x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Gloves off for Abu Dhabi showdown

The best fighters from around the world will battling it out for a Dh1 million bounty in the capital next month.

ABU DHABI // The best fighters from around the world will battling it out for a Dh1 million bounty in the capital next month. The winner-takes-all mixed martial arts (MMA) Abu Dhabi Fighting Championship was launched last night when the line-up of combatants for the tournament was announced.

"We have selected the world's best and they have been paired by an expert panel on their current form and rankings," said Soheil Nemri, the chief executive of I SEE Events. "These are open categories in which the height and weight don't matter. It is about the best combined fighting skills." And the fighters are already up for the challenge. "It's going to be a big war" said Poland's Przemyslaw Mysiala last night. "That is a lot of money and there is absolutely no need to say anything more to a fighter. It is very simple. You need to beat up all your opponents to get that prize and I am ready for it."

Mysiala, the Ultimate Warrior Extreme Brawl champion, will face Briton Neil Wain, the Ultimate Force heavyweight champion, in one of the quarter-finals in the opening round on May 14 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. Marcos Oliveira, the Abu Dhabi-based Brazilian, was already playing mind games with Johan Romming, his French opponent and the 100 Percent Fight champion. "You just come well prepared," said the Pan American jiu jitsu champion, to which the Frenchman replied. "I have been doing that ever since I received the invite and it's you who need to be ready for the me. I am after the money and I can't wait to get my hands on it."

Jeff Monson, the American, is pitted against Russia's Shamil Abdurahimov and Marcio Cruz, of Brazil, faces Sergei Kharitonov of Russia. "The MMA is a mixed martial art and it's about discipline in fighting," said Nemri. "These factors make this sport more than mindless fighting and brawling." There are six other bouts lined up on the day including a face-off between the Emirati Hassan al Rumaithi, a black belt in judo, and Italy's Massimiliano Pecchia.

apassela@thenational.ae