Mario Satya Wirawan may have started his MMA career in Malaysia, but it was only when he came back to Indonesia and joined Jakarta Muay Thai MMA under Andrew Leone’s wing that he gained traction on his professional MMA career, which includes a 21-second KO win in April this year.
Like many other fighters, how the former university soccer player’s start into MMA was not a straightforward affair.
“I started off accompanying a friend in MTG gym in Malaysia,” Wirawan explained.
“While it only lasted a few months since the gym closed down shortly after, it got me hooked to martial arts. I then switched to a boxing gym called Alex gym near where I stayed in Malaysia. When the holiday season comes, I tried training in Jakarta, but wasn’t satisfied with the gyms that I found in Jakarta, so I tried Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with Stefer [Rahardian, ONE Championship bantamweight] and trained with him throughout the holiday season. Coming back to Malaysia with a bit of ground game and confident of my standup, I joined a local MMA competition.”
On September 27th, Wirawan will make his ONE Championship debut against his countryman Sunoto Peringkat and will be featured in one of the 3 fights to be broadcasted on RCTI, the nation’s leading Free-To-Air TV station.
“I feel very excited to have my fight broadcasted on TV because I have trained really hard, and I believe that I can showcase my skills to Indonesian fans”
“On fighting my countryman, I don’t really care where he comes from. I have fought against people from a different country, and my fellow countryman. It doesn’t matter. When the cage door closes, it’s 2 fighters going for the win.”
With 3 KO wins, Wirawan has always known for his accurate striking but against a more seasoned grappler in Peringkat, questions linger on his ground game, especially given his loss on a submission-only event Indonesian Badass Championship Unlocked last August.
“[The results for IBC] affects me a lot. My preparation for IBC was not well organized, and my performance that day didn’t reflect my real character and skill set. But it’s either you win or you learn. Now, I learned more about my strengths and weaknesses, how to prepare myself and to set a game plan around my strengths and weaknesses as well as my opponents’.”
“We have developed a game plan for this fight, and all I got to do is being disciplined and stick to it, and make sure the fight will go according to plan.”
Departing from recent trends as well as past Indonesian events, ONE featured only a single bout featuring local fighters in exchange of a stacked card. While some Indonesian fans see this as a lack of ONE’s commitment to develop Indonesian market, Wirawan sees it as an opportunity to shine.
“Indonesia needs a hero. They have been missing a figure that can be an inspiration on how hard work, dedication, discipline will be factor of success. Since Chris John have just retired, Fransino hasn’t been active in MMA for awhile, I believe there is a room left in Indonesian for such figure. This event will be a good chance to do that and looking forward to inspire my country.”
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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