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ONE signs 19-year old Malaysian Prodigy Hayatun Najihin

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“Can you imagine this cute face fighting in One Championship? People will say that this girl is going to get beat up!” Jihin responded after being asked what she felt after signing for the Asian MMA Promotion. 18-year old Malaysian, Hayatun Najihin Radzuan(Jihin), armed with just a little under three years of training, multiple wins in boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, grappling and significantly an impressive pro debut 1st round TKO win on Ultimate Beatdown 23 over an opponent 10lbs heavier than her, has earned the bubbly girl a contract with One Championship.

Jihin fighting Muay Thai. Credit: Albert Lim

Impossible to find opponents

She first stepped foot at the Ultimate MMA Academy in Johor Bahru in October 2014 and with every win, Jihin’s reputation grew to the point that it was impossible to find an opponent in any amateur competition that would be willing to fight her.

“I’m the youngest Malaysian in the One Championship roster now. I compete in everything. Never pulled out even if I get the hardest opponent” – Jihin

Just recently, her opponent pulled out in the last minute of an amateur MMA tournament. Too many cancellations and rejections have forced her coach and manager, Melvin Yeoh to kick start her professional MMA career as it would raise her chances of getting a fight.

Being a girl is an advantage in MMA

Jihin got to know about MMA after watching a Korean drama and coincidentally, one of the actresses(Song Ga Yeon) is also an MMA fighter. And after a few training sessions, Jihin became convinced that she would one day become a professional fighter.

“At first, I didn’t know who the hell is Melvin Yeoh. Then I googled him. I watched his fights and read articles about him…. Then I told myself maybe I’ll be like this soon. Even better than this because I’m a girl.” Jihin explained.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because girls will get all the attention in a male dominated sport!” She replied confidently.

Being Independent

Jihin represented her school in Netball and Hockey. She was also part of a traditional Malay dance group called the Zapin but mixing with bad company in her junior year in high school has made her an outcast. Her teammates would shun her and her coaches wouldn’t favour her.

“I will always get sad at the netball courts. The coach only lets me play half a game. I should be one of the main players… Even though I already stopped hanging around with bad company, they will still affiliate me with the troublemakers. I always feel abandoned. From then on, everything I do is all on my own,” Jihin sighed.

Jihin in the centre with her sisters and cousins

Sacrifices

Raised by a single mother and the youngest of 4 sisters and 2 brothers, Jihin had to make sacrifices to survive. Facing a financial predicament, she had to crush her college ambitions after high school and work full time as a vet nurse. If Jihin is not at the clinic, she will be training at the gym.

“I rarely talk to them(Her mother and eldest sister). I mean not that we have a bad relationship but by the time I reached home they would have already slept. Sometimes they would complain to me, ask me to take a day off but even during off days, I’ll be at the gym.” said Jihin.

Endurance

Jihin might spend much of her time training in the Ultimate MMA Academy, but she doesn’t exactly like every aspect of her training. Comparing her previous experiences in Netball and Hockey, she stated that all sports are the same. To be the best you got to have patience and she confessed that she does not have much of that virtue.

“When coach(Melvin), ask me to do something I hate, I will just keep my mouth shut and follow his instructions. But I will give him my angry face!” Jihin snapped.

And one of the things in training she hates is when she is being ordered to spar with newbies. She complained that they will go very hard on her and this will boil the hot-tempered fighter.

“They(newbies) go so hard on her that she has to drop them. Most guys below 60kg will surely go down after one body shot from her.” Melvin exclaimed.

Jihin winning the amateur MMA title at 18 years old. Credit: YK Tang

Something to prove

It is perfectly understandable for first timers stepping into the gym not wanting to lose to this girl. Jihin neither has the looks nor the physique that one would stereotype as a fighter. To the untrained eye, she is a just a sweet little girl living across the street.

However, this little girl started training only at 16, became an amateur MMA champion at 18 and has now signed for one of Asia’s biggest promotions. With the contract signed, Jihin now has the chance to prove that this cute girl can beat up anyone in the One Championship roster.

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Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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Bellator 185 Fight to Watch: Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams

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Heather Hardy will compete in MMA for the second time at Bellator 185 on Friday night, as she faces Kristina Williams in a strawweight contest. The fight takes place on the main card at the Mohican Sun Arena in Connecticut.

Potentially, what Bellator have in Heather ‘The Heat’ Hardy is a major draw that they can build their 125 pound division around. While relatively new to the organisation she is fast becoming one of the more popular names on the roster. Her career is in the early stages, but many have already started to draw comparisons with former boxer turned MMA star, Holly Holm. Holm’s UFC success partly inspired the native New Yorker to make the switch from boxing.

Hardy is already an established world champion in the land of the ‘sweet science’, holding a 21 fight undefeated professional record. She made her MMA debut in June this year with a victory over Alice Yauger, at Bellator 180. At 35, Hardy is a late starter in the sport, but proved at Madison Square Garden against the credible Yauger that she has a bright future.

Hardy’s first outing in the cage was disciplined and composed. Despite a slow start in round one, Hardy grew in confidence as the fight progressed and her cardio never faltered. She mixed in plenty of kicks that complimented her boxing and looked at ease in the clinch, even defending a couple of takedown attempts in the process.

Despite looking on course for a decision win, Hardy forced the TKO stoppage with just thirteen seconds remaining in round three. Even a large cut that required seven stitches from an accidental head clash could not deny her victory.

Hardy was fighting an experienced professional, competing for the tenth time in MMA, which makes the win over Yauger more impressive. However, her upcoming opponent Kristina Williams will be making her professional debut.

There is little known about Williams except that she is 3-0 at amateur level. One of those wins came by way of submission so there may well be a threat to Hardy if the fight goes to the ground. More importantly for Williams is how she copes on the big stage against a popular opponent, who is more familiar competing in high pressure combat situations. If Williams can produce an upset it will be a huge boost in her young career.

But in all honesty, this fight is about Hardy. It’s about getting the win and gaining valuable experience. The boxing career is on hold while MMA takes centre stage. Beating Williams will mean she likely continues fighting inside a cage rather than a boxing ring.

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