If you're into mixed martial arts, or even just the slightest bit interested in the sport, it'll do you some good to look beyond the notable promotions in the United States.
Of course, the UFC holds the torch when talking bout which company has the greatest collection of talent. Hell, they're even branching out into other countries and staking their claims overseas at this point. But if you take a look at the happenings in Singapore, you'll notice an MMA promotion putting on the kind of caged face-punching a fan can really get into.
ONE Championship is putting on some incredible fights and their next effort, "Ascent to Power," will go down Friday May 6. Let's look at why you should check this card out.
1. Angela Lee vs. Yamaguchi for the inaugural women’s atomweight title.
We talked yesterday about how Angela Lee is a must-watch athlete (plug). Here we are 24 hours later and, yeah, we haven’t changed our minds.
Lee will fight Mei Yamaguchi for the right to claim the organization’s first ONE Championship women’s atomweight title. Yamaguchi is coming off winning the Deep Jewels Featherweight Grand Prix, picking up wins over Miyoko Kusaka, Mina Kurobe and Satomi Takano, the latter two in one night to win the whole damn tournament. No slouch, that one.
Without even having fought professionally for a full year yet, Lee is one to keep your eye on as she’s collected submission finishes in each of her five fights, three of which were in the first round. We’d be lying if we said we’re not excited to see if Lee can pull off another Twister submission.
2. ONE is leading the return of the Asian MMA scene.
Remember when PRIDE was around? If your answer is “yes” then *fist bump* and long live "The Last Emperor." If your answer is “no,” I’m sorry you missed out on one of the greatest times in MMA fandom.
PRIDE produced some of the best shows Asia had seen, putting on some of the most memorable cards in MMA history. Unfortunately, they closed up shop in 2007 and things have kind of gone downhill in Asian MMA since those days. Luckily, Singapore’s ONE Championship is doing a really good job of filling that gap. They’re a fairly young promotion, but in the short time they’ve been around they’ve been able to put on some exciting fights.
This week’s “Ascent to Power” card is yet another opportunity to see what the best athletes in Asia have to offer, especially showcasing not one but TWO title fights. Gold belts just flying all over the place in Singapore.
3. Yet another inaugural title fight, this time with a Gracie.
Did someone say gold belts?
That’s right, there are two titles on the line at this week’s ONE card, and one of them includes a Gracie. Roger Gracie, that is.
Roger, arguably the greatest Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitor of the last decade, if not ever, took to MMA in 2006, fighting sporadically since then. He produced a 7-2 record in that time, and five of his seven wins came via submission (surprise, surprise because, you know, jiu-jitsu). Gracie is a legit black belt and always dangerous, whether on the jiu-jitsu mat or in the MMA cage.
Gracie will have his hands full with Poland’s Michel Pasternak, an undefeated fighter with six finishes in his 11 fights. One of these guys will be your first ONE light heavyweight champion.
4. Probably the cheapest PPV you’ll purchase at $10.
Let’s be real for moment here — MMA pay-per-views have gone up in price over the last few years and not all of us are earning that much more. Yeah, it kinda sucks shelling out a bunch of money, month to month, so that we can watch our glorious sanctioned violence.
This ONE Championship PPV, however, is worth skipping a trip to Panera Bread or whatever overpriced fast-food establishment you frequent because the $10 you spend there can go to MMA. From bottom to top, you can purchase this card, save some money and make a sandwich. Win-win situation, you guys.
5. Angela Lee is a downright badass.
One more reminder: Angela Lee is a badass and you’re selling yourself short by not watching here. Seriously, get on that. You’ll thank me later.