These promoters and CEOs may be the top honchos in Asian MMA, but when it comes down to it, they're also big fans of MMA just like you guys. I managed to get the founders of several of the top organizations in Asia to make time out of their busy schedules, to let their guard down, and to just talk about the sport they love. Here are the major players in the Asian MMA industry and their thoughts on the biggest UFC bout of the year.
Victor Cui, Founder and CEO of ONE FC: Who hasn’t been dying to see this match-up? It’s probably one of the most anticipated fights in the history of MMA and for most people, I’d say picking Overeem is an obvious bet. But it’s tough to say how he’ll deal with the new pressure of his mother’s unfortunate illness. I think Lesnar is finally healthy, has a lot to prove and I love the underdog. I’m predicting Lesnar to win by KO.
EJ Calvo, CEO and Promoter of Pacific X-Treme Combat (PXC): Brock Lesnar will ground and pound and win by unanimous decision.
Alvin Aguilar, Founder and CEO of the URCC: Even though I want Brock to win because I have always been a WWE fan, I really think this will be Alistair all the way. He is a K-1 level striker who has beaten one of the all time greats of K-1, in Peter Aerts. Also, we have seen that when Brock gets hit, he doesn't really take it very well. Alistair is also an ADCC level grappler, so we know he is no slouch on the ground. Brock's only chance would be to GNP him but if it stays standing he is going to be in a lot of trouble.
Chatri Sityodtong, Founder and CEO of Evolve MMA: I predict that Overeem will KO Lesnar by the 2nd round. Overeem has excellent takedown defense and KO power. Lesnar is awkward at striking with a tendency to run when he gets hit. Size and strength won't be as much as a factor in this fight because both guys are huge monsters.
Michael Haskamp, Promoter and Co-Founder of Legend FC: I give this one to Lesnar. I'm not a huge Brock fan, but he's an enormously strong and very gifted athlete with a great wrestling base, which is an Overeem weakness. More importantly, I think Overeem has a lot of things working against him:
a. Overeem has spent much of his career (and most of his recent fights) crushing cans. The guys he's gone up against have for the most part been second-tier heavyweights with some combination of clear holes in their game and momentum (e.g. a string of losses, age, etc.) working against them. For a long time he was signed with promotions that either didn't have good heavyweights to put up against him, or who didn't want to derail the marketing train by giving him fights he might actually lose. To a large extent, this was outside his control. I've seen this happen with a couple of fighters in some promotions, and it sucks to be in a position where you're not improving or gaining credibility because you're not being challenged.
b. Related to (a), in most cases where Overeem has been matched up against top-tier fighters, he's come up on the losing end. Examples include Shogun (twice), Nogueira (twice), and Kharitonov.
c. Apparently, his new UFC contract has caused a rift between him and his now former team (Golden Glory). Whenever a fighter leaves his team, it has a big psychological effect on him. Considering the circumstances under which Overeem in particular left his team, the increasing amount of negative press he's getting because of it, and the break in the consistency of his training, it's going to have a serious detrimental effect on his performance.
Then again, this is MMA, and with Brock's suspect chin, all it might take is for one Overeem punch to find its mark...
Picked Overeem: URCC, Evolve MMA
Picked Lesnar: ONE FC, PXC, Legend FC
After the jump, each these key players, CEO's and promoters state their case on why UFC fans should also watch Asian MMA and their product.
Why should UFC fans watch Asian MMA and your product?
Michael Haskamp, Promoter and Co-Founder of Legend FC: Asia is the birthplace of martial arts. Almost everything that UFC fans love to see in the cage has its roots in this part of the world. And because in most of this region, MMA is still a relatively new sport, I find that fighters here are hungrier and looking to prove themselves more, which leads to more aggressive and exciting fights.
I think Legend in particular is the best place for US fight fans to watch Asian MMA because of our basic premise: focus exclusively on native Asia-Pacific fighters, find the best guys in every country in the region, and match them up in a contest for regional supremacy. If you're looking for the best in Asia-Pacific MMA, every single one of our fight cards reflects that promise from top to bottom. And given our broadcast footprint, UFC fans can find a way to watch us in nine countries around the world, including the US and Canada!
Chatri Sityodtong, Founder and CEO of Evolve MMA: The essence of Asian MMA is the exciting, adrenaline-pumping finish, be it by KO or submission. If you want to see lots of KOs and submissions, then just come watch the Evolve Fight Team from Evolve MMA. DREAM FC Champion Shinya Aoki from the Evolve Fight Team exemplifies the essence of Asian MMA and the fighting spirit on the Evolve Fight Team. Win or lose, he comes to finish fights in the most dramatic, electrifying manner. With World Champions in Muay Thai, BJJ, Boxing, MMA, and No Gi Grappling, the Evolve Fight Team is Asia's most decorated professional fight team.
Alvin Aguilar, Founder and CEO of the URCC: They should watch it because there are so many talented and exciting fighters they have not seen in Asia who are also world class. The fighters in URCC ALL go for the win. You won't see any spoiled fighters who are scared to lose, and play it safe with the time. The fighters in the URCC always go all out!
EJ Calvo, CEO and Promoter of Pacific X-Treme Combat (PXC): UFC & MMA fans in general should look to Asia for the future stars of the sport. Pacific X-treme Combat makes its home in the Asia-Pacific region, and turns out more UFC talent than any organization outside of Japan. PXC fighters fight at the highest level in Asia, and in 2012, we are expecting to see at least 2 more PXC fighters to move to the UFC ranks to compete with the best in the world.
Victor Cui, Founder and CEO of ONE FC: The best fighters in Asia fight for ONE FC. If you’re an MMA fans looking to catch world-class action on TV or at one of the major Asian cities ONE FC is going to, then following ONE FC is a no-brainer. ONE FC showcases the best fighters in Asia, in the best venues, with the biggest broadcast across the region – it’s simply one of the most exciting MMA events in Asia to watch.