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MIMMA 2: Will Chope poised to make his triumphant return to Malaysian MMA, but Matt Pellino hoping to spoil the party

Suhaimi Abdullah

Will Chope thought the past was just that ... the past.

The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight prospect was less than 24 hours away from his UFC Fight Night 38 bout against Diego Brandao in Brazil, when an online report surfaced that brought to light a five-year-old domestic dispute with his then-wife, which ended with his discharge from the military.

And as a result, his discharge from UFC, as well.

"I wish they would have talked to me and my ex-wife before they made their final decision to cut me," Chope told MMAmania.com. "Everything happened so fast."

His ex-wife came forward not long after Chope's release and corroborated his story, insisting that what made the report was a far cry from what actually transpired (see their joint video here). Unfortunately, the promotion wouldn't budge and the 145-pound standout was left without a job.

But not for long.

"It feels great to be back in Malaysia," said Chope, who was quickly scooped up by Malaysian Invasion Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). "I use to live here and coach here, so I'm happy to fight in front of all my friends and old students."

Just one fight removed from his brief stint under the ZUFFA banner, Chope will battle Matt Pellino at the MIMMA 2: "Grand Finals" mixed martial arts (MMA) event, which takes place inside Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Sat., Oct. 25, 2014 (preview here).

And don't expect much in the way of compliments.

"As a fighter, I don't think anything of him, because he has only one amateur fight that he lost," Chope said, when sizing up his much-heavier opponent. "As a person, I think he is a lying fraud," he continued. "He literally got famous in Malaysia the last two years because he lied about his credentials and fighting record."

Pellino is unfazed by the critique.

"We have been going back and forth on some issues," the "Liquid Monkey" told MMAmania.com. "But it's okay, because everyone has an opinion. Some just more open than others."

In addition, Pellino makes no bones about being out of the cage. After signing with ONE FC nearly two years ago, the well-traveled wrestling coach will be making his professional debut for MIMMA, which has a working relationship with Asia's largest combat sports promotion.

"MIMMA is awesome because it gives everyone the opportunity to compete," Pellino added. "It also opens up doors for young athletes who would want to pursue a career as a professional fighter with the ONE FC collaboration. Within two-to-five years, Malaysia will be the hub for MMA on this side of the globe."

Pellino hopes to drop down to lightweight and make his ONE FC debut in 2015 and while he enjoys teaching, is tired of watching the action from the sidelines. "I need to compete," he said. "I'm so young I don't need to be teaching, I want to be competing."

He'll have his chance on Saturday, and plans to "exploit the holes" he has identified in his opponent's game.

Chope is not impressed.

But while there is no love lost between the MIMMA 2 headliners, one thing they can agree upon is the future of MIMMA, which Chope expects will produce the next generation of UFC contenders. "MIMMA is an awesome show and they are doing great things for MMA in Malaysia and South East Asia," he said. "MMA in Malaysia has the government support along with MIMMA and Tune Talk, as well."

It all starts this weekend in Kuala Lumpur.

Find out how and when to watch the entire MIMMA 2: "Grand Finals" event online LIVE and FREE on fight night via Tune Talk by clicking here.

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