This Friday, the first year of the Super Fight League draws to a close with a bang as the promotion looks to crown it’s first batch of champions with a mighty FOUR title fights.
Now, remembering that the SFL is building MMA from the ground up in India and their home grown stars have mostly spent their entire career in the fledgling promotion, don’t be expecting any household names or lengthy win streaks to be on show – all of that comes later and the SFL’s dedication to building up some Indian stars is commendable in the extreme.
Sure, they could parachute some more experienced fighters in from Europe, the Americas or even Japan but that doesn’t help to inspire young Indians to become champions. The bombast surrounding the likes of Bob Sapp and James Thompson on the first few shows has been replaced with a steady diet of Indian fighters and a steadily increasing standard and more involved crowds. That’s fantastic progress.
The main event sees the impressive kickboxing skills of Bhabajeet Chowdhury (2-0) facing off against submission specialist Shyam Prasad (2-0) for the inaugural Welterweight title in a classic striker vs. grappler match showcasing two of the most impressive Indian fighters to emerge from the SFL so far. We had pegged Chowdhury as a potential future star following his TKO win at SFL 9 and by placing him in the main event, it’s clear that the SFL hierarchy feel the same way.
The co-main event is for the Bantamweight belt and pits Manoj Chuhan (2-0) against Anup Kumar (3-1) in another compelling striker vs. grappler battle. Kumar (along with a few other fighters on the card) actually has some pre-SFL experience with his loss to Begnar Amanbayev in the main event of World Absolute Fighting Championship – Team Kazakhstan vs. Team India back in 2010.
That event ended in a clean sweep for Team Kazakhstan, but I think if a similar event was to happen today the results would be a little different, thanks to the SFL.
Our next title fight is for the Featherweight strap and pits Narender Grewal (2-0) against Bharat Kandare (2-1-0) as both fighters put their two fight win streaks in the SFL against each other. Kandare has both his wins by submission, while Grewal has a win from strikes and a win from subs.
The evening’s first title match is in the lightweight division and sees Rajinder Singh Meena (5-0) put his undefeated streak and a run of three submission victories up against Sandeep Yadav (5-1) who is actually coming off a loss to Sachin Bhat at SFL 11.
As well as the four title fights, we have a supporting cast of familiar faces from previous SFL cards and a curious match between UCMMA veteran Warren De Reuk (4-0) against Egypt’s Mohamed Hassan Badawy (1-0) to round out the afternoon’s fights.
I say afternoon because the show will broadcast live on YouTube (www.youtube.com/SFL) starting at 3:30 pm UK time. Of course, a lot of you will be working at that time on a Friday, but I’m sure the fights will be available afterwards if you can’t sneak some alone time with your PC or Internet connected mobile device at the tail end of the working week.
The SFL have come a long way in a year and the 12 events so far and it’s really encouraging to see a growth promotion in a market as distinct and large as India, because this can only be good for the further progress of MMA worldwide.
Hell, it’s free MMA, streaming live on YouTube – what’s not to like?
SFL World Welterweight Title Fight (Main Event): Bhabajeet Chowdhury vs Shyam Prasad
SFL World Bantamweight Title Fight: Manoj Chuhan vs Anup Kumar
SFL World Featherweight Title Fight: Bharat Kandare vs Narender Grewal
SFL World Lightweight Title Fight: Rajinder Singh Meena vs Sandeep Yadav
Mohamed Hassan Badawy vs Warren De Reuck (WW)
Monika v Manjit Kolekar (Female FW)
Rouhollah Eidehlouei v Jamshed Khan (WW)