In the last 17 months, 48 fighters have competed inside the RUFF cage, and now, after 69 fights, the field has been narrowed down to 10 competitors, five of whom will walk away with RUFF’s MMA national championship belts and 1-million RMB in prize money.
The Super Fight is shaping up to be an epic night of world-class MMA, as four of the five title fights are re-matches from previous RUFF events, with the only first-time matchup featuring a pair of athletes undefeated in RUFF competition in featherweights Wang Guan and Wu ChengJie.
Wang Guan enters the Super Fight with a 5-0 record inside the RUFF cage, tallying a pair of KO/TKO wins, a submission via strikes, and two unanimous decision wins. Considered by many to have the heaviest hands in China, Wang was the first athlete to qualify for the RUFF finale, and has not seen any action since RUFF 5, where he sprawled and brawled his way to victory over Yuan ChunBo.
Wu ChengJie also earned his place in the Super Fight with a unanimous decision win over Yuan ChunBo, dominating the opposition at RUFF 7. While Wu ChengJie has shown improved standup of late, his strength lies in his takedown game and his ground and pound assault.
Easily submitting Dong YanJun via strikes at RUFF 5 and Zhao EriDeMuTu via head arm choke at RUFF 6, Wu will need to defend against Wang Guan’s crisp and accurate striking, and shorten the distance to land the takedown. If Wu ChengJie can neutralize Wang Guan’s punch combos and stunning kicks and take this fight to the mat, he will have a chance to pull the upset. But many fighters have attempted a similar strategy to little success.
Tying Wang Guan’s record for most victories inside the RUFF cage is his Xi’An Sports University teammate, bantamweight Jumabieke Tuerxun, who will be facing Irshaad Sayed for the 61 kg MMA national championship.
Jumabieke is a well-rounded fighter, amassing two KOs inside the RUFF cage (both were named “Knockout of the Night”), a submission via Von Flue choke, a dominating unanimous decision win, and a split decision, that came against Sayed at RUFF 3. While Jumabieke has a mature standup game and solid submission skills, his takedowns and wrestling are his advantage over Sayed, who is looking to become the first athlete to ever defeat Jumabieke in any MMA competition.
Irshaad Sayed enters the Super Fight with a 3-1 RUFF record, his wins coming via TKO, rear naked choke, and split decision. A former Muay Thai world champion, Sayed possesses a sophisticated striking arsenal of punching combination, low kicks and spinning elbows, but looking to avenge his lone RUFF loss to Jumabieke, he has made serious improvements on the ground and with his sprawl.
Mentoring Sayed on the ground is his teammate Rodrigo Caporal, who will face Wu HaoTian for the 70 kg crown at the Super Fight.
Caporal, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and former world champion, is currently 4-0 in RUFF competition, with two of his wins coming via submission, and the other two via majority decision and KO, the later against Wu HaoTian at RUFF 5. Caporal is the most experienced Jiu Jitsu fighter on the RUFF roster, and while he prefers to bring his fights to the ground, he has proven to be well versed in the standup game.
Wu HaoTian only notched his first RUFF victory at RUFF 7, submitting Arthit Hanchana via first round rear naked choke, but the lone win proved to be enough to help him advance to the championship fight. Devastated by his RUFF 5 loss to Caporal, Wu HaoTian is looking for revenge in front of his hometown Hohhot crowd, and will use his wrestling prowess to avoid Caporal’s takedowns and submission attempts.
Expect these two lightweights to deliver impressive performances at the Super Fight, and bring this fight to the ground.
In the flyweight division, Liu PingYuan and Zhang MeiXuan will meet for the third time inside the RUFF cage, splitting the previous two matchups.
Liu PingYuan is currently riding a four-fight win streak, winning twice via armbar submission, with the other two victories coming via split decision. Liu PingYuan, who is tied as RUFF’s bonus leader, has shown tremendous growth since RUFF: Genesis, when he lost via TKO ref stoppage to Zhang MeiXuan in the “Fight of the Night.” An adept boxer and Jiu Jitsu practitioner who can fight anywhere in the cage, Liu PingYuan constantly pressures his opponents with a variety of submission attempts.
Coming off an impressive submission-via-armbar victory at RUFF 7 that was later named “Fight of the Night,” Zhang MeiXuan is hungry to avenge his only RUFF loss, a split decision to Liu PingYuan at RUFF 5. Zhang MeiXuan throws lightning-fast kicks and punch combinations, pressures opponents with relentless aggression, and control the center of the cage with flying knees and speedy takedown attempts. Convinced that he indeed bested Liu PingYuan in their last outing, Zhang not only wants the championship belt and the 1-million RMB, but the opportunity to finish his constant foe.
Li JiXiang and Zhao ZiLong will fight for the RUFF 93 kg China MMA national championship on February 2, a re-match of their RUFF 5 slugfest, won by Li via unanimous decision.
Younger, taller, longer, and more athletic than his opponent, Li JiXiang is 2-0 inside the RUFF cage, with his other victory coming via TKO against Kong HanDong at RUFF 4. Li possesses a refined striking game, and has shown an ability to eat punches while delivering his own flurry of punishing blows. He also has an excellent submission defense.
Zhao ZiLong is a former two-time China national Sanda champion, who is 2-1 in RUFF competition. Zhao relies on his striking - heavy punches, thunderous kicks – and has shown improved conditioning, as evidenced by his complete domination of Kong HanDong at RUFF 7, a performance that earned him “Knockout of the Night” honors.
Zhao ZiLong has also stepped up his work on the ground, but expect this fight to stay on the feet, where Zhao and Li JiXiang are most comfortable. These two light heavyweights will come out swinging, and they will not quit until someone is crowned champion.
RUFF is China’s only government-sanctioned MMA organization, and at the 2013 RMB 1,000,000 Super Fight, RUFF will become the first MMA organization in the world to crown MMA national champions.
For more on RUFF and the RMB 1,000,000 Super Fight visit RUFFChina.com