It’s 4 more days to go. 4 more days to the grand finals of MIMMA 5. This 5th edition is the culmination of 4 years of experience by the impeccable team that has made a name for Malaysia in MMA. It is very much talked about as the biggest and best run amateur MMA tournament in South East Asia, some even say Asia.
The water theme this year signify the coming together of all that experiences over the years, not just for the fighters but also for the organising team outside the cage.
Let’s go down memory lane and see MIMMA’s evolution through the years.
TUNE TALK introduces MIMMA to the Malaysian combat sports scene way back in 2013, when many in Malaysia were still blur to what MMA is all about. MIMMA set out to not only develop new MMA talents for Malaysia, but also to educate the general public on the beauty of MMA.
The 1st batch of champions established themselves as true pioneer. Some are still actively competing such as Allen Solomon Chong & Keannu Subba. Some has retired and go into coaching 3 pro bouts was added to hype up the excitement, which saw the face of Malaysian MMA Peter Davis losing to Ariel Sexton
2nd seasons saw some new challenger coming into the scene and in the grand finals, which has now become household name, such as Agilan Thani, Muhd Aiman and Darren Low. Some great pro match up was also offered to spice up the mood.
The element of lightning was use as the theme for season 3. The fights quality improved very much and saw a huge invasion of fighters from Borneo making it to the grand finals. MIMMA history also recorded season 3 as the season where foreign pride and the female category was introduced.
2016 heated up as a year of magnificent fights as fighters’ skills was sharp and more polished. Fire theme burnt through the grand finals night where hot, hot lightweight bouts, heavyweight and flyweight bouts makes everyone jump up constantly from their seats.
So, what could be better than to use water as a symbol of new life and rebirth anew to emerge with a new league format.
It was definitely a risk to take as many fighters have look forward to MIMMA 5 to continue its tournament format and got a little bit confused in the beginning. After the initial round of try-outs all over the country was done, 8 fighters were selected for each weigh division. Fighters have to collect points and the top 4 winners will qualify for the semi-finals.
The main reason the league format was introduced was to give more cage time for fighters. Enabling them to fight more times to gain valuable experience and also the fighters and their team need to strategized and study each opponent in their category carefully. There are grouses from athletes from East Malaysia whom has to face the challenge of travelling almost every month to fight. The kick-off for league 1 was held at MIMMA’s home turf – Paradigm Mall, in July.
Many fighters said the league’s match of almost 1 fight every month is very taxing. Not much time to recover and as most are not doing this full time, sometimes their schedule clash with their other commitments which causes a couple of drop-out and walk-over win. All in, 7 league fights was held before the semi-finals in Feb 2018.
This year’s grand finals on 30 March will see MIMMA having a new venue in Stadium Juara in Bukit Kiara. Click here to get your tickets
|seating layout at Stadium Juara|
|full Grand Finals fight cards|
Personally I was looking forward to possible rematch of Lightweight ace Hui Keng Fai vs Jace Law, but Jace pulled out of the semis for personal reason,…and Keng Fai, initially cleared to fight in the finals has now also pulled out to his commitment to his pro boxing bout in April. Same goes to his team mate defending Middleweight champ Mohd Meeraj. Both of them will be fighting in Roar of Singapore for a IBO Oceania title belt.
8 belts will be contested, 6 title will be newly contested and 2 will be defended. Champions coming back to defend it are Damon Soo for his featherweight belt and Theebaan Gobindasamy for his welterweight strap.
Damon is a BJJ wizard and he is very determined to continue to dominate using his grappling skills to defend his belts. Damon holds a 4 fight win streak, all by submission. He will face Johan Garcia whom drop weight to featherweight division this season. In Season 4 Johan fought in welterweight division; lost to Theebaan in the semi-finals.
Johan himself is also a grappling ace. Winning his earlier league bouts, all via choke. In the semi-finals last month, he was the underdog going into the fight vs Jospeh Yap, a highly ranked featherweight and season 4 finalist. It was a hard fought win but Johan emerged dominant with a unanimous victory.
Theebaan, ex national Karateka is not pulling any stop to keep his MIMMA’s belt. The only Malaysian representative to IMMAF World Championship in Bahrain last November. Theeban will utilise his reached and striking prowess to make sure he keep his belt.
|Theebaan at IMMAF World Championship Bahrain|
Across the cage from him is Nor Ahmad Ali Zahreh, whom took home a magnificent victory in the semi-finals by knocking out Muhd Hasrul, the season 2 lightweight champion. Nor Ahmad is also a lanky fighter and we could well see a bout that will end up in a striking contest.
|Nor Ahmed landing the KO kick|
Potential fight of the night I believe will be at the Flyweight and Bantamweight.
Naimul Amal whom in 2016 lost to his own brother for a spot in the grand finals when they both fought in the contender fight stage. This time Naimul will be meeting newcomer Jay Muran of Sarawak. They have met before in league 2 match where Naimul choke out Jay. There seems to be a personal fued between this two as even at the filming of the promo video for the grand finals, they had a short altercations. The grand finals stage will surely see Niagara Falls proportion of energy!
As for Bantamweight, Naimul brother Dhiaaul Amal , the season 3 finalist will slug it out with boxing specialist Effendy Kalai. Naimul have shown great heart and good boxing skills too in season 3 final against Seah, which he lost to. Effendy Kalai, the younger brother of Eddy Kalai, the fame brothers compete regularly in MMA. Effendy is a two time finalist, in season 3 & 4. But haven’t tasted success yet and perhaps he will be third time lucky.