Asian MMA

What Is JCK, China’s Ambitious Super-Promotion?

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Since “The Ultimate Fighter: China” uncomfortably aired just eight years ago, the sport in the world’s most populous country is unrecognizable. The UFC has already had a Chinese champion, and the growing line-up of Chinese fighters in the promotion is likely to boom this year with the “Road to UFC” series in June. This Saturday, the largest and currently most influential promotion in China- JCK- begins its 2022 season.

JCK is China’s Ambitious Super-Promotion

Similar to the PFL, JCK operates in an annual, seasonal format that culminates in a finale and massive payouts to the winners. However, unlike the PFL, JCK uses more of a standard tournament format (with some complications, but that’ll come later). Five tournaments across the weight classes from flyweight to welterweight progress from the months of May to January, with events every Saturday.

The tournaments begin with an immense field- 32 fighters per weight class. Last year, the field included longtime Chinese MMA veterans as well as fighters making their pro debuts. The veterans often cut down their competition, but there were also surprising discoveries as well, such as the heavy-handed welterweight Aorigele (4-0), who blasted his way to the finals. The winner of each tournament receives one million RMB and shortcuts to the top in future JCK seasons.

However, there are some twists to the standard tournament format. As mentioned previously, former winners and successful veterans of JCK get a shortened route to the finals. These elite competitors take part in the “JCK Super Round”. In Super Round events, six fighters in each weight class draw names to determine the matchups. Each fighter competes in three fights within that pool of six, and the six fighters are ranked by the promotion based on their performances. The bottom two fighters face elimination.

JCK’s format develops MMA in China at a rapid pace, gathering hundreds of the country’s athletes and giving them up to five fights in a year. Heavy investment in the promotion allows for the weekly events, which are broadcast for free with A-level production values. Let’s take a look at the two fighters tasked with heading up the first JCK card of the season.

JCK Season Opener- Highlight Machines Go To War

Saturday’s event features eight fights in the 2022 season, with a main event of the postponed welterweight finals of the 2021 season. Both of the fighters competing are worth remembering as they have incredibly bright futures. Aorigele (4-0) only went pro in July of last year but has already established himself as one of the top prospects in China. He scored first-round knockouts over his first three opponents in JCK last year, quickly building an entertaining highlight reel for himself.

His breakthrough moment, however, came in the semifinals when he fought longtime veteran Wang Qi in January. Wang has more than 25 more pro fights than Aorigele, and the two went toe-to-toe for two rounds until Aorigele submitted him with a guillotine choke. The win was a validating experience for the young welterweight, who fights another tough veteran on Saturday.

Ding Meng (21-7), Aorigele’s opponent, is a pulverizing striker who loathes going to the judges. None of his last sixteen fights have gone to a decision, and he was the victor of 15 of them. He’s finished off established veterans like Qi Xiangxu, Wang Qi, and most recently, regarded Tibetan prospect Taiyilake Nueraji with a liver kick.

The winner of the 2021 welterweight finals will win one million Chinese RMB ($150,000).

The card airs for free on JCKMMA.com at 6 am EST / 3 am PST, and MMASucka will have live results. Stay tuned to MMASucka this year for more coverage of JCK and Chinese MMA.

FULL JCK FIGHT NIGHT: FIRST ROUND CARD

Ding Meng vs. Aorigele

Huwannixi Wusikenbieke vs. Liu Mengyu

Zhou Wenyun vs. Chen Fu

Wang Shaoxiang vs. Hulan Bateeraili

Wang Yawei vs. Alemujiang

Li Jiesheng vs. Yang Fei

Ahebota Mulatihan vs. Wang Yusheng

Ajiamujia vs. Zhang Hui

Nie Weichao vs. Wang Hongyu

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Chris Presnell is a staff writer for MMASucka. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @mmaecosystem.

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