Nazri Sutari is no stranger to the MMA community in Singapore. The lightweight amateur MMA fighter is only one of the few Singaporeans who have displayed tremendous knockout power. On October 10th, Nazri will face Malaysian knockout artist Hui Keng Fai, continuing the deep historic causeway rivalry between the two countries.
Just like any other sport, the national flags will be glorified and Nazri was asked by the promoter to carry the flag during the event. Nazri posted a rather controversial Facebook status asking where he could get a Singapore flag. MMA Latest caught up with the lightweight prospect as he explained his actions.
“It’s just that I am not comfortable with everyone telling me that I’m doing this for my country. Because when I fight, I believe that I represent myself and my gym and coaches and teammates. I even explained to my OCS(Officer Cadet School) wing commander about this.”
Like every other Singaporean son, Nazri had to serve 2 years in the compulsory National Service system where he served half of his term as an infantry officer. Though the promoter’s request to carry the flag is not compulsory, Nazri acceded, understanding that the marketing aspect of the sport thrives on tribal loyalties.
“I think it’s because they(promoters) want to capitalise on national pride. We all debate who has the better version of laksa or where Hainanese chicken rice comes from. We all compare each others governments to see whose is worst hahaha. But on a positive side, ultimately it will create awareness of the sport in both countries. And bragging rights. To see which country has the better fighter.”
Nazri is fully aware that such statement would attract plenty of hate comments, especially in the social media arena. He even started the interview stating he is not “doing a Steph Micayle”, a girl who went viral on youtube claiming she was not proud to be a Singaporean.
” I owe my successes more to my gym, coaches and teammates, family, friends and all those who have directly supported me physically and emotionally than the country. I never mentioned that I am not proud to be a Singaporean son because I have served my national service to the best of my abilities. Last I check, a lot of our true blue Singaporeans criticised Royston when he made his UFC debut”
Nazri Sutari will face Hui Keng Fai on MIMMA 3 Grand Finals, 10th October in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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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