Press Release – Friday, 23rd November 2012
Never before has so much been on the line for RUFF flyweights Zhang MeiXuan and Shang ZhiFa. So when these fighters enter the RUFF cage on December 22 for the RUFF 7 main event at Nanjing’s Wutaishan Indoor Stadium, it is certain to be an all-out battle to the finish.
The final event before the 2013 RMB 1,000,000 Super Fight, RUFF 7 will prove to be the end of the line for one of these athletes. And while the loser will be ousted from contention, the winner will advance to the next year’s championship event, where he will face division leader Liu PingYuan for the chance to become China’s first national MMA titleholder.
“This is a rare opportunity,” comments Shang, a high-level wrestler who fights out of Harbin’s LongYun MMA club. “This is the culmination of all my MMA training.”
Heading into RUFF 7, Zhang and Shang are about as evenly matched as two fighters can possibly be. Both athletes are well-rounded MMA fighters and currently own 2-1 records inside the RUFF promotion, with their lone losses coming by way of split decision at the hands of Liu PingYuan.
One of the first fighters to sign with RUFF in February 2011, Zhang MeiXuan is a product of the Xi’An Sports University Sanda Team. Zhang, though slightly shorter than his upcoming opponent, standing just 167 cm, possesses an advantage on his feet, his striking game crisp and powerful, allowing him to close the distance and land exacting combinations.
“Heavy leg kicks [are my advantage],” explains Zhang. “[But] I want to knock him out with a punch in the second round.”
While Zhang relies heavily on his Sanda background – “I punch hard with big gloves, even harder with smaller gloves” he once famously commented – his rapidly improving ground game is still to be feared and respected, evidenced by his most recent RUFF victory, a heel hook submission over Amu RiJiRiGaLa at RUFF 6.
Shang ZhiFa also has a tapout victory over Amu on his resume, winning via rear naked choke in his RUFF debut at RUFF 4, but finds his distinct advantage on the ground. Known for setting up his signature double-leg takedowns with boxing combinations, Shang likes to force opponents to perimeter of the cage before attempting his ground-and-pound assault.
“I also practiced Sanda for a while,” adds Shang, “but I’m more experienced on the ground. I will stand with him, [but] I would like to go to the ground. Of course I hope I will be able to finish in the first round.”
Aside from their near-even statistics in height, weight, and reach, and proficiency in multiple martial arts disciplines, Zhang MeiXuan and Shang ZhiFa also share another similarity. They both believe they won their most recent contests against Liu PingYuan, increasing their motivation to earn a rematch at the Super Fight.
Shang traded punches with Liu for 15 minutes atRUFF 6, landing takedowns in all three rounds, and coming ever so close to earning the decision. Zhang, who previously defeated Liu via referee stoppage in the RUFF: Genesis “Fight of the Night,” dropped their second meeting at RUFF 5, via the narrowest of margins, fueling his current push for a rubber match at next February’s championship event.
“I am very excited to participate in the Super Fight,” offers Zhang MeiXuan. “I will do my best to deliver an exciting fight.”
Both Zhang MeiXuan and Shang ZhiFa are two of the fighters set to star in RUFF’s upcoming reality TV series RUFF Journey, currently slated to debut in November 2012.
Produced is association with Los Angeles-based Mandt Bros. Productions, the 10-part RUFF Journeyseries will profile the lives of RUFF’s fighters, chronicling the road to the February 2013 RMB 1,000,000 Super Fight.
RUFF 7 and the MMA H.E.A.T. main event between Zhang MeiXuan and Shang ZhiFa will air live on Saturday, December 22.