Asian MMA

Dissection of the ONE FC 7: Return of Warriors Fight Card


ONE Fighting Championship, one of the world’s top Mixed Martial Arts organizations, is set to showcase its first event of 2013 on February 2nd at the Stadium Putra situated in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Dissection of the ONE FC 7: Return of Warriors Fight Card

This marks the second time that the Singapore-based promotion will be heading to Malaysia, following its ‘Destiny of Warriors’ event that was held in June of last year.

With a stacked fight card that features some of the region’s best Mixed Martial Arts fighters, ONE FC 7: Return of Warriors is an event that you just can’t afford to miss.

The first ever Malaysian Featherweight Championship Tournament is set to be contested at this event, featuring some of the host country’s top talents:

“It is time for us to crown National Champions in Asia and Raymond Tiew, Melvin Yeoh, AJ Lias Mansor and Jian Kai Chee have proven that they are the most exciting prospects in Malaysia,” said Victor Cui, CEO of ONE Fighting Championship. “We are giving these home-grown champions the chance to earn themselves the right to be called the Malaysian National Champion and rise to the top of the division as the number one contender.”

But, it doesn’t end there. In the featured bout of the evening, the industrious Eric ‘The Natural’ Kelly will lock horns with Team Lakay’s Honorio Banario for the inaugural ONE FC Featherweight Championship strap.

With that said, let take you through all 10 bouts that’s set to take place on February 2nd:


Jake Butler vs. Antoni Romulo

Jake Butler (0-0) is a decorated NCAA Division 1 wrestler, who has wrestled the likes of UFC veterans Mark Munoz, Chris Weidman and Phil Davis. A native of the esteemed Evolve MMA camp that’s based in Singapore, Butler has surrounded himself with a host of world champions in various disciplines including Muay Thai, Boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The American is set to make his professional MMA debut under the ONE FC banner, and given his outstanding wresting credentials and what not, he will undoubtedly be looking to take the fight to the canvas. However, it remains to be seen on how well he fares in the stand-up department. Expect Butler to try and grind out a decision here.

Antoni Romulo (1-0), in the meantime, hasn’t fought in a professional MMA bout in over 6 years given the lack of MMA events in Indonesia. He was last seen at BOB – Battle on Bali, where he garnered a TKO stoppage over Jimmy Yan Herry. Since then, the Indonesian Light Heavyweight has been working extensively on his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai and will be looking to use those tools to upset Jake Butler. Romulo, who is a National Wrestling champion is his own right, will be no slouch on the ground and it will be interesting to see who gets the upper should the fight hit the mat.


Gianni Subba vs. Saiful Merican

Following a spectacular left-hook that finished off Singaporean Bruce Loh, Gianni Subba (1-0) opened a lot of eyes in the MMA world. At just 20-years-old, Subba is one of the youngest fighters on the stacked and talented ONE FC roster, and is ready to progress in his fledging professional Mixed Martial Arts career. Switching camps between Monarchy MMA and Phuket Top Team, Subba has had the opportunity to train with the likes of Roger Huerta, Andrew Leone and Rodrigo Praxedes. The young Malaysian will also be having the support of the home crowd, as he attempts to defeat national Muay Thai champion in Saiful Merican (0-0).

Well, Merican’s rise to combat stardom has been nothing short of spectacular. In fact, ‘The Vampire’ is one of the best Muay Thai fighters Malaysia has ever produced. With an incredible number of 125 professional Muay Thai bouts, Merican’s striking prowess may force Subba to set up the barricades in this intriguing encounter. It will be interesting to note, however, on how much Merican has been working on his ground game. MMA, after all, doesn’t always involve strikes.

AJ Lias Mansor vs. Jian Kai Chee

The first match-up in ONE FC’s inaugural Malaysian National Featherweight Championship tournament pits 2 fighters who are desperate in getting a tick in their respective win columns.

Jian Kai Chee (3-4), one of three fighters fighting out Team Muayfit on February 2nd, is another fighter looking to strut his striking skills under the ONE FC banner. Despite having 4 losses on his resume, Kai Chee has faced some of the best fighters in the Asian region, including Frenchman Arnaud Lepont and Evolve MMA’s Eddie Ng. The former National Muay Thai champion will be desperate to grab a win in front of his home crowd, as he attempts to snap his 2-fight losing skid.

His opponent, AJ ‘Pyro’ Lias Mansor (1-2), is another fighter who’s determined to put a halt on his recent winless run. Following an MMA debut victory over Keanu Subba, ‘Pyro’ has dropped back-to-back submission losses to Majee Overall and Mitch Chilson. With a background in Silat, Mansor’s transition to MMA has taken a rough patch, but the Borneo Tribal Squad native will be desperate to get his career back on track.

Raymond Tiew vs. Melvin Yeoh

The 2nd fight of the inaugural Malaysian National Featherweight Championship tournament will see Melvin Yeoh going up against Raymond Tiew for the second time.

Melvin Yeoh (6-1) is widely recognized as the most successful Mixed Martial Artist in Malaysian history. With 7 professional bouts to date, Yeoh is currently on a tear with a 4-fight win streak, earning consecutive 1st round stoppages. The Ultimate MMA native is a veteran in Malaysia Fighting Championship, and has never been past the 2nd stanza. Raymond Tiew will be a familiar foe across the cage for 32-year-old Yeoh, having defeated him via TKO in their first outing. Yeoh is a former Muay Thai champion, and is well-versed in all aspects of the Mixed Martial Arts game.

And just like the aforementioned Melvin Yeoh, Raymond Tiew (4-2) is no stranger to the bright lights of Malaysia Fighting Championship either. Tiew was last seen at ONE FC 2: Battle of Heroes in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he saw his 3-fight win streak snapped by Victorio Senduk. Fighting out of Titan Fight Team, Tiew is also a Sanshou champion who has medalled and competed in K-1, Wushu and Sanda. Known for his explosive striking, Tiew will be hoping to win this grudge match and solidify his position as Malaysia’s best Featherweight.


Thanh Vu vs. Mohd Fouzein

Not much is known about both fighters, but we do know one thing for certain: Both guys will not back down, and will give 100% in their quest for ONE FC’s Bantamweight strap.

Thanh Vu (2-1) is of Vietnamese descent, and is currently based in Sydney, Australia. A decorated grappler who has placed in numerous tournaments, Vu has fought 3 times to date. Following a professional MMA debut win over Justin Long, Vu dropped a Unanimous decision against Tim Moore, before finding himself in the win column once again when he submitted David Vastersavendts via Rear-Naked Choke. Vu was originally slated to face veteran Ryan Diaz. Diaz, however, was scrapped from the card due to injury.

Mohd Fouzein (3-4), in the meantime, has competed in a myriad of promotions, including Malaysian Fighting Championship and F3C. He has fought the likes of Allamurad Karayev thus far, and has only gone the distance once. The Malaysian fighter recently had his 2-fight win streak snapped in December of last year, when he was submitted by Mohd Zakhir in the 1st stanza. Fouzein may have his back against the wall in his ONE FC debut, having taken this fight on 2 days’ notice. Thanh Vu was originally slated to face Raymond Tan (1-0), however, according to reports, the doctors could not clear him to fight.

Zuli Silawanto vs. Adam Kayoom

One of 3 Indonesian fighters on the ONE FC 7: Return of Warriors fight card, Zuli Silawanto is a fighter well-versed in numerous combat disciplines including Kickboxing, Pencak Silat and Yusikaindo. Having faced the likes of former UFC and PRIDE veteran Eiji Mitsuoka in his professional MMA career thus far, the Tigershark Fighting Academy native has amassed a record of 6-5. Silawanto will undoubtedly be entering enemy territory on February 2nd. The former TPIFC veteran was last seen at ONE FC 2: Battle of Heroes, where he scored a 0:47s TKO victory over Agus Nanang.

Adam ‘Shogun’ Kayoom (3-1), in the meantime, will need no introductions to the Malaysian crowd whatsoever. Now based in Phuket, Thailand with the likes of Andrew Leone and Roger Huerta at Phuket Top Team, Kayoom is no slouch by any standards. A Black-Belt in Karate, Taekwondo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the 35-year-old is certainly one of Malaysia’s top Mixed Martial Artists despite having only 4 bouts to date. Following a set-back against Myung Ho Bae at Legend FC 3, Kayoom has won back-to-back fights in DARE and ONE FC, against Seok Mo Kim and Gregor Gracie respectively.

Leo Krishna vs. Peter Davis

Peter Davis (5-1) is a former UK CFC champion, and a model turned actor. The 31-year-old trains in Malaysia at the esteemed Muayfit camp, alongside the likes of Arnaud Lepont, Eric Kelly and Jian Kai Chee. An occasional columnist for Men’s Health Magazine, Davis has amassed a total of 5 victories in his professional MMA career thus far. He is a perfect 2-0 under the ONE FC banner, gaining victories over Ngabdi Mulyadi and Juggernaut FC’s Quek Kim Hock. Davis is currently riding on a 4-fight win streak, and momentum will certainly be in the Malaysian’s favour.

Leo Krishna (2-0) will be entering this bout with a little less experience in terms of MMA bouts, but the highly-touted Indonesian’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu could pose Davis some problems should the fight hit the canvas. Having submitted all of his opponents thus far, the Synergy MMA native’s grappling prowess could be his key to victory here.

Vuyisile Colossa vs. Lowen Tynanes

A former Muay Thai world champion who has never been finished in MMA, K-1 or Kickboxing, South African born Vuyisile Colossa (5-3) is one of the deadliest strikers in the Asian region. Known as ‘The Cheetah’, Colossa is 3-2 in his past 5 fights and 1-2 in his stint with ROAD Fighting Championship. The 30-year-old competed in ONE FC’s inaugural ‘Champion vs. Champion’ event back in 2011, and garnered an early TKO stoppage of Xing Yu Ma in the 1st stanza.

Lowen Tynanes (2-0) was dragged into the Mixed Martial Arts limelight on December 1st last year, when he defeated Filipino hotshot Eduard ‘Landslide’ Folayang at URCC 22: Dekada. Tynanes was a huge underdog heading into the fight, but a vicious elbow from the Hawaiian was all it took for a Doctor’s stoppage. Tynanes may very well have to set up the barricades against Vuyisile Colossa, but his win over Folayang bore testament to the Hawaiian’s heart and resolve so fight fans, don’t count him out just yet.

Rey Docyogen vs. Shinichi Kojima

Shinichi Kojima (12-5-5), one of the world’s top Flyweight fighters, is a Shooto veteran and former Shooto Bantamweight champion. In 22 professional MMA bouts to date, the Japanese fighter has only been finished once. A Southpaw, Kojima is 3-2 in his past 5 bouts, dropping decision losses to Nam Jin Jo and Jussier Formiga. Once unbeaten for a period of 3 years, Kojima will undoubtedly be Docyogen’s toughest test to date, and it remains to be seen if the latter will leave the ONE FC cage with his unscathed record still in tact.

Rey Docyogen (10-0), in the meantime, is unbeaten as a professional Mixed Martial Artist, and has only competed under the URCC banner. His upcoming bout with Kojima will be his first outside of the Philippines. As the reigning URCC Pinweight champion, Docyogen has only gone the distance twice, and has finished 8 of his opponents by either TKO, or submission. The Team Lakay native is renowned for his ground-and-pound in the Asian region, and is a well-rounded fighter capable of dictating the pace of his bouts.

This bout between Docyogen and Kojima will also determine the #1 contender for ONE FC’s Flyweight strap.

Eric Kelly vs. Honorio Banario

Eric Kelly and Honorio Banario are in the upper echelon of the Asian Featherweight division. Both fighters are veterans in the Filipino-based URCC, and title-holders in their respective weight divisions.

Muayfit’s Eric Kelly is one of the premier MMA fighters in the Asian region, and has an unblemished record of 9-0. Having gone 3-0 in his stint with ONE Fighting Championship, Kelly’s rise to stardom has been somewhat conspicuous. This indefatigable fighter had to face and beat the likes of Mitch Chilson, Bae Young Kwon and former UFC Lightweight champion Jens Pulver, before securing a title shot at the most coveted Featherweight strap in the region. A malignant striker who’s also well-versed on the ground, Kelly was last seen at URCC 22: Dekada where he defeated Brad Terrey in the 3rd stanza by Armbar.

Honorio Banario (7-1), in the meantime, is a member of Team Lakay: A camp that’s home to the likes of URCC champions Eduard Folayang, Rey Docyogen and Kevin Belingon. The Filipino fighter entered the ONE FC cage last February unbeaten, but faced the agony of suffering the first set-back of his career when he was submitted by top South-Korean prospect, Bae Young Kwon. Banario vowed to return with vengeance, and did just that when he TKO’ed a resilient Andrew Benibe at ONE FC 5: Pride of a Nation in August last year. Victor Cui, CEO of ONE Fighting Championship, was thoroughly impressed with Banario’s performance and decided to give him a crack at the inaugural Featherweight strap.

All in all, both fighters are well-rounded and a championship fight of this magnitude will be well-received by the Malaysian audience. Finishes have always been a priority for both these athletes, and it’ll be interesting to see how this fight shapes up and who will become the top Featherweight fighter in ONE Fighting Championship.


Follow Thinesh on Twitter (@ThineshJohnMMA), and keep up with the latest MMA news from MMASucka via Twitter (@MMASucka) and Facebook

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20, Asian MMA enthusiast in Singapore.

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