematurely stopped (by me!).
Taktak Arai from Penang Fight Club also showed some surprisingly slick submission skills to win with an early armbar while another Malaysian to catch the eye was Melvin Yeoh from Ultimate MMA who finished his fight early with strikes. Special mention should go to the unfortunate Isamu Himura who had an opponent withdraw at very late notice and then a replacement also get cold feet after googling his name.
There was a crowd of approximately 500 people who gathered in the Riverside area of the city to watch the action and a total of 39 fighters got a taste of fighting in a professional setting. MMA in Malaysia might only be in its infancy but events on this scale will soon help to change that.