x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

I'll be ready, vows Marcos Oliveira

The Abu Dhabi Fighting Championship's semi-finals will take place on October 15 but the Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor says he will be prepared.

Marco Oliveira beat Johan Romming to advance to the semi-finals of the Abu Dhabi Fighting Championship.
Marco Oliveira beat Johan Romming to advance to the semi-finals of the Abu Dhabi Fighting Championship.

ABU DHABI // Mixed martial arts fans will have to wait five months to find out which fighters will battle for the Dh1 million prize for the Abu Dhabi Fighting Championship. The event organiser confirmed yesterday that the semi-final bouts will be held on October 15 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, with the final of the open weight event expected to take place before the end of the year.

Marcos Oliveira, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor based in Abu Dhabi, will face Britain's Neil Wain in the first semi-final before Shamil Abdurahimov, the strapping Russian, lines up against Thierry Sokoudjou, the California-based Cameroonian, in the second bout. "It doesn't matter whom I meet, but I'll be ready for him," said Oliveira, who won his fight in just 17 seconds with a stunning right hook to floor Johan Romming, of France, in the second fight of the event on Friday.

"I knew Johan was going to prolong the fight by running around the Octagon but I got an opportunity to strike him clean with my first punch. Such opportunities don't come all the time but I got it and I finished him off." Wain, who earned a second-round knockout over Przmyslaw Mysiala, is not daunted by the prospect of facing the Brazilian. "In [mixed martial arts] there is no easy way out," he said. "You stand up and fight whomever you have to face. So I don't really care with whom I fight, I fight to win."

The Abdurahimov-Jeff Monson fight was the only one on the night to go the full distance, with Abdurahimov winning a unanimous points decision. Sokoudjou, meanwhile, was awarded a win after Dave Herman, of the US, was disqualified in the second round for twice thrusting his knee into his opponent's face. A disappointing crowd of fewer than 700 attended the event at the 6,000-capacity arena, and Soheil Nemri, the I SEE Event organiser, admitted there are some issues to be ironed out.

One notable mishap on Friday night was a 45-minute delay in the start of the event, for reasons that were unclear. "Sometimes mistakes are bound to happen when you stage a high-profile event for the first time at a place where the event is not well known," said Nemri. "As the fights began the crowd got settled in. Everything turned out to go well and smoothly. We were very pleased with the crowd and for the action inside the Octagon.

"We are here to bring entertainment of a different kind for those who love it and not to promote violence." he added. "There was not much blood spilled as the referees saw [injuries] early. "All in all, everyone involved in staging the event in Abu Dhabi was pleased and I would like to think the crowd some of them who travelled all the way from the other emirates enjoyed every bit of the action."

apassela@thenational.ae