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Yago Bryan: I train with the best of the best & I’m ready to fight the best

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Yago Bryan Farias de Morais (3-0) or Yago Bryan as many had known him, have only been in professional MMA for less than 2 years, but the strawweight had already crowned Shooto Brasil’s straweight champion and will challenge Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke’s ONE Championship’s 115lbs title on November 13 on ONE: Pride of Lions.

Like many other fighters, Codorninha’s start to MMA were not by design, but rather by several decisions that put him in the right place at the right time.

“I was never very good at football or flying kites like other kids, but I started MMA when I watched several fight videos hidden in a friend’s house, then we started watching those fight videos. That got me thinking if I belong on the ring.

[Then] I started training Muay Thai with great masters Angelo Sergio, Vander Valverde, Alexandre Lopes, and Roberto Vieira that besides Muay Thai coach trained me in submission grappling and MMA training.”

Now, I have been with Nova União for 3 years, and every day I thank God for being in the middle of big names in the world.”

Having based in Nova União in Rio de Janerio, Bryan have found a place where he is able to leverage not only from world-class coaches, but also the direct exposure with top MMA athletes like Jose Aldo Junior and Renan Barao. But more importantly, he found a father figure and a family that supports him and his fighting career.

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“[In Nova União], we have technicians like André Flints, Pedro Rizzo, and Laerte Barcelos as well as my other teammates like Jose Aldo Junior and Renan Barao who always ready to help me to improve and achieve victory. It is a very great honor to be among the greats. I look up to them and set them as examples and where I want to be as a fighter and to remain humble like them as well.

For us, Dede (Andre Pederneiras, Nova União Head Coach) is much more than a coach. He is a father figure, not only for me, but for all of us on the team. He is always there, correcting and helping us. I always had great respect and admiration for him and today I consider him as a parent for all the things he did and has already done in my much more than a master life.”

However, despite all the support from his Nova União family, Bryan faced the problem typically faced by a 115lber – the lack of fighters fighting at that weight. After winning his first 3 fights on his first year since turning professional and winning the Shoot Brasil straw weight title in December 2014, he had 3 fights cancelled in 2015 alone.

“Really here in Brazil is very difficult to find athletes in this category. This year I had three fights were cancelled for injury reasons. You know, at the lighter weight divisions, we trade a lot of blows and the injury risks are high.”

Fortunately, his performance has caught the attention of ONE Championship, which is in need to quickly establish credibility to its 115lbs division after Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke won the title in the promotion’s inaugural strawweight fight in a 5-round war.

“To be called by ONE Championship is a very big surprise for me, and I can guarantee that I will put the fans to the edge of their seats with a great fight. I am very happy to fight in Asia in Singapore. I can not wait to get to this wonderful city and show my work.

My opponent is a very experienced guy, and surely I have a tough opponent ahead! But all I can say is this: I train with the best of the best and I’m ready to fight the best. I’ve been preparing hard for this fight, and I’m ready to make a great fight on November 13 in Singapore in ONE and bring the belt back to Brazil”

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Highest Ranked Strawweight Outside of the UFC challenged Angela Lee to a title fight in One Championship

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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.

Zhang Weili(Left) at Kunlun FC 12

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.

Fightmatrix rankings as per 9/10/2017

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.

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Martin Nguyen to challenge Eduard Folayang’s title in Manila for the first champion vs champion fight in ONE Championship

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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

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Bashir Ahmad embraces new role in ONE Championship

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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.

“EssentiallyI 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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