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Combat sports in Singapore continue to grow in leaps and bounds

Hazwady

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In a conservative country where the majority are known to be unfavourable of the violence perceived in combat sports has unexpectedly grown exponentially over the years. Singapore, one of the smallest nations in the world with a little over 5 million in population has switched towards the right stance in combat sports.

Mohamad Nor Rizan celebrating his WBC title win last weekend

Boxing

Last weekend, a local Boxing Promotion, Thrive Championship crowned their first WBC Asia Continental Bantamweight champion. Singaporean Mohamad Nor Rizan who turned 39 last month, defeated 24-year-old Thailand’s champion Piched via Knockout in the 9th round.

IBO Champion, Muhammad Ridhwan(center) in attendance at Thrive Championship

Another Singaporean boxing champ, who was spotted among the crowd at The Pavillion last weekend, will have the chance to claim the IBO Intercontinental super featherweight title. The 29-year-old current UBO world super featherweight title holder, Muhammad Ridhwan will be fighting at Suntec City on the 20th of October under another boxing promotion named Ringstar.

Muay Thai

Thrive also held their Muay Thai card the following day after their Boxing event in front of a sold out crowd. New kids on the block Asia Fighting Championship will also be organizing a Muay Thai event on the 23rd of September at The Marina Bay Sands and has announced a local celebrity fight between Singapore Idol finalist Sylvester Sim and Steven Lim Kor Kor in an effort to draw fans to their show.

Grappling

Jiujitsu and wrestling are not left behind with GrappleAsia at the helm recently featuring prominent BJJ black belt Keenan Cornelius. They have been holding events regularly in Singapore and seems to be growing steadily since their inception in 2014. Their next event, the Dumau Asian Open will be held at Atrium @ Aperia Mall on the 23rd of September.

Credit: Dave Tong

MMA

Local promotion, Singapore Fighting Championship is set to hold an event in September with a combined card of kickboxing, boxing and MMA. The upcoming event will be their 6th event in three years since their first show in December 2014.

SFC 1 in December 2014

IMMAF(The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation) held their inaugural show in Singapore Leading up to UFC’s 2nd appearance in the nation. Strong attendance and ticket sales for the Ultimate Fighting Championship would make it a huge probability for their return next year as they continue their expansion in Asia.

ONE atomweight women’s champion Angela Lee

Last but not least, One Championship which is headquartered in Singapore has been holding 2-3 events per year and their rising star Canadian-American Angela Lee, who is their atomweight women’s champion has been the key factor to grow their Singaporean audience. Their next show in Singapore is scheduled on the 24th of November at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Looking ahead

Singapore combat sports scene is growing faster than it has ever been in years. The multiple platforms available for local fighters to show that they are on par or better than their regional or international counterparts have been the catalyst.

Like Pacquiao for the Filipinos and Conor for the Irish, Singaporeans are in dire need for a hero to cheer on and the exposure and success of fighters like Mohamad Nor Rizan and Muhammad Ridhwan have definitely aided the cause.

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Vitor Belfort vs Uriah Hall in the works for January 14th

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Vitor Belfort vs. Kelvin Gastelum UFC

Longtime UFC veteran Vitor Belfort announced on his Instagram that he is set to meet “The Ultimate Fighter 17” runner-up Uriah Hall.

The fight is set to take place on January 14th according to “The Phenom”, no event has been announced for the date yet. The bout marks Belfort’s first fight since beating Nate Marquardt in a controversial unanimous decision, back in June. Belfort had previously announced his retirement fight would come against Marquardt but has since changed his mind.

Belfort has been on an interesting run since his amazing KO filled 2013. He came back in 2015 in a middleweight title fight against then champion Chris Weidman. He would end up losing the fight via TKO after almost knocking out Weidman early on. He went on to knock out Dan Henderson before dropping three fights in a row by TKO, the latest, against Kelvin Gastelum, was changed to a no-contest, after Gastelum failed a drug test for Marijuana.

Uriah Hall looks to make his return to the cage after knocking out Krzysztof Jotko, back in September, in a fight many deemed the “comeback of the year”. Uriah had previously been on a three-fight losing skid, dropping a decision to current interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker, and losing his next two via TKO.

The winner of the fight would end up on a two-fight winning streak and could potentially find themselves a few fights away from a title shot. Although no event has been announced for January 14th, it seems the UFC is already looking to get some fights booked. It is still unclear if this fight will serve as the main event.

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Bellator

Bellator 185- How to Watch, Times and Fight Card

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Bellator is once again heading to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville Connecticut, and this time they are bringing with them one of the most anticipated former UFC fighter turned Bellator stars’ debut. Gegard Mousasi will be making his first appearance in the Bellator cage against a former Bellator champion in Alexander Shlemenko. Although this event has lost some of its star power over the last several weeks, it is still stacked and you can bet that the main event will bring some fireworks.

Earlier in the month, it was announced that King Mo had suffered an injury that had forced him out of his co-main event fight with former middleweight champion Liam McGeary. Bellator worked quickly to secure a replacement opponent for McGeary in Bubba McDaniels. Unfortunately for McDaniels and the fans alike, McGeary had later suffered an injury of his own and the fight was removed from the card.

This left a spot open in the co-main event slot, which would be filled by a welterweight matchup between Brennan Ward and David Rickels. Just four days out from the fight, Bellator announced that Ward had also become injured and the fight has been removed from the card as well. The main card has been shuffled around and the welterweight bout between Neiman Gracie and Zak Bucia will now serve as the co-main event.

Main Card- Spike TV (US/Canada) Spike UK (UK)- 9 pm EDT, 6 pm PDT, 2 pm UK

  • Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)
  • Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)
  • Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)
  • Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)
  • Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)

Preliminary Card- Live Stream (MMA Latest New)- 7 pm EDT, 4 pm PDT, 12 pm UK

  • 195 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)
  • Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)
  • Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)
  • Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)
  • 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)
  • 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)
  • Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez (6-4) vs. Billy Giovanella (9-5)
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Fight Announcements

Aldo vs. Lamas 2 and Ponzinibbio vs. Perry Added to UFC Winnipeg

Harry Davies

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The UFC has added Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas 2, and Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Mike Perry to their UFC Winnipeg card on December 16th.

The two fights were announced as official today on the UFC’s Twitter account.

Aldo (26-3) last fought at UFC 212 in June, where he lost by third round TKO to Max Holloway. After being promoted to the undisputed 145-pound champion last November, he was looking to make the first defence of the title against Holloway.

Lamas first faced Aldo back in 2014 at UFC 169. Aldo, who was again featherweight champion at the time, defeated Lamas with ease winning by unanimous decision (49-46) on all scorecards. Lamas is on a two-fight winning streak after defeating both Charles Oliveira and Jason Knight with impressive finishes.

Since his last UFC loss to Lorenz Larkin back in 2015, Ponzinnibio (25-3) has won five consecutive fights. His most recent victory was a upset win over Gunnar Nelson in July at UFC Glasgow. There was some controversy after the fight, as replays seemed to show a short grab and several eyes pokes from Ponzinnibio before knocking out Nelson in the first round.

Mike Perry has taken the UFC by storm since making his debut for the promotion last August. Picking up four wins all by knockout, the only loss ‘Platinum’ suffered was too Alan Jouban by decision. Ranked at #9 in the welterweight division, a win over Ponzinnibio could definitely propel Perry into the top ten at 170-pounds.

With the additon of these two fantastic fights, the lineup for UFC Winnipeg is as follows:

  • Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael dos Anjos – Welterweight bout
  • Glover Teixeira vs. Misha Cirkunov – Light heavyweight bout
  • Antônio Rogério Nogueira vs. Jared Cannonier – Light heavyweight bout
  • Tim Elliott vs. Justin Scoggins – Flyweight bout
  • Chad Laprise vs. Galore Bafondo – Welterweight bout
  • Alessio Di Chirico vs. Oluwale Bamgbose – Middleweight bout
  • Vitor Miranda vs. Julian Marquez – Middleweight bout
  • John Makdessi vs. Abel Trujillo – Lightweight bout
  • Nordine Taleb vs. Sultan Aliev – Welterweight bout
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