From left to right: Mixed martial artists Pat Promrangka, Will Chope, Michael Tobin, Reydon Romero, Miguel Torres, Takahiro Ashida and Yojiro Uchimura (Photo: Rebel FC)
Singapore-based fight promotion company Rebel FC is holding its second major mixed martial arts (MMA) event after 2013’s ‘Into the Lion’s Den’.
The stage is set for 1 August, and its eight-man knockout tournament ‘Battle Royale’ is not short of quality fighters, promising plenty of high-intensity fights and displays of athleticism.
The fight card consists of an international line-up, including UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) veteran Will Chope and former bantamweight champion Miguel Torres, both from the United States. Japanese fighters include former ZST featherweight champion Yojiro Uchimura and current Deep champion Takahiro Ashida.
Representing the Philippines and Brazil respectively are talented knockout and submission artists Reydon Romero and Mauricio Dos Santos Jr. Up-and-comers Michael Tobin from Australia and Pat Promrangka from Thailand are also on the list.
FOR FANS AND CASUAL VIEWERS
Justin Leong, executive director of Rebel FC, said: “This tournament is for the fighters at the top of their game to compete until the last man is crowned the king of the battle.”
Four quarterfinal fights will take place on 1 August at Suntec Singapore's convention and exhibition centre. Winners will go on to compete in two semi-final fights and the finals, all of which will be held in a gruelling day-long programme.
Leong added that this format will appeal to both fans and casual viewers of MMA. “Ninety per cent of all participants’ fights are finishes, either by knockouts or submissions. There is the likelihood that most, if not all the fights in 'Battle Royale' will end up as spectacular finishes,” he said.
In a random draw for the match-ups, held on 8 May, the following draws were picked out:
Will Chope vs Mauricio Santos Jr
Miguel Torres vs Takahiro Ashida
Michael Tobin vs Pat Promrangka
Reydon Ramos vs Yojiro Uchimura
The winner will have to go through three tough fights to be named the champion, and veteran fighter Miguel Torres, for one, is raring to go.
The 33-year-old was born in East Chicago, Indiana, US, and has fought in every major MMA league including the UFC, World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and World Series of Fighting (WSOF). He drew 12-2 (12 wins to 2 losses) with pro-record-holder Ashida in the live fight draw.
Torres, who has been fighting for 15 years, said: “I’ve had some of my most exciting fights in my career against Japanese fighters, and I knew coming into this that I was going to draw a Japanese fighter somehow.”
FIGHTING BACK TO THE TOP
Arguably the fighter with the most storied career, Torres has had quite a dramatic fall from the top as the former #1 bantamweight in the world. With Rebel FC’s ‘Battle Royale’, he is looking to regain his lost shine.
He is keen to take on the heavier featherweight class of fighters at the event, even though he is one of the self-proclaimed “shortest guys” in the current line-up of eight.
He is ready to go back to his old fighting style. “When I first came into this sport, I was very aggressive and very ugly with my standup. And as guys figured me out, they started taking me down and holding me down trying to burn rounds. But now I can go out there and I can go back to fighting my old style, which makes for sense for me because I’m more comfortable,” he revealed.
BREAKING THE RULES
For founder Leong, he is not about to confine the show to established formats.
Rebel FC's founder Justin Leong (fifth from right), with the mixed martial artists, has big hopes for their shows
“I don’t want to copy One FC or the UFC. With the experience of the show (‘Battle Royale’), we want to make it very theatrical, more WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) style. It’s more about entertainment, more about it being fun,” he told inSing.
In the lead-up to ‘Battle Royale’, there will be 30-minute documentaries on the individual fighters.
The back stories of the fighters are unexpected, for instance, Japanese fighter Uchimura is a trained sushi chef and loves cooking, while Torres has a university degree in marketing. Leong described Ashida as robot-like in his dedication to training, while young Tobin is managed by his father, “much like Rocky Balboa whose trainer is his father-figure”.
Leong said of Rebel FC's format: “We put on entertaining fights, and we have interesting characters. The best fighters, in my opinion, are interesting, charismatic and also a great fighter."