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Ranking the Top-10 MMA camps in Asia (2015 edition)

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Evolve MMA

Asian mixed martial arts (MMA) has gone from strength to strength in the past year with Krazy Bee's Kyoji Horiguchi challenging for the UFC 125-pound belt and Evolve MMA's Rafael dos Anjos going one better by winning the UFC lightweight strap.

The last 12 months have seen UFC head to Manila for the first time in history as well as booking a show in Seoul, while ONE Championship continues to expand its reach by heading to new destinations across the region like China, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

These are the camps which are currently producing the top fighters in the region:

1. Evolve MMA

The highlight of the last 12 months for Evolve MMA has come in the form of two newly-minted champions in the world's largest MMA organizations: UFC champion Rafael dos Anjos and ONE champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke. Undoubtedly, the Brazilian's surprise ascendancy to the pinnacle of the UFC's lightweight division. Dos Anjos has been a member of the Evolve MMA fight team since 2009, conducting numerous training camps there for much of his career. Today, he splits his time between Kings MMA and Evolve MMA.

Evolve MMA fighters Shinya Aoki and Ben Askren are both current ONE champions with the American winning the title last August and the Japanese fighter mounting two successful defenses in the last year. Mark Striegl, Jake Butler, and Herbert Burns are all likely a mere 2-3 wins away from securing a ONE title shot in their respective divisions and Irshaad Sayed has been promised a shot at the EFC 135-pound belt after four straight wins.

2. Krazy Bee

Kyoji Horiguchi became the first Asian fighter to challenge for a UFC title since Yushim Okami after winning three straight fights as a flyweight, although he was well beaten by reigning champion Demetrious Johnson at UFC 186. His teammate Yusuke Yachi has also had a very good 12 months, winning the PXC 145-pound title.

Kid Yamamoto saw his UFC comeback spoiled by an accidental eye poke, but fellow veteran Kotetsu Boku scored a big win on his featherweight debut, he snapped the 10-fight winning streak of 20 year old prospect Juntaro Ushiku with a second round KO win.

3. Tiger Muay Thai

There have been a few comings and goings at Tiger Muay Thai in the last 12 months, but Roger Huerta has resurrected his career with a big win for ONE while his Chechen protegees Mairbek Taisumov and Zubaira Tukhugov are both doing very well with UFC.

Brian Ebersole bowed out with a dignified defeat but Strikeforce veteran Joe Ray remains a blue chip prospect and fighters like Shannon Wiratchai and Igor Svirid have fared very well for ONE Championship after conducting training camps at TMT.

3. Korean Top Team

Korean Top Team (KTT) middleweight Dongi Yang is hoping to work his way back toward UFC and did his cause no harm at all with a recent stoppage win over Dennis Hallman. Hyun Gyu Lim has gone 1-1 fighting in the Octagon in the last year and remains one of the most entertaining 170-pounders on the UFC roster.

Team captain Jang Yong Kim lost his PXC belt to Yusuke Yachi and Tae Hyun Bang is coming off a UFC loss, but bantamweight Kwan Ho Kwak looks an excellent prospect and is currently 6-0 with Han Bin Park, another bantamweight to keep an eye on, as he's won four fights out of four in the past year.

5. Team Lakay

Team Lakay remains the single most successful camp in the Philippines with most of the country's top fighters based there. The last year hasn't been the busiest in the team's history but Crisanto Pitpitunge beat reigning PXC 125-pound champion Rambaa Somdet and then knocked out Alvin Cacdac, in what would have been a title fight had Cacdac not missed weight.

There was also a big win for Kevin Belingon who scored a hard-fought decision victory over former Shooto champion Koetso Okazaki to move closer toward the top of the ONE 135-pound rankings. Geje Eustaquio fought for the ONE flyweight title but came up short against Adriano Moraes while Mark Eddiva and Roldan Sangcha-an are the only Filipino fighters currently signed to UFC.

6. Tribe Tokyo

Ryo Chonan's team contains a healthy mixture of veterans and up-and-comers with undefeated prospects Tatsuya Ando and Takashi Sato both falling firmly into the latter category, although Ando did lose his fight on the UFC's "Road to Japan" reality show.

Takenori Sato's UFC career might have come to a premature end after back-to-back defeats but he bounced back to win the Pro FC 170-pound belt while middleweight Yoshiyuki Nakanishi is also on good form, winning four straight fights including two in the last 12 months.

7. American Kickboxing Academy

Mike Swick recently conducted his first-ever fight camp at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) and the welterweight has now retired from competitive action to focus full time on building the camp. Soa Palelei conducted his camp there ahead of UFC 190 while UFC veteran Wang Sai, who is know fighting for Kunlun, is also a regular and Iranian heavyweight Masoud Ranjbar is one to watch out for.


X'ian Sports University is home to probably the biggest fight team in Asia. Jumabieke Tuerxun might have moved on but Wang Guan keeps on winning fights, even if a few of these wins are missing from his record. Flyweight Meixuan Zhang has won back-to-back fights with Kunlun while Jumay Ayideng is also coming off a win and will be fighting for ONE next month.

9. China Top Team

Former Legend FC 135-pound champion Xian Ji got his ONE career off to the perfect start with a win last December while Jingliang Li is coming off a big KO win for UFC and would have won three straight if not for a dubious split decision defeat. Bantamweight Honggang Yao has also won two straight fights in recent months.

10. Phuket Top Team

High profile guests to have come to Phuket Top Team in the last year include Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos and Tito Ortiz while mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters to have conduced successful training camps there in the last 12 months include Luke Jumeau, Anatpong Bunrad and Moise Rimbon.

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