Asian MMA talents take the limelight at TUF: China Finale

Nam Yui Chul, Mark Eddiva, Jumabieke Tuerxun, Wang An Ying and Zhang Li Peng were names that most fight fans probably weren’t familiar with prior to the TUF: China Finale festivities in Macau, China.

But after Saturday night’s momentous spectacle which streamed LIVE on UFC Fight Pass, you might want to get comfortable with their names, because we will see them in the octagon sooner or later.

Asian MMA talents take the limelight at TUF: China Finale

After three rounds of non-stop action, Chul and Tokudome finally catch their breath.
After three rounds of non-stop action, Chul and Tokudome finally catch their breath.

Nam Yui Chul, who was fighting for the first time since garnering back-to-back title victories under the ROAD FC banner, arguably made the biggest statement of the night in his mouth watering three-round tussle with promotional vet, Kazuki Tokudome. Chul dropped Tokudome an incredible five times in the first stanza, and could have so easily finished the fight if it weren’t for his Japanese counterpart’s heart and tenacity. Although the second round saw Tokudome edge the scorecards 10-9, Chul rose to the occasion in the third, strongly controlling proceedings in top control when the fight hit the canvas. In the end, the South Korean deservedly took home a hardly-contested Split Decision victory, and a $50,000 bonus cheque for “Performance of the Night”.

Chul has always been technically sound and a fighter with an all-round MMA facet, but since his days in Legend FC and ROAD FC, the former ROAD FC champ is known for frequently engaging in brawls if need be.

Eddiva scored the biggest upset of the night with a decision victory over Chinese MMA superstar, Jumabieke Tuerxun. Eddiva, who entered the bout as a huge underdog and with a three-year hiatus under his belt, out-wrestled his much fancied opponent en route to being the first Team Lakay fighter to gain a victory in the famed octagon. Moreover, the Team Lakay men have been heavily criticized for their grappling credentials in the past. But after Saturday’s performance, Eddiva silenced all critics with an astonishing display.

While Tuerxun suffered what was his first defeat in over thirty professional MMA contests, he still very much remains in the plans of the UFC brass, and one might suggest that the Xian Sports University native may consider a drop back to 135-lbs after that shock setback.

Wang An Ying's Sanda style led the Chinese fighter to a first round TKO victory.
Wang An Ying’s Sanda style led the Chinese fighter to a first round TKO victory.

Wang An Ying’s brutal striking was on display as he peppered his opponent, Albert Cheng, so much that a nasty eye injury (and a possible broken orbital bone) allowed the Phuket Top Team native to garner a first round doctor’s stoppage victory. Wang, a semi-finalist on the TUF: China reality series, avoided his opponent’s grappling prowess from the get-go and stayed true to his striking/Sanda roots. The opening stages, though, were lackluster, and the crowd were jeering both men for ther lack of action. But that evidently served as a wake-up call to both fighters as they immediately started teeing off on one another. Wang, however, landed the more accurate strikes, and marked his UFC debut impressively with a TKO triumph.

The co-main event saw Zhang Li Peng garner the TUF: China Welterweight tourney crown and receive a six-figure contract from the UFC. It’s customary for the TUF winners to be lucratively awarded, although in Zhang’s case, it came in rather controversial circumstances against his opponent, Wang Sai. Zhang landed a couple of takedowns in the fight and even had a close submission or two, but Wang Sai shrugged away every single attempt. Sai came back strongly in the second and third rounds, but it wasn’t enough. Not at least in the judges’ point of view.

“I’m overjoyed to become China’s first The Ultimate Fighter,” Zhang said. “I credit my win today to my defensive moves. I worked really hard on it in practice and it worked out.”

The UFC is set to make a return to Macau and Japan by the end of the calendar year. And with more prospective fighters coming out of the Asian MMA scene, don’t be surprised to see more unfamiliar names on future Asia-based fight cards. 

For full TUF: China results, click here.

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

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