Gianni Subba’s name is practically synonymous with Malaysian MMA. The young fighter made shockwaves after knocking out Singaporean fighter Bruce Loh with a soccer kick early in the first round of their bout. Gianni is now set for his 8th pro-MMA fight at ‘ONE Championship: Kingdom of Khmer’ against Thai MMA fighter Anatpong “Mak Mak” Bunrad.
MMA Latest caught up with Gianni on his 23rd birthday, only one day before the fight that could propel him towards becoming the number one contender in the ONE flyweight division.
MMA Latest: Mak Mak is a tough opponent and considered one of the top fighters in the flyweight division. Does it worry you that you are taking this fight on a short notice?
Gianni Subba: I train year round and I am always in decent shape, I took this fight against Mak Bunrad because I want to test myself against the best in the division and also to prove that Malaysians can fight at a high level. I know that he is coming off a big win against former title challenger Geje (Eustaquio) and that he is very well rounded in all aspects of MMA. I have made vast improvements in my game during my time training at bali MMA so wherever this fight goes I will be ready.
MMA Latest: Do you think a win against Mak Mak will put you on the position to challenge for the title?
Gianni Subba: Mak is a high-level fighter and winning this fight will definitely escalate my credentials as a fighter and position me closer to being a contender for the ONE flyweight world champion title.
“Anything can happen in MMA and whoever’s gameplan works that night will take it.”
MMA Latest: Mak is fighting out of your former team and you must have an idea how the guys from his team trains. In your opinion, Does that give you any advantage for this camp?
Gianni Subba: Both of us have improved and worked on different things since. I don’t think it gives us both any advantage coming from the same camp previously. Anything can happen in MMA and whoever’s gameplan works that night will take it.
MMA Latest: There was a controversy of who really won the flyweight championship match between Adriano Moraes and Kairat Akhmetov. Who do you think that won the fight? And how do you think you will do against the new champion?
Gianni Subba: It was a really close fight. Either way I am prepared for both fighters. I train hard with my team and work on the best strategy for each fight. So when I meet them I will be ready.
Highest Ranked Strawweight Outside of the UFC challenged Angela Lee to a title fight in One Championship
28 Years Old, Zhang Weili(16-1) from China has challenged Strawweight champion Angela Lee for her strap in One Championship according to a source close to the Chinese fighter. Zhang who is the champion and fighting for Chinese based promotion Kunlun FC is currently negotiating on a one fight deal to face Angela. According to the source, they would like to determine who is the best women fighter in Asia in a one-off match and would have no problems to fight under the One Championship banner.
Since her pro debut loss in 2013, Zhang has racked up 16 wins in 3 years with a total of 15 finishes. She is the number #6 ranked women strawweight in the World according to Fightmatrix.com, just behind Rose Namajunas who will be facing UFC champion and number #1 ranked strawweight Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the title next month. Angela, on the other hand, is 9 rungs below Zhang at number 15.
While ONE was very eager to have a cross-promotion fight between Angela Lee and Joanna Jedrzejczyk to determine who has the better strawweight, they seem less eager to have a Kunlun FC champion on board for a one fight deal. The source states that ONE would need for Zhang to sign a 2-year exclusive contract first before discussing further for a fight with Angela.
If the source is accurate, ONE seems to be covering their bases this time and would not like for their champion to lose the belt to another promotion without securing Zhang on an exclusive contract. Kunlun, on the other hand, would also not want to lose their best fighter to another Asian promotion. Zhang would be a huge asset to ONE for their expansion in China but it would be tough for them to pry off the Chinese fighter as the source states that Zhang is being paid handsomely on Kunlun FC.
While things are looking bleak for a match between Angela Lee and Zhang Weili to happen in the ONE Championship cage, the fans will be keeping their fingers crossed and hope that they could witness a fight between two of the best women Strawweights in Asia.
Martin Nguyen to challenge Eduard Folayang’s title in Manila for the first champion vs champion fight in ONE Championship
After speculations on who Martin Nguyen’s next opponent when he signed a fight contract, ONE Championship have confirmed that Martin Nguyen is set to challenge Eduard Folayang’s lightweight title in Manila on ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD on 10 November.
The fight is the latest in a series of cross-division fights announced after Shinya Aoki vs Ben Askren and Aung La NSang vs Alain Ngalani, but this will be the first time the reigning ONE Championship titleholders from two weight divisions will clash.
Nguyen’s coach, Fari Salievski, did tease on the idea of Nguyen fighting for the title in different weight divisions , but he teased on a bantamweight division since Martin was underweight for his featherweight title fight against Marat Gafurov.
Despite being on the lighter side of a featherweight division, the new champion decided to challenge the title against a fighter a weight class above him, and opens the possibility of the first fighter in ONE Championship to challenge the title in 3 weight divisions.
“I’m not out only to make a statement, but to go down in history as the best to ever compete under the ONE Championship banner” – Martin Nguyen
ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD will be held in Malls of Asia Arena in Manila on 10 November 2017
Bashir Ahmad embraces new role in ONE Championship
Bashir Ahmad is appointed as the Senior Manager of Industry Partnerships, the role made to develop and strengthen the relationships between ONE Championship and various MMA gyms and promotions.
“Essentially, I see myself doing what I did in Pakistan and working to accelerate the growth of MMA in Asia with other players in the MMA scene,” Ahmad explained.
As the pioneer of Pakistani MMA, Bashir Ahmad has worked to promote MMA in Pakistan, most notably the Shaheen Gym project, a non-profit gym which serves to take at-risk youth off the street with the appeal and focus of MMA. With his new position in ONE, Ahmad believes he will be better positioned to develop MMA in Asia, particularly in his hometown Pakistan.
“I think it’s a win-win. I’ve learned about developing MMA in a really difficult market – Pakistan, and I bring that experience with me.”
“On the flip side, I get work with one of the world’s most professional martial arts brands and bring those lessons to my mission in Pakistan.”
4-3 on his professional MMA career, Ahmad has been fighting for ONE Championship since April 2013 and became the first ONE Championship athlete to make the transition from into the management role in the promotion. Despite this additional role, Ahmad is adamant that his new role in ONE Championship does not take him away from active competition.
“100% not retired. I can certainly train. If Martin can beat Gafurov while being a full-time mechanic, I can certainly train when I work in the MMA industry for a living. It’s about time management and training smart.”
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