Back in 2015, Johan Julian had a vision to make combat accessible to general public. He believe that the combat sports scene in Sabah is still fragmented and he envision an event that can bring together different types of martial arts in a single event. He call it FIGHT FEST

Johan Julian Abdullah
He put that vision into reality when he kick-started the first event, FIGHT FEST: KINGS OF KINGS at Dewan Masyarakat Kota Kinabalu in April 2015. In that historic event saw the first K1 Kickboxing competition ever being held in Borneo under the sanction of ISKA

 

That event saw the epic battle between Dean Hamsah and Azrin Kadri, in the Super 4 MMA. Both warrior gave their all and went down as one of the best MMA fight in Borneo. That inaugural event also saw MIMMA 1 heavyweight Champion, Adrian Tham won his first K1 Kickboxing Super Fight.
Dean Hamsah (R) vs Azrin Kadri in FF1

Following the success of the first event, sponsors came in and Julian held his second event; FIGHT FEST: ACT OF WAR in Citymall, in Sept 2015 with POWER ROOT as the main sponsor. A successful K1 Kickboxing tournament and MMA super fight saw the mall packed with crowds. Mohd Hasbullah established  himself as the top flyweight in Sabah by winning The Super 4 MMA.

To further expand the activities of FIGHT FEST, Julian organised MATA LEAO in March 2016 in Likas Sports Complex. This was one of the first submission only grappling tournament ever held in Borneo using ADCC rules set. Click to read the event coverage here.

Fight Fest again broke new ground when it organised the 1st martial arts business summit, I believe the first in Malaysia to do so. That inaugural event in August 2016 saw 8 speakers from different industry came together to present their topic and exchange ideas between the industry players and martial arts enthusiast. Warriors of Borneo was honored to be invited as one of the speakers.

October 2016 finally saw Julian’s vision fully came together in FIGHT FEST 3: KINGDOM COMES. Sponsored by FITLINE, a plethora of combat sports activities converge in Suria Sabah Mall which saw; Luta Livre Workshop, K1 Kickboxing Tournament, MMA Super-Fight, Shogun BJJ Tournament, Mata Leao Submission Grappling, Cosplay, Trade booth, Video Games competition and Functional Fitness.

One of the most memorable activities was the flash mob dance lead by Thomas Tay of FitLine and Michelle Koh of Fuze Fitness which saw a record breaking convergence of close to 250 dancers in a mall.

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Flash mob dance in support of Pink Ribbon Sabah
Michelle Koh leading the energetic dance session

This was also the first time Fight Fest offer a title belt fight, which saw Anil Mehta of Team Relentless India bringing home the 65kg K1 Title Belt.

In Feb 2017, Fight Fest went to the grassroots. They collaborated with SIDMA College to held a K1 Kickboxing tournament for newbies call FIGHT FEST: YOUNG GUNS.

This 7-8 October, the 4th edition is back with FIGHT FEST: ART OF COMBAT (FF4) brought to us by DEKOJUTA as the main sponsor. The iconic shopping mall of Centre Point Sabah will be the new venue sponsor and Extra POWER ROOT the official drinks.

Event poster design by Iylia Azri Garewal
Mr Sherzali Asli , Director of DEKOJUTA with Julian

Mr. Sherzali Asli when presenting the sponsor K1 Title Belt to Julian mentioned,
” DEKOJUTA  strongly supports FIGHT FEST, as an event that promote healthy lifestyle for everyone. In particular practicing martial arts as a lifestyle that builds mental toughness, mould good character, instill discipline and promotes physical well being. 
These are all attributes that can build a progressive generations to bring our state Sabah and Malaysia to new height.”

Julian with Mr Edward Chang, General Manager of Pan-Pacific Construction, the management company for Centre Point Sabah
Julian with Antonio Battistessa. Antonio is founder of Sabah Top Team and president of Luta Livre Asia Pacific Union. The MATA LEAO grappling tournament will be refereed by Antonio

Continuing the concept of a martial arts festival, FF4 will see these activities ;

  • Muaythai Novice Tournament 
  • K1 Kickboxing Super Fight
  • Kids Muaythai
  • K1 65kg Title Fight
  • Shogun BJJ Tournamanet
  • Mata Leao Submission Grappling
  • Virtual reality games
  • Martial arts demo
  • Trade booths
The Muaythai Novice Tournament is supported by Muaythai Association of Sabah and Muaythai Association of Kota Kinabalu District. Julian expect to see 50 Muay thai exponents take part. This tournament is held to unearth more new talents for Sabah Muaythai. Giving this young guns a level playing field where the criteria of the participants is that they must be amateur with maximum 3 fights experience.

As for K1 Kickboxing tournament, this is supported by ISKA. Super Fights are special bouts where match between two highly skilled and accomplished combatants are pitted against each other. FF4 will see 11 Super Fights with the highlight of the event is the 65kg Title Fight between Kinabalu Kings Reyan Abdul ‘Pemburu Bayang’ and Kinabalu Fighters Aziz Hoo GwoJye ‘The Shantung Zai’ 

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Title fight Reyan vs Aziz

Some of the other exciting Super Fights,…

Rosdee ( Black Mamba ) vs Yi Ran (D-30)
Neara vs Baeby (BRL) 
Shazmiel (Kinabalu Kings) vs Danial ( Clownbox)
Zul ‘Corner Shot’ vs Morris (D-30)
Edilah (BTS) vs Nurul (Karabaw)
Azril (BRL) vs Wawan (66 Unicorn)
Awie (Tim Muaythai ) vs Andrew (BRL)

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will also be competed under the banner of SHOGUN. For the uninitiated, this is a grappling contest utilising wrestling moves, locks, take down and positioning to gain points and control over opponents. This is contested with competitors wearing ‘gi’. A martial arts uniform made of thick and durable fabric.

For MATA LEAO Submission grappling tourney, the high-light will be the fight for the Blue/Purple Belt category which for the first time a title belt will be given to the winner. This category is for Absolute ( no weight limit ). MATA LEAO competed using the Luta Livre rules set ( which is a hybrid of ADCC & IBJJF rules ), and is sanctioned by Luta Livre Asia Pacific Union. It is competed wearing rash guard ( without the traditional ‘gi’ )

Jitendre Khare of Team Relentless India has confirmed his participation to fight for the belt. Jitendre is a ex state Judoka of India and is widely considered as the pioneer of MMA in India with direct involvement in Yoddha Fighting Championship, an India base amateur MMA league that has become the platform for new MMA talents to emerge from India.

Jitendre himself is founder of Team Relentless, which has produce a number of India’s champion.

Jitendre Khare of Team Relentless
To keep us all entertain, these are the activities:
Evolution Fight Team will demonstrtae on TaeKwon-Do
Persatuan Silat Gayong will demonstrate the traditional Malay martial arts of Silat
Michelle Koh with Fuze Fitness
Virtual Reality games by Virtual Dimension
on ground activities by Power Root
test the power of your strike with Combat Science conducted by Hilmi Reitz
Fight Fest event poster designer Iylia Azri, whom will also launch his Fight Comics combat sports inspire tees, check out the limited edition design which will be on sale there
fight gear from RAMPAGE will be on sales, check out this local brand that provides high quality fight gear to suits your training, sparring and competition needs 
keep your self posted to Warriors of Borneo blog FB to see updates of Fight Fest IV