Zilong Zhao - RUFF
Just hours before the action got underway at UFC 156, the RUFF riders in China went to war for big-money paydays and the chance to call themselves champions.
With a total $800,000 prize money as well as the chance to become a national champion of China on the line, the five title matches at RUFF 8 on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 2, 2013) were always going to be competitive and fans in the Inner Mongolia Indoor Stadium were treated to a series of fast finishes.
The only disappointment was the last minute withdrawal of Jumabieke Tuerxan (14-0) who decided not to sign a contract to face South African Irshaad Sayed for the third time and is rumored to be on the verge of signing with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) instead.
Three of China's best pound-for-pound fighters did walk away with belts as Zhao ZiLong (pictured) won in the light heavyweight division, Zhang MeiXuan triumphed at flyweight and Wang Guan was crowned the featherweight champion.
The other two titles went to foreign fighters living and working in Hong Kong as Brazilian Rodrigo Caporal became lightweight champion and South African Irshaad Sayed took the title in the bantamweight division. All of the fights were finished on the ground with three submissions and two stoppages due to strikes.
Zilong improves to 9-3, Caporal moves up to 9-4, Zhang is now 5-1, Sayed's tally stands at 6-2 and Guan remains unbeaten with an outstanding 11-0-1 record. RUFF's status as China's only government-sanctioned mixed martial arts (MMA) organization means that these five have earned the right to call themselves national champions as well as bank $160,000 each in prize money.
RUFF Super Fight February 2, 2013 Inner Mongolia Indoor Stadium, China
Zhao ZiLong def. Li JiXiang via tapout (armbar) R1, 0:47
Rodrigo Caporal def. Wu HaoTian via tapout (armbar) R1, 1:31
Zhang MeiXuan def. Liu PingYuan via tapout (heel hook) R1, 3:11
Irshaad Sayed def. Yuan ChunBo via TKO (ref stoppage strikes) R2, 4:22
Wang Guan def. Wu ChengJie via TKO (ref stoppage strikes) R1, 4:22