The Asian MMA scene picks up steam next weekend with One FC in Dubai. That event will feature talent like Ben Askren and Shinya Aoki. (One FC added Roger Gracie to their roster recently as well.)
But this weekend has more than its share of highlights in the region too, on stages big and small.
Here’s a quick look:
IGF, the MMA organization founded by Antonio Inoki, holds their second show Saturday in Tokyo; and the headliners are well-known to old fans: Mirko Cro Cop and Satoshi Ishii.
The bout represents Cro Cop’s first MMA bout since a November 2013 loss to Oleksiy Oliynyk. Satoshi Ishii, the Olympic judo gold medalist once hailed as the man to bring Japanese MMA back to prominence, has quietly scored nine straight wins after a rocky beginning to his career. Many of those victories have come against faded stars like Jeff Monson and Pedro Rizzo, and while Cro Cop may not be the same man who won the PRIDE Grand Prix in 2006, his recent kickboxing wins may imply that he remains a dangerous opponent — or, at least a step up for Ishii. (Unfortunately the event is not being webcast.)
Meanwhile, the biggest MMA promotion in the world is in Macao, where Cung Le will face Michael Bisping in a showdown of two middleweight stars at UFC Fight Night 48. The bout will be broadcast exclusively on UFC Fight Pass, and Caged Insider will have coverage beginning Saturday morning US time.
In addition to seeing some glamor again, and it seems there’s growth on the grassroots level as well. In the Philippines, Pacific X-treme Combat, a promotion which has produced MMA events for ten years in the Pacific region, has announced the launch of “PXC: Laban.” It’s the first in a series of smaller shows — as PXC puts it, “a starting point for fighters to begin their career path.” The first stop is in Lipa, Batangas next Saturday.