Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Random Report: ONE Fighting Championship: Return of Warriors

by Zad Datu

After returning from ONE FC: Return of the Warriors on the evening of 2nd February, its very obvious that the standard of MMA in this region of the world is still low. MMA is still very fresh in this new market, so we can’t expect much and I will be looking forward to see it grow.


Coming from an underated martial art background (depends how you look at it) where there is (or was) virtually zero commercialising, that is mainstream karate, the first thing I noticed was that the standard of showmenship of the MMA fighters when making an enterance and celebrating their wins as well as their nicknames inproportionately outclassed their standards of fighting, thanks to the generally cocky (but extremely friendly) culture of USA as they took over the lead of MMA influence from Japan replacing the culture of humble confidence with theirs.

Most of the figthers were simply good enough to not make a fool of themselves. I know how it was to start out looking foolish in fights when I was new. Not to say that I am any better than them with these comment, but I do have my oppinions. There were some interesting fights but no impressive fighters thus far. I have a suspicion that part to blame for this is that perhaps it just never does look as impressive live as it does on TV (but the odd thing is in karate bouts it seldom looks as good on video recordings as how you remembered watchign it live).

Some of the fighters started training for MMA directly, some started out as Marital Arts purist from Silat, Wushu, Muay Thai and etc. whilst some were national and even world champions of speficic marital arts. Most were Malaysians but they were some from Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, USA, South Africa and Philipines (I hope I didn’t miss out on any nationalities). Surprisingly some of the standup based martial art purist entered MMA clearly didn’t prepare for ground fights or grappling fights. If they do not intend to play a ground fight, they should’ve atleast prepare to defend against ground fighters.

Anyway, on the positive side, there was a good armbar by Gianni Subba, a triangle choke which was a little hard to catch by Melvin Yeoh, a rear-naked choke by the anticipated Adam Kayoom followed by his comment on the respect which should be given to all these fighters who has sacrificed a lot and that he hasn’t seen his daughter who is only 5 months old as an example, and ended with “...we don’t need to listen to your bullshhh....” – a pre-resposne to what I’m have to say about these fighters. The most gruesome win was where Pete Davis smashed his heel against his opponent’s mouth, to be specific, who was attempting an anke lock. Leo Krishna from Indonesia ended with a chunk of his upper lip sliced appart while Pete Davis’s was heel cut open with blood gushing non-stop. Another beautiful win was a guilotine choke by Japan’s Shooto champion, Sinichi Kojima followed by a comical expression of relief and excitement during the interview in the ring just after his victory. He then snached the microphone off from Jason Chambers (yes, host of Human Weapon is a comentator here) just to say “TERIMA KASIH!”.

The final and most anticipated bout, Eric Kelly vs. Honorio Banario, turned out to be the worst of them all. Spectators couldn’t bare the the anticlimatic event as “boos” were given off here and there. They even lost interest in hooting for the ring girls up to this point. If I were to chose which match should’ve been the highlight, it would be between Sinichi’s bout and the South Africa vs USA (Vuyisile Colossa vs. Lowen Tynanes) where Tynanes submitted Colossa with a triangle choke les than 30 seconds before the end of the final round. There were good ground work in these two fights.

In the case of Kelly vs Banario, both Philipinos, they didn’t make much contact - minimal attempts to strike, minimal attempts to grapple, minimal ground game and minimal amount of exchanges. In fact, the least exchanges out of all the bouts. Just a few punches for the sake of punching and kicks for the sake of kicking. Kelly ettempted a lot of swings to the head which he clearly was doing so hoping for the luck that it would land rather than with the confidence that it would, and Banario gave a lot of leg-slaps, I would call it, rather than effective kicks. After all that, about 2 second after Banario landed a solid but not extraordinarily powerful jab to Kelly’s head without having a chance following up with more attacks, Kelly decided to slowly squat down to his but with his palm raised and open in defeat, i.e. chickend out. Not to be too critical, judgemental or to make comments of what actually went through deep inside his heart or head, but that’s what it looked like, that’s what we witnessed, and that’s what he did earning Banario the first ONE FC World Featherweight Champion.

Some are tempted to say that they both can’t fight and question how they managed to acheive the double digit professional wins and titles from other championsihps, but that obviously can’t be true. But that’s what it looks like. To add an irony, the lucky draw prize for the event was to attend 10 free lessons from the one who chickened out with a squat dow to his but and a stay away from me hand gesture. Of course, the reason of the minimal exchanges between the finalists is because they both were being cautions, familiar with eachother’s style and are of equal standards. But equal standards of high or low?


If you watched the bout, try comparing that with Asian Games Karate Event Finals Female Below 61kg bout [video above]. Yes, it’s a different game. Karate bouts are single-rounds three-minute bouts with dominantly semi-contact strikes and a some takedowns and no grapples (the screaming may be hillarious to you if you’re not familiar with kiai). But you can clearly see that they both are of equal undoubtly high standards with precision attacks, versatility of movements and striking techniques. The Malaysian kept on persuing for points delivering and receiving strikes trying her luck desperately all the way to the end as she was 4 to 5 points down  whilst the Japanese maintained her ground, composition and sharpness of techniques delivering as she recieves. This is so contrasting to the arm-swings for the sake of punching and leg-slaps for the sake of kicking as seen in the ONE FC World Featherweight Finals bout. To add to that, unlike the dramatic victory celebration of running around, jumping around, screaming and punching fists into the air after wining a lousy fight, the Japanese lady celebrated with bows after bows, smiles and open-palmed waves to the spectators as she humbly strolled off to the dressing room.



I am so tempted to introduce this video collection of North Korean ITF Taekwondo bouts [above] where the quality of speed, precision and respnose of the fighters impresses. ITF Taekwondo is another example of an underated martial art (the popular federation of Taekwondo is WTF, which is in the Olympics). I also feel the need to share a hillarious video of a muay thai match [video below]. No where did any of the fighters in ONE FC looked as foolish as the Muay Thai fighters in the video below, but these two surely can fight. The punches, kicks and knee strikes they deliver surely seems powerful, not one that anyone can take without sufferign from a concussion, and they surely can recieve them with durability as well, an so can the referee. It may seems like they lack in strategy, but not anyone would dare facing these two in a bout after witnessing thsi video.

video


Do you now see why I would be upset with the anticlimatic event? Neither Banario nor Kelly went anywhere near halfway of the all-way-out mark. As a fighter, that’s the mark you want to reach in every fight whether it’s against a superior opponent or inferior, and that’s exactly what the fighters in the three video I presented have done. I wouldn’t say I’m a martial art expert nor to say that I can beat these fighters up easily, and though not a MMA’s biggest fan I am a marital art enthusiast and semi-enthusiast of MMA, I do consider myself qualified to make an educated oppinion though limited.

I wish it was this fight which I watched live:

MMA bouts are as close as it gets to a 1-on-1 fight scenario in  reality and sis seen as a dream fighting competition for martial art enthusiasts like me. MMA is on a quick rise to popularity slowly taking over Pro Boxing in the field of combat entertainment. ONE FC, claimed to be the largest MMA event in Asia, is a Singapore based MMA promotion launched just in 2011. The idea of launcing such an organisation in this region of the world is just brilliant. I wish it was me who did it. Deespite of my criticisms, I have great respect for the organisation not just as a martial art organisation but also as a business. I have great respect for the fighters for what they have achieved despite my dissapointment on the match.
Print Friendly and PDF

No comments:

Post a Comment