ONE FC 4: FIRST CARD ANNOUNCEMENTS
First bout announced:
Babalu Sobral (36-9) versus Tatsuya Mizuno (11-7)
ONE FC is beginning to flesh out the light heavyweight division with some remarkable talent. Following a highly anticipated clash between Melvin Manhoef and Yoshiyuki Nakanishi that ended up a no-contest due to mutually received leg cuts, here come two more apt entries.
Babalu was signed early on in the promotion's existence, and expected to debut earlier against Melvin Manhoef, but a stint on TUF as a coach for Team Wandy took him off the ONE FC roster. So when he comes to the ONE FC cage, he won't have fought in a year and a half, last being a revenge rematch he asked for against Dan Henderson that ended up an unfortunate outcome - he was KOed in under 2 minutes of the first. It's worth noting that Babalu has only been submitted ONCE - by a toehold inflicted by Valentijn Overeem.
Mizuno - while holding a slightly less impressive book of numbers than Babalu - has already defeated ONE FC's current LHWs Manhoef and Nakanishi. He's back on the winning side of his record with his last two fights, most recently at ProElite where he lost the first round but capitalized with a smash and submission in the second. However for this bout, he should have figured out that his game plan probably shouldn't include going to the canvas. He's working with Ryo Chonan's new Tribe Tokyo MMA gym, so let's see if his heavy hands can get even heavier.
If we ever do see the rumored Cro Cop or Fedor in ONE FC, the guys in this division will be here ready and waiting, no stranger to their names.
Second bout announced:
Masakazu Imanari (25-10-2) versus Leandro Issa (9-2)
Though Imanari wasn't received with fawning adoration by the Singapore crowd during his first outing with ONE FC, his reputation preceded him and he lived it up to the fullest. The new MMA fans who probably never watched him 'fight' screamed with excitement as his fake-high-kick-back-flop pulled the wool over everyones' eyes - including Kevin Belingon as he struggled valiantly against the Leglock Master's heel hook. All of Imanari's losses post-2005 have been via decision; he's only been KOed twice very early in his career.
Issa comes into this fight on a six-win streak, however aside from three rounds in his debut at ONE FC against the game Kim SooChul, he hasn't been put to the test in MMA with the level of opponent that is his BJJ black belt peer in Imanari. If his Evolve MMA fight camp peers lay it on him hard, this could be a very exciting match. It's definitely a major step up for Issa.
More on the card?
There has been a lot of speculation about which Malaysians or Malaysian-based fighters will be on the card, notably Adam Kayoom, Melvin Yeoh, Allamurad Karayev, Jian Kai Chee, Raymond Tiew, Peter Davis, Arnaud Lepont, Mark Streigl, Hakim Gouram, and - one can hope - Eric Kelly.
Previously announced but not matched is Marcos Escobar, BJJ black belt and Founder of Leverage Academy in his MMA debut. Vuyisile Colossa versus Rustam Khabilov has also been mentioned, as well as rumors from Kim Hock's training camp Juggernaut.
Stadium Negara will play host to ONE FC 4: Destiny of Warriors. It seats 10,000 yet in a press release ONE FC cited 8,000 so the configuration may resemble previous events.