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Asian MMA Update: Rich Franklin, Ben Askren Head To Evolve, Denis Kang In Dancing With The Stars

Rich Franklin with ONE FC stars Zorobabel Moreira, Alex Silva, and Leandro Issa.
Rich Franklin with ONE FC stars Zorobabel Moreira, Alex Silva, and Leandro Issa.

There's a bunch of news coming out of the Asian MMA scene so let's get right to it:

  • Former UFC middleweight champion, Rich Franklin has decided to switch things up and will be training in Asia for his his next fight against Cung Le. He's currently in Singapore and has started his UFC 148 training camp working with the Muay Thai and BJJ champs from Evolve MMA.
  • Speaking of Evolve MMA, Bellator Welterweight Champion, Ben Askren will also be arriving today to train with them, and to conduct a few seminars.

    Leandro Issa, Mitch Chilson, and others are preparing for ONE FC 4, Franklin is preparing for UFC 148, and now Askren is coming in to train with everyone. Add their stacked roster of coaches and it's a crazy combination of talent there in Singapore now.
  • One of the bigger news in Asian MMA scene is China's Ranik Ultimate Fighting Federation or RUFF announcing that they have inked several guys from top Chinese camp, Xi'an Sports University. The list of fighters announced to have signed "exclusive deals" include Wang Guan (8-0), Yang Liang (4-1), Ayideng Jumayi (2-1), Ta Yier, and surprisingly, Legend FC bantamweight champion Jumabieke Tuerxun (12-0).

More after the jump, including photos of UFC and PRIDE veteran Denis Kang competing in Dancing With the Stars. Follow me on twitter -- @antontabuena

  • The Xi'an fight camp was thought to have very strong ties with the Hong Kong-based promotion in Legend FC as multiple guys fought under their banner, and the promotion even brought in Team Quest guys such as Pat Healy and Brad Hannah to help improve the team's talent. Some politics were probably involved, but somewhere down the road things have changed, as RUFF just announced that they have signed their guys to exclusive contracts.

    'Bieke' is arguably the very best fighter from China, and while it was thought that he was exclusively signed with Legend after winning their bantamweight championship, it looks like RUFF has won the legal battle for his contract. The undefeated fighter still fought for RUFF last March and have followed up with signing an exclusive deal with the Chinese promotion.
  • Move over Chuck Liddell, UFC vet, and current Road FC fighter, Denis Kang is in Korea's Dancing With the Stars. His recent bouts haven't gone his way, but it looks like Kang is still a big star in Korea. Here are some photos:

  • Kang said he dances before his MMA training, and it's "almost like light conditioning". His next fight is set for Road FC 8, and he will try to get back on track as he faces Road FC MWGP finalist Hae Suk Son.
  • Asian-based Canadian, Vaughn Anderson improved to 16-1 this past weekend as he defeated talented prospect 'Hungry' Hae Joon Yang this past weekend in Australia. He won by majority decision and extended his unbeaten streak to 12.
  • Akihiro Gono has retired following that blowout KO loss to Bellator champ, Michael Chandler. Even before the fight, it was very hard to say that outcome wasn't expected though. I would've rather seen him fight up and comers in Asia, than get trucked in a complete mismatch.