He might not be fighting in the main event, but at ONE FC: "Era of Champions," all eyes will be upon Fransino Tirta as the 15-0-1 Indonesian bantamweight returns to action after an absence of almost three years. The nine fight card also features two big flyweight fights and promises to be on a much bigger scale than any mixed martial arts (MMA) event which has previously been held in Jakarta.
ONE FC has moved to the 20,000 capacity Mata Elang Stadium and Asia's biggest MMA promotion will be hoping that the presence of Tirta, as well as another recently signed Indonesian Yohan Mulia Legowo, will be enough to persuade local fans to pack the recently constructed state-of-the-art venue.
The first two fights will be streamed online free of charge and the main card will be broadcast live all over Asia on Star Sports and on various other networks around the wold and will be available to purchase for 9.99 USD from http://www.onefc.livesport.tv/
Here's part one of my preview:
Ella Tang vs Desi Rahayu
Desi Rahayu is a Judo black belt who has won multiple submission grappling tournaments in Indonesia, to the point where she has basically run out of suitable opponents. So instead she has turned her sights to MMA and makes her professional debut against seasoned Malaysian Muay Thai fighter Ella Tang (0-1).
Tang made her MMA debut in 2010 and put in a spirited performance against a far superior Chinese fighter. She is tough and kicks hard, which is something Rahayu might struggle to cope with, but if the Indonesian can get close enough to use her Judo and submission skills then she should dominate.
Zuli Silawanto vs Mohammad Sotounzadeh
Zuli Silawanto (6-7) is one of a number of Indonesian fighters who made their name during the TPIFC days but while others have evolved and improved, particularly in terms of mastering the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) side of the game, he remains basically a brawler.
Mohammad Sotounzadeh is making his MMA debut but has a high level of Taekwondo and uses his fast footwork to get in and out and land an assortment of kicks. Silawanto has superior submission skills and there is a question over how well rounded the Iranian is so this fight will probably be short and sweet.
Gianni Subba vs Ruel Catalan
On paper this looks like very winnable fight for Subba (3-1) who will be determined to make amends after suffering the first loss of his career against Eugene Toquero in May but Ruel Catalan ( 2-4) is a better fighter than his record suggests and has a very high level of Wushu.
Subba was taken by surprise by Toquero's tactics, he hadn't expected the Muay Thai fighter to try and take him down, and should be better prepared this time. Catalan has high level striking and good takedowns but submission defence has been a problem for him and this is a potential weakness which the Malaysian will inevitably try to exploit.
Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke vs Joseph Omana
These names might not mean much to MMA fans but this has the potential to be "Fight of the Night" because Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke is a highly decorated Muay Thai fighter and Joseph Omana was a top boxing prospect in the Philippines.
Both are competing in the cage for the first time but Dejdamrong has been training at Evolve MMA whereas Omana will have been working with the handful of MMA fighters in Cebu and that is a factor very much in the Thai's favorite. Muay Thai fighters tend to start slow and the Filipino is bound to swing for the fences straightaway so the outcome is far from a foregone conclusion but someone is almost certainly going to be getting knocked out in the first round.
Yohan Mulia Legowo vs Ev Ting
Yohan Mulia Legowo (7-2) is firmly established as the number two pound-for-pound fighter in Indonesia behind Fransino Tirta but after a three year absence from the cage he has not exactly been handed an easy assignment against Ev Ting (6-2).
Ting had not even made his pro debut the last time that Legowo fought and while the Indonesian has been inactive save for a few Muay Thai bouts he has been competing regularly in MMA. The Indonesian has an aggressive striking style and will plant his feet and swing hard punches but he is primarily a grappler and will want to put the New Zealander on his back.
Ting has spend his entire career competing at 145 pounds whereas Legowo will be moving up from the bantamweight division but they are both similar height so I don't think this will be a major factor. On paper this looks like a very well matched fight and it could come down to who copes better with the pressure of fighting for ONE FC for the first time.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for part two!