It was fantastic finishes all around at the 2013 RUFF Super Fight, as Wang Guan, Irshaad Sayed, Zhang MeiXuan, Rodrigo Caporal, and Zhao ZiLong walked away with China’s first MMA national championship belts and 1-million RMB a piece in prize money.
“Our champions are world class,” offered RUFF CEO Joel Resnick. “People came to win today, they had it in their minds to finish quickly. Each one of these guys who won today earned the right to be [a champion].”
Featherweight Wang Guan (6-0 RUFF) was in trouble early in the first round of the MMA H.E.A.T. main event, spending the majority of the frame on his back, while absorbing heavy grounded strikes from opponent Wu ChengJie (3-1 RUFF).
Returning to his feet after escaping Wu ChengJie’s pressure on the mat, Wang Guan landed a pair of devastating knees to the body that sent Wu falling to the canvas. Wang then quickly pounced on the obviously stunned Wu, delivering an attack of elbows and hammer fists before referee Jerin Valel called an end to the contest at 4:22 of round one.
“I’m not weak on the ground. My strength is standing, but I’m okay on the ground,” commented Wang Guan. “I love RUFF . . . and I want to thank my family and coaches.”
In the co-main event, Irshaad Sayed (4-1 RUFF) boxed his way past grappler Yuan ChunBo (2-3 RUFF) to become China’s first bantamweight MMA national champion. Sayed delivered an impressive performance, landing significant strikes to the head and body in high volume, while avoiding Yuan ChunBo’s repeated attempts to bait him to the ground. Unable to match Sayed’s power and relentless pressure, ChunBo did little damage, eating Sayed’s crisp punches, which sent him to ground on several occasions.
Yuan ChunBo did manage one solid ground attack in the second stanza, catching Sayed briefly in a guillotine, even taking the South African’s back at one point. But Sayed was too strong in the end, reversing his position to take control from the top and land an assault of elbows to the head. With Yuan ChunBo unable to defend himself, referee Jerin Valel stopped the fight at 4:22 of the second round.
“We knew what ChunBo was going to do so we worked on some submission defenses to keep the fight standing and not go into his guard,” commented Sayed. “We went to the floor but I didn’t panic. It was a situation that we drilled.”
Meeting for the third time inside the RUFF cage, flyweights Zhang MeiXuan (4-1 RUFF) and Liu PingYuan (4-3 RUFF) continued where they left off after RUFF 5, battering each other with punches and kicks, attempting a variety of submissions. After Zhang MeiXuan landed a head kick to open the fight, Liu PingYuan battled back, setting up a takedown with a punch combination. The match quickly shifted momentum, as Zhang MeiXuan appeared to sink in a guillotine, but Liu PingYuan escaped to take top position.
With Liu PingYuan stuck inside half guard, Zhang MeiXuan swept to take top position, but the contest continued to shift back and forth at a dizzying speed, and Liu PingYuan came out of the scramble and caught Zhang in an armbar. Refusing to tapout, Zhang MeiXuan escaped the armbar by slamming to Liu PingYuan to the ground, and then attempted a series of ankle locks to no avail. Unable to find success in his submission game, Zhang MeiXuan returned to his feet before diving back into top position to deliver a brief ground and pound.
Zhang MeiXuan then pulled out of Liu PingYuan’s guard, dropped back, and took the ankle one more time. Again, Liu PingYuan rolled to escape, but with no real estate remaining in the cage, he was caught, and tapped out due to heel hook at 3:11 of round one.
“I learned that move from my coach Vaughn Anderson,” stated Zhang MeiXuan. “He really taught me a lot about how to fight on the ground.”
For the fourth time inside the RUFF cage, Hong Kong-based BJJ black belt Rodrigo Caporal (5-0 RUFF) finished his opponent, forcing Wu HaoTian (1-2 RUFF) to tapout at 1:31 of round one.
Having already knocked Wu HaoTian out at RUFF 5, Caporal delivered another decisive win to capture the China’s MMA national lightweight championship.
Caporal came out patiently, using his faints to keep Wu HaoTian at a distance. Wu HaoTian then attempted a body kick, but Caporal was able to grab ahold of the leg and send the fight to the ground.
Caught in half guard, Caporal landed punches to the head from top position, before passing Wu HaoTian’s guard to take side control. From there, Caporal took Wu HaoTian’s arm. While Wu attempted to defend the armbar, lifting Caporal up and slamming him to the mat, he was unable to escape and tapped out due to arm bar.
“I didn’t change my game plan [from before],” stated Caporal. “I [will] keep training; training harder . . . and I will come back next year and take two million.”
Kicking off the RUFF Super Fight, light heavyweights Zhao ZiLong (3-1 RUFF) and Li JiXiang (2-1 RUFF) resumed their rivalry, after Li took a unanimous decision over Zhao at RUFF 5.
Unlike their first encounter, which was a brutal, heavy-punching affair, the championship bout was over almost as soon as it started, as Zhao ZiLong immediately closed the distance on the longer and taller Li JiXiang, using his faints to move inside and land a huge Judo toss from the waist.
Quickly securing the mount, Zhao ZiLong landed punches to the head, as Li attempted to defend off his back. Zhao then isolated Li’s arm, cranking the limb back for the armbar win at 0:47 of round one, the second fastest finish in RUFF history.
“Today’s event was broadcast live, so Wushu fans and people who aren’t Wushu fans yet had an opportunity to see the fight,” added Zhao ZiLong. “I’m very thankful to Joel Resnick for starting RUFF and giving us this platform for MMA in China.”
The first event of its kind worldwide, the RUFF Super Fight concludes the promotion’s first full MMA season with five brand new champions now in place. Heading into its second year, RUFF will look to further develop Chinese MMA by opening up a welterweight division prior to the next Super Fight.
“We did what everybody said we wouldn’t do. Everybody said we’re never gonna get the permit, we got the permit. Everybody said you’re never gonna make it past RUFF 2, we made it well past RUFF 2. Everybody said you’re never gonna do the championship, you’re never gonna be on television. Everything was never, never, never, never. We went against what everyone said and thanks to the teams and the fighters we did it,” expressed Resnick. “We still have so much work to do . . . we’re gonna go ahead again with another reality show, we’re also gonna go ahead with a weekly TV show about MMA. We’re trying to add more weight classes . . . so if you all think you are the best you’re more than welcome to come and fight in RUFF.”
RUFF Super Fight Results
February 2, 2013
Inner Mongolia Indoor Stadium
Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China
Zhao ZiLong def. Li JiXiang via tapout (armbar) R1, 0:47
Rodrigo Caporal def. Wu HaoTian via tapout (armbar) R1, 1:31
Zhang MeiXuan def. Liu PingYuan via tapout (heel hook) R1, 3:11
Irshaad Sayed def. Yuan ChunBo via TKO (ref stoppage strikes) R2, 4:22
Wang Guan def. Wu ChengJie via TKO (ref stoppage strikes) R1, 4:22