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Crazy Brawl Steals The Show on Ultimate Beatdown 16

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Ultimate Beatdown continues its legacy of providing a platform for fighters around the South East Asian region. 30 fiery bouts consisting of Kickboxing, Boxing, Amateur and Pro MMA lighted up the worn out rooftop of Plaza Sentosa. The 3 months “fast” since the last Ultimate Beatdown intensified the hunger of the fighters, particularly one Luqman Amir Shah

During the weigh ins, the emcee(yours truly) end the night with a tongue in cheek comment asking if there was any other fighters in the house willing to fight tomorrow. Unexpectedly, 56kg Luqman stepped up and the UB officials managed to arrange an amatuer mma bout for him in less than 24 hours. Though it didn’t end well for him eating two illegal knees to the head followed by a barrage of punches from his opponent, the crowd was gracious in displaying their appreciation for his heart and courage.

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Rahul K Raju landing a left on Wong Seng Chong

 

“A good jab-straight combo from my opponent rocked me off balance but I didn’t feel hurt at all. I probably got a little angry that he rocked me which made me turn into a brawler unlike my previous fight in Ultimate Beatdown” – Rahul K. Raju

The third half of Ultimate Beatdown events have always been the most exciting, and the 16th edition embraced the tradition. The amateur MMA welterweight bout between Rahul K. Raju from Juggernaut Fight Club and “The Big Thing” Wong Cheng Song from Transform Gym had everyone in attendance on their feet. Reminiscent of Cheick Kongo vs Pat Barry, Rahul was rocked first as “The Big Thing” hurt him with swinging bombs from left and right but managed to regain his composure and protected himself well by staying close to his opponent. He questioned Cheng Song’s chin with his own leather in which his opponent couldn’t come back with any answer until the referee was forced to stop the fight.

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Simon De Maria front face kick on Shamsul Kyirie

“I was under immense pressure to succeed watching my teammates lose. Shamsul early fury of strikes helped me calm my nerves but I grew frustrated as he kept evading my strikes. The leg kicks started working in the second round and I kept using it to my advantage in the third. After the fight, I knelt down to Shamsul to show my respect to a very good fighter” – Simon De Maria

 

Two other fight of the night contenders, will be up for voting on Ultimate Beatdown Facebook page soon. One of the nomination was a raging back and forth K1 battle between Simon De Maria from MTCA and Shamsul Kyirie from Twins Tiger MMA. Simon was clearly down in the scorecards as his opponent was outhitting him for two full rounds. A low kick that dropped his opponent early in the third round and a beautiful jumping knee to the body on the clinch set him to victory as his opponent couldn’t continue with just minutes left off the third round.

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Hui Keng Fai throwing a straight right hand on Raqib Hanif

“I was well prepared and occasionally sparred with some good Malaysian boxers so I know I’m not too far away from my opponent standard. I had no doubt that I won every round and with this victory, I would definitely want to try for the national(boxing) team and will do anything to improve my mma game” – Hui Keng Fai

 

Another fight in contention was the co-main event between Keng Fai from Muayfit and Raqib ” Machine Gun” Hanif from Twins Tiger MMA in a 5 rounds amateur boxing match. Keng Fai who has been a staple in Malaysian amateur MMA scene, made his boxing debut against a Malaysian national boxer. He impressed everyone in attendance as he not only stood his ground but was dominating most of the exchanges. Raqib managed to throw plenty of powerful leather but Kai Feng was unfazed and gained the judges decision.

Alvin Ang smiles as he locked in the triangle choke on Hosein Basirian

Alvin Ang smiles as he locked in the triangle choke on Hosein Basirian

“I was surprised by his punching power. This guy hits hard man. In the second round, I shot for the triangle immediately when he dived in for the ground and pound. He went through three different escapes but I already got it tight from the beginning. Exploding it from open guard is one of my favourite moves because it happens so fast and even good guys would be caught off guard from it” – Alvin Ang

Submission of the night goes to Alvin Ang from Impact MMA in an amateur MMA bout againts Hosein Basirian from Kambiz warriors. The fight started of with a couple of exchanges and turned into a clinch battle where both fighters failed to gain an advantage. In the second round, Alvin Ang pulled a lightning quick triangle choke from the back and stubbornly held on forcing his opponent to tap.

Joseph Yap anticipating a strike from Arther Bindamin

Joseph Yap anticipating a strike from Arther Bindamin

“It was my first fight for Elitez MMA and thought that it would be wonderful to win via knockout. When he fell flat on the mat, I was stunned for a brief second. I’m not sure if I should engage or back off” – Joseph Yap

Knockout of the night goes to debutant Joseph “Havoc” Yap from Elitez MMA who executed a vicious overhand right that knocked his Arther Bindamin from Ace Gladiator Squad out cold as he dropped to the mat like a falling tree. It has been a long while since UB have witnessed such a brutal knockout and it will definitely go as one of the best knockouts in the history of Ultimate Beatdown.

Fouzein takedown attempt stuffed by George

Fouzein takedown attempt stuffed by George

“I wanted to display the striking that I have worked on and survived when George clipped me two times. It was satisfying that I didn’t win via submission this time round” – Fouzein Fozi

The main event featured the rematch of George “Kingpin” Doy from Reps Fitness with Fouzein “The Underdog” Fozi from Malacca MMA. The first round was razor close as Fouzein looked comfortable in the stand up exchanges with George and tried to break momentum at times shooting for takedowns. George was equally skilled at stuffing the takedown attempts but in the second round, Fouzein dominated in the striking department and managed a successful takedown attempt. George declared to the ref he wasn’t fit to continue before the start of the 3rd round leaving Fouzein the only man standing, celebrating with his trademark warcry.

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Fight Announcements

Jacare Souza vs. Kelvin Gastelum Official for UFC 224

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Brazils second UFC event of the new year added another middleweight contest. UFC officials announced, Kelvin Gastelum will face Jacare Souza in Rio de Janeiro at UFC 224.

The inevitable main card booking of Souza comes after headlining UFC on Fox 27. The Brazilian fighter is 3-2 in his last 5. His recent contests only look worrisome in comparison to the entirety of his long career. Prior to his past 5, Souza held an eight fight win streak. In that period of time, he defeated Gegard Mousasi, Derek Brunson (for the first time), and Chris Camozzi twice. Despite the drama words and numbers on screens create, his recent record is nothing to have concern over. A split decision loss to Yoel Romero in 2015, and a 2017 TKO loss to division champion, Robert Whittaker is manageable. Defeating Derek Brunson in the opening round of their main event bout kept him deep in the milky opaque froth that is the middleweight title picture. Clearly his position in that photo lies upon the upcoming match up.

Looking ahead for Jacare Souza, assuming he wins, becomes interesting, just as it devastating for Kelvin Gastelum. Gastelum is 3-1 since returning to middleweight, technically his record sits at 2-1 and 1 No Contest. He tested positive for marijuana in a sample collected the night of his bout against Vitor Belfort by USADA in March of 2017. Originally, the outcome of the bout read the way viewers remembered it; a 1st rd. TKO in favor of Gastelum. On May 7th, 2017, the win was officially overturned and changed to a No Contest. He also received a 90 day suspension, adjusted to the day of the failed test (March 11th).

In the aftermath of the failed test, his scheduled contest against Anderson Silva. He then split his next two contests, losing to Chris Weidman and defeating Michael Bisping emphatically, yet under odd circumstances. A win for Gastelum certainly muddies the waters of middleweight contenders, while adding to a good 185 lb. resume.

UFC 224 takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on May 12th, 2018 at the Jeunesse Arena. A battle betwen Brazilians is set for the date as Lyoto Machida takes on Vitor Belfort. Other featured bouts include; Aleksei Oleynik vs. Junior Albini*, Cezar Ferreira vs. Karl Roberson*, Alberto Mina vs. Ramazan Emeev, and Davi Ramos vs. Nick Hein*.

*Bouts reportedly set for UFC 224

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Exclusive: Mike Ekundayo, “He could come with anything, I don’t care”

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In a little less than a week, Rise of Champions crowns its inaugural bantamweight champion. The crowning of the first 135 lb. champion marks the young promotions first champion. It makes sense why the promotion owned and operated by UK MMA star, Brad Pickett, and Team Titan head coach, Mickey Papas plan to crown the promotions first champion in the bantamweight division. Pickett competed in the division throughout his tenure with the WEC, and ultimately the entity which absorbed the light weight promotion, the UFC. Even more-so, two young and rising prospects of the division. One undefeated in his professional and amateur career, the other riding a seven consecutive victories, five by submission. The two meet February 17th, Mike Ekundayo puts his career unbeaten streak up against Jonas Magard’s at ROC 5, for the aforementioned, inaugural bantamweight championship.

Speaking to the undefeated Ekundayo before his fight, he believes this opportunity to be inevitable. Born in Hackney, (a borough of London) early in life, Ekundayo was no stranger to cramming his belongings into large cardboard boxes. At the age of 7, he moved from Hackney to Herne Hill, a district located in South London. Two years later he found himself in similar situation, moving from his vaguely new home in Herne Hill to Brixton. A road trip in the car to his new home, took approximately 5 minutes.

It is admittedly, not an easy life. In a harrowing article describing the horrors of gang life in London by the metro.uk, former gang member turned community activist, made the claim, “When you are from Brixton, from Peckham, west London, anywhere in London, you are seeing hardship where a lot of communities can’t reach their full potential”.

In his own words, Ekundayo describes his home as, “not the best start to have in your life. It’s not the best upbringing”. But that couldn’t matter any less for him. Not only does the London resident consistently work to grow his potential, he gets to see it every day. His coaches Brad Pickett and Mickey Papas hold the knowledge as well as first-hand experience, increasing his limits with every session. “We’re all close”, speaking of his coaches and team. “My head coach is Mickey Papas, he’s very knowable in the game. He’s been around for a very long time. He teaches me a lot, I can learn a lot of stuff from Mickey Papas. Sometimes I just think, how does he know all of this? Where did he get this information from?”

He continued, “While I was coming up through amateur, Brad (Pickett) was still an active fighter, but nowadays he’s taken a coaching approach. So he’s coaching us prospects getting us to where he got to and further… He’s been through it all, gotten to the top, and stayed at the top”.

Further discussing his coach, “For UK MMA, you could definitely call Brad a legend. He’s done a lot in his career, and someone who I rate highly as an MMA fighter is Demetrious Johnson, and of course Brad has got a win over (him). I feel like just being surrounded by someone like Brad, you’re working towards the right things. When he passes information onto you, you respect it that bit more because of far he got in his career. He’s definitely given me the right guidance, I trust his guidance”.

When it comes to the upcoming title fight, confidence poured out from where praise and respect had once been. “I just think it’s my time, to be honest. I really do believe it’s my time for all of this. The work I put in, certain things become inevitable”, he said. “I actually called this after I won my third fight, I called for belts and big shows. I spoke it to existence”. He continued, “It’s my time to finally to get a strap of some sort. All the straps is what we’re going for, all of them. We’re going for every one”.

“Rise of Champions is my show… That’s how I feel when I’m performing on ROC, it’s just my show, it’s my time to shine. Everyone knows who there here to see, there not really there to see the other guys. It’s my time, it’s my show and I’m going to put on a show on February 17th and I’m going to win that belt”.

The infectious nature of his positive attitude was palpable. Although we only spoke through small rectangular devices, I could feel his energy in the room. His attitude shined brightest when talking about what it would mean to be the first ever ROC Bantamweight champion. Ekundayo claimed, “It just means a lot to have my first belt in anything to be honest… Within myself, I call myself a champion, every day. But now, other people would have to call me a champion because I’ve got a belt… And one thing I really want to do is, which sounds a bit weird, I just want to take the belt home to my area, to Brixton.”

“I just want to take it to my area, and just show the people of that area what hard work can achieve… I want to just take it to my people and show them that not for nothing, we are from Brixton, it’s not the best start to have in your life. It’s not the best upbringing but you can rise above it and you can achieve your goals and that’s what the belt will mean”.

When the conversation shifted to the topic of his opponent, Ekundayo had less encouraging words rolling off his tongue. Jonas Magard, the second half of the ROC 5 main event, holds a record of 7-4. Currently he owns a seven fight win streak after starting his career 1-3. Ekundayo thought, “He did fight quite decent guys in his three loses… but in the seven fight win streak, none of his opponents have been of caliber”.

He elaborated further, “What’s in my thoughts is more me, then it is of him. So, he could come with anything, I don’t care. I’m just focused on how I’m going to be picture perfect. How I’m going to paint a masterpiece, how I’m going to make it a beautifully perfect performance. That’s what my primary focus is on, so what he does to me is irrelevant, I’m just going to focus on how I’m going to be perfect on the night of February 17th”.

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Announcement

UFC 222 Re-Worked with Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya, and Frankie Edgar vs. Brian Ortega

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UFC 222 has been saved, and it didn’t take a superhero to lift the burning boulder which was Max Holloway’s injury and withdrawal. All it took was a female named Cyborg and a man with a demeanor so smooth, he could be mistaken for an alter-ego. Cris Cyborg now serves as the UFC 222 main event when she defends her featherweight belt against Yana Kunitskaya. Frankie Edgar bumped down to the co-main event to face Brian Ortega in what is likely a title eliminator. The news of the UFC 222 revival originally stemmed from a report by MMAFighting.com and confirmed later in the evening by the UFC.

Over the course of the week, reports surrounded the Las Vegas card and whether it would survive. Multiple options were reportedly being mulled over; cancelling the card outright, changing the pay-per-view (PPV) to a ‘Fight Night’ with an Edgar vs. Ortega main event, Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt 2 main event, among others. Ultimately, the promotion landed on Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya as the new main event, while also booking Brian Ortega.

This adjustment of the card places their women’s Featherweight champion in the second PPV main event in three months. Cris Cyborg recently put her undisputed Featherweight title on the line against Holly Holm at the year ending card, UFC 219. She successfully defended her belt by unanimous decision, in what was an amazing technical display from the Brazilian. In her octagon career, Cyborg is undefeated in her four appearances with three KO/TKO stoppages.

The second half of the new main event, Yana Kunitskaya, makes her UFC debut against the scariest women on the roster. If the 145 lb. champion was not enough of a challenge, Kunitskaya also makes her first appearance in the division since defeating Cindy Dandois in December of 2010. Of Russia descent, her most recent performances came inside the Invicta FC cage. At the female-only promotion, she posted a record of 1-1, with 1 No Contest. Her loss and no contest, both came at the hands of former UFC Featherweight title challenger, Tonya Evinger.

Turning to the co-main event, both fighters have been relatively inactive but, for good reason. Brian Ortega amazingly forced perennial men’s Featherweight contender, Cub Swanson, to tap in the second round of their ‘Fight Night: Fresno’ contest. Ortega fought twice in 2017, but more-so stayed inactive following his stoppage victory over Swanson. The Californian contender announced his desire to wait in line for the next title shot following the recent victory.

For Frankie Edgar, his last fight took place at UFC 211 when he absolutely demolished young and rising star, Yair Rodriguez. A card which took place last May. While Ortega holds an undefeated record, Edgar is undefeated in his previous 9 fights, excluding people named Jose Aldo.

UFC 222 takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 3rd.

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