x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

'Snowman' ready to turn abominable tomorrow

Jeff Monson's first visit to the capital earned him that nickname when he beat four Brazilians on the way to winning the 1999 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship.

ABU DHABI // Jeff Monson's first visit to the capital earned him the nickname "The Snowman" when he arrived as a virtual unknown to beat four Brazilians on his way to winning his weight class in the 1999 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championship. The stunned Brazilians in the 88-98kg category gave the shaven-head American the affectionate nickname because, they said, he is white, compact, rolling and was getting bigger and stronger as the competition moved on.

"The Snowman" is back for a showdown with Shamil Abdurahimov, the Russian, in the first open-class mixed martial art (MMA) Abu Dhabi Fighting Championship for the Dh1 million Grand Prix tomorrow at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. "It's business as usual," said Monson, who has competed at senior level at US wrestling events, is a two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Champion, a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu, a mixed martial art fighter and has two wins and a draw in three professional boxing bouts.

"The kind of money is enough to set any fighter on the warpath," he said. "It is a very tough game because inside the octagon you turn into a beast. The MMA has various fighting styles and you have to be pretty good in every discipline to survive out there. "My first visit to Abu Dhabi was a wonderful experience and I have returned a few times. And I'm glad to be back and fighting in this inaugural championship."

In other bouts, Marcos Oliveira, the Brazilian who lives in Abu Dhabi, is pitted against Johan Romming, of France, followed by the fights between Przemyslaw Mysiala, of Poland, and the Briton Neil Wain, and Sokooudjou Nkamboua of Cameroon versus Dave Herman of the US. The dates of the semi-finals and final are yet to be decided. 

apassela@thenational.ae