Saturday, January 28

Jace and Joanna mount Sarawak’s challenge

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KUCHING: Local mixed martial arts (MMA) fans will have much to cheer when Jace Law and Joanna Yap defend their titles at Tune Talk’s Malaysian Invasion MMA (Mimma) Season 4 grand finals this Saturday.

The MMA showdown at Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur will feature 12 bouts of the best amateur talents uncovered over a year-long selection process.

Jace will meet seasoned fighter Hui Keng Fai of Selangor in the Lightweight bout, while Joanna will go up against Hayatun Najihin of Johor in the sole Women’s category.

Another two Sarawakians could also spring up some surprises. Boxer Bryant Tan will challenge Middleweight titleholder Meeraj Omar of Selangor while Tsan Nieng Khai will step up against Heavyweight defender Darren Low.

For Jace, being a defending champion does not mean that he can just ‘sit pretty’ in waiting for his opponent.

“If anything, it’s much more challenging than ever. My sole focus now is preparing for the finals. I know of my opponent and have seen his fights, but I have no time assess him,” he told The Borneo Post.

On his regimen ahead of the finals, Jace said it had been challenging in that he had to cut down his weight.

“I must reach 70.3kg — not a gramme more. It’s hard but I know I can do it, as long as I follow my regimen religiously,” he said.

For Joanna, this season had been an exciting one to follow, especially in the women’s category.

“This being only the second season that the women’s category had been held, I was stoked to see the many new faces representing different martial arts backgrounds at the auditions. A number of those who tried out last year also returned this year, which was awesome.

“Women’s MMA in Malaysia has come a long way – thanks to Mimma and Tune Talk.”

Like Jace, her focus this week would be on making weight ahead of the finals.

“Right now, I’m just trying to stay as relaxed as possible to get ready physically and mentally for the fight.

“My opponent made quite an impression during the contender fights and I am looking forward to facing her at the finals. I think it will be an interesting fight.”

Mimma was established by Tune Talk in 2013 as a platform to facilitate the scouting and grooming of MMA talents at grassroots level.

Since then, it has produced champions who have transitioned to become successful professional MMA fighters like Agilan Thani, Keanu Subba and Muhammad Aiman.

Apart from the amateur bouts, MMA fans will also get to catch Nazri Sutari of Singapore and Shaqueme Rock of the UK in the ‘Foreign Pride’ face-off as well as three feature fights -Vinod Dave Greywal-Aaron Tan (Veteran vs New Blood), Hafizul Hakeem-Riko Chen (Malaysia vs Indonesia) and Amro Fy Sulaiman-Cash Barnes (Palestine vs USA).