The first two fights to be announced for ONE FC 'Destiny of Warriors' which is taking place at Stadium Negara on June 23rd will see Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) experts Renato Sobral and Leandro Issa take take on Japanese veterans Tatsuya Mizuno and Masakazu Imanari.
The main event will feature two fighters who have been on the scene for a long time. Babalu made his debut back in 1997 and has faced the likes of Chuck Liddell, Fedor Emelianenko and Dan Henderson and fought for the UFC title twice, while Mizuno is the number one light heavyweight in Japan and holds stoppage wins over both Melvin Manhoef and Yoshiyuki Nakanishi.
Issa and Imanari are both coming off wins at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, the Brazilian battled his way to a unanimous decision over Soo Chul Kim in September while the Japanese leg lock specialist did what he did best against Kevin Imanari in March, forcing him to tap to an inverted heel hook early in their fight.
Stadium Negara has a capacity of 10,200 and, after two shows in Singapore and one in Jakarta, this will be the first time that ONE FC has put on a card in Kuala Lumpur. It is an enormous venue which routinely plays host to concerts by the likes of Bon Jovi, Kanye West and Kylie Minogue so it is no surprise to see ONE FC rolling out some of the big guns on its roster.
In 18 fights Mizuno has only been the distance once and that was at the end of a two round affair. Five of his wins are by knockout and the other six by submission although he has also been stopped seven times himself meaning that this fight is highly unlikely to go to a decision.
'Babalu' is a living legend who once defeated Jeremy Horn, Mauricio Rua and Trevor Prangley in a single night to win the IFC Light Heavyweight Tournament, and is a former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion who has fought for the UFC Light Heavyweight title not once but twice.
The only reason he was released from the UFC is that he failed to release an anaconda choke promptly enough after submitting David Heath and is 6-2 in his last eight fights. Exactly half of his 36 wins are by way of submission and he has a second degree black belt in BJJ.
The fight between Issa and Imanari will be interesting because although the Japanese fighter is one of the foremost submission specialists in the bantamweight division his opponent is a BJJ world champion who is riding a six fight win streak. Issa trains everyday with the Muay Thai world champions at Evolve MMA, has rapidly improving stand up and his key to victory will be to avoid his opponent's brutal leg locks.
The rest of the card is supposedly going to be announced soon and is likely to feature some of the top Malaysian fighters like Adam Kayoom, Melvin Yeoh and Peter Davis along with some of the more established ONE FC stars.