If you look at the map of Asia, you would have never thought that one the smallest countries in the world, would be UFC’s launchpad to make inroads into the Asian market. Unlike Japan, Singapore’s history in MMA is shallow and has no combat heroes past or present that could rival the likes of Manny Pacquaio of the Philippines or Bruce Lee of Hong Kong. It does not have a martial arts culture compared to the Kung Fu of the Chinese or Taekwondo of the Koreans. Yet, UFC once again makes its return this weekend after a 3-year absence with an arguably stronger card since its debut in the Lion City. So why is Singapore important for the UFC?
According to the UFC’s senior vice-president, Joe Carr 93 million, or 35 percent of UFC fans hail from the Asia-Pacific, and that one million of the 1.5 million MMA fans in Singapore are UFC fans. That’s a bold number to claim considering Singapore only has a population of little over 5.5million. Such statistics could also be the reason why the promotion decided to hold their event in a bigger and more spacious National Indoor Stadium this time. The organization’s last event in Marina Bay Sands achieved 5,216 in attendance.
Evident to the article written by Today this June, UFC is also very much aware that Singapore is a regional hub for South East Asia in particular. Singapore has held a variety of successful sporting events such as the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix that had a three-day total attendance of 219,000 people last year. Since its inaugural race in 2008, F1 has drawn in over 350,000 international visitors and that is a giant number for a small country.
Why not Manila?
Manila was excellent for the UFC until last year where they had to cancel their event in October. It was rumoured that the event was canceled due to conflicts with the drug testing procedure. Though the Filipino authorities belied the rumours, it was a painful experience nonetheless for the UFC. While in Singapore, the Tourism Board is showing strong support and is hopeful of a long-term sustainable partnership.
One has achieved tremendous success lately building and marketing their talents and the UFC are looking to harvest the fruits that ONE has grown in South East Asia. In the same article, Carr praised ONE Championship for being “very successful in developing talent”, but believes UFC is the “pinnacle”. “I’m happy that they are growing the sport at the grassroots level in this region and bringing more awareness,” he said. “Ultimately, what happens is (that) talent gravitates to UFC, and fans realise that if they want to see the best fights, competitions and the best product, they’ll obviously find UFC.”
UFC Fight Night: Holm vs Correia will take place on the 17th of June this Saturday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Vitor Belfort vs Uriah Hall in the works for January 14th
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.
Bellator 185- How to Watch, Times and Fight Card
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)
Aldo vs. Lamas 2 and Ponzinibbio vs. Perry Added to UFC Winnipeg
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.
THIS. CARD. pic.twitter.com/bc4AyNncqy
— UFC (@ufc) October 13, 2017
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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