Melvin Manhoef vs. Babalu Sobral and Kevin Belingon vs. Masakazu Imanari will be featured on ONE FC's third event this March. -- Graphic by Anton Tabuena
Following yesterday's monumental announcement of a 10-year media partnership with ESPN Star Sports, ONE FC unveiled several more interesting news items on a press conference in Singapore.
On the business side of things, the promotion made a huge announcement that government entities from Singapore will be backing them, with Cui saying that both the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) will be supporting ONE FC.
ONE FC has also announced two key bouts for their third show that is slated on March 31st. Headlining the card will be UFC vet and former Strikeforce champion, Renato 'Babalu' Sobral (36-10), taking on the very dangerous and explosive striker in Melvin Manhoef (24-9).
Also on a featured bout is Kevin Belingon (9-0), a URCC Champion who is one of the top prospects in the Asia, taking a huge step up in competition by facing the more experienced DEEP Bantamweight Champ, and 'Master of Leglocks', Masakazu Imanari (24-10-2).
Victor Cui also mentioned that there will be 2 more DREAM fighters competing on the card, along with URCC Champion Eduard Folayang, BJJ World Champion Zorobabel Moreira, Eddie Ng, and Nicole Chua, a female Muay Thai fighter who is set to make her MMA debut under the tutelage of the champions at Evolve MMA.
Although signs of their partnership with DREAM are already seen with multiple fighters from the Japanese promotion competing on this March card, Cui revealed that this won't be the co-promoted event as they earlier announced. The ONE FC head did mention though that they're working on that 2012 co-promoted show that would pit ONE FC's best fighters against DREAM's top fighters such as Shinya Aoki and Tatsuya Kawajiri.
Following the press conference, there are also a bit of new info from the promotion:
- The promotion has expanded the reach of their network with Phuket Top Team, Fairtex, Spider Academy, Ultimate MMA, Fight G, Burnshell, Pak Fight Club, Syena BJJ, Merican Muay Thai, and Streetfight Malaysia, among 17 groups that have been partnered up under their network.
- The ONE FC undercard will be streamed live and free on Facebook, however, the main card will be available globally on PPV on UStream and on their official website for $9.99. The show will be televised all over Asia on ESPN Star Sports on tape delay.
- Gregor Gracie is also rumored to be on the March 31st event.
ONE Fighting Championship 3
March 31, 2012 - Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore