(photo by Matt Buvvart photography)

The heartland of Sabah…Keningau and Tenom has a steep history & heritage of fearless Dusun & Murut warriors. Keningau MMA (KMMA) being the first MMA gym in Keningau is continuing this legacy. Through coach Mohd Bakri @ Matt Buvvart, has been actively nurturing young talents to excel in martial arts.

On 20 JUL 2019. Keningau MMA will travel to Labuan for Ultimate Beatdown Borneo 34 (UBB). They are sending 6 fighter.

Ericcory Lj for K1 Kickboxing 70kg, Akhdan Sheik for MMA 56.7kg, Dearz Alip for MMA 56.7kg, Mohd Izzudin for K1 Kickboxing 99kg and two fighter for the main event. Zachenzie Z Douni for the amatuer middleweight KDM Belt title.

Naziman Nasipin for the amatuer bantamweight KDM defender Cup title.

*note: KDM refers to Kadazan-Dusun-Murut…generally refers to the ethnic natives of Sabah

Let’s get to know the two main event fighter from KMMA.

(photo by Matt Buvvart photography)

Zachenzie or fondly known as Zach. He is also called ‘Godot’ ( which means chubby in Dusun language ), as he was 100kg at his heaviest when he was in high school.

In his early teens he took up TaeKwonDo. But it was not a good experience for him. He remembers his coach was very sarcastic towards him due to him being overweight.

 “My TKD instructor does not give me any encouragement at all. When he speaks, he always use demotivating words. Which really put me off from TKD.”

Then three years ago when he was only 16, Zach discover KMMA. It was the first time he got to know what is MMA & grappling.

Under the guidance of coach Matt, he absorb the teaching like sponge and began to improve on his health & decrease in weight. According to Matt, Zach is the type that ask a lot of questions and a fast learner.

“ I always teach my students to work hard for their goal. Like the analogy of fishing. The ones that regularly make the effort to go fishing ( work hard ), eventually they will get the fish. On how many or how big the fish… you won’t get any if you don’t even set your rod.” 

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At 19 this year, Zach has accumulate these fight records representing KMMA. Kickboxing: 1 Gold 2

Silver, MuayThai: 3 Gold, MMA: 2-0.

Zach is not planning to slow down. He is focusing on training full time as he has no plans yet to continue his tertiary education. At UBB34, Zach will be competing in the main event for the KDM Title belt vs Mobby Han of MADFC from Kuching.

Zach has the aspiration to go pro and aiming to one day fight in the big stage, perhaps ONE Championship.

He nows has a walk around weigh of 88kg.

“ To cut weigh I eat less carbs & sweet stuff. In the morning usually it’s just bread and eggs. After that in usually it’s just banana.”

He still carry the fight name ‘Godot’, to remind him on where he was before. To keep himself humble and he because he still love to eat.

As a Dusun boy Zach believes competing in combat sports is also a way he shows the fighting spirit of the local natives. To show people that Sabahan natives are strong willed and capable in many ways, and he wants to solidify this by bringing back the KDM Title belt…..and he also wants to proof to his former TKD coach that he is not that fat boy anymore.

(photo by Matt Buvvart photography)

——- Warriors.Asia ——-

Let’s get to know Naziman, or findly called Ampark by his close friends. He is a Murut native from the interior town of Tenom. 33 this year and stands at 157cm.

(photo by Matt Buvvart photography)

He started his martial arts journey relatively late. 5 years ago in his late 20s, he pick up martial arts for leisure mainly to reduce his weight which was around 78kg back then when he was working at Kota Kinabalu. He was studying for his Automotive Diploma in Yayasan Sabah College. After graduating he offered a job in Isuzu as a mechanic.

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(photo by Matt Buvvart photography)

In 2015, he was promoted to assistant parts & service manager and transferred to Keningau. He discovered Keningau MMA and began to have more focus in his training. He loves the environment at KMMA, where he builds friendship and also improve his martial arts skills from Matt’s coaching.

Naziman last year moved back to his home town in Tenom taking up a job in JKR ( Works Department ). As a Murut natives, which carry the legacy & heritage of the fame Murut warrior Antenom, Naziman wants to proof that he carries that fighting spirit inside him. He holds a 2-1 record in MMA and in Labuan’s UBB34 he wants to improve it by winning the KDM Defender Cup.

(photo by Matt Buvvart photography)

“My family & friends still practice various Dusun tradition.  One of it is when we make our local wine ( Tapai ) we are discourage from making noise or disturb the one who is making it. If not we believe when the time we drink the wine, we’ll get into arguments or fights, as we believe in the ‘Tapai’ there’s spirit.

Another practice is when I visit friend in their home for the first time. The advised from older folks is that I must touch the friend’s forehead, then dab his sweat on to my own forehead. According to native believe this is carry out to equalize the spirit between each other. If that is not done, I may get sick the next day if my spirit is not strong enough. It’s unexplainable.”

In important ceremony such as weddings or Harvest Festival, ‘Gong’ is played with various beat & rhythm in celebration.”

Naziman look forward to ‘Gongs’ being played when he returned home with the KDM Defender Cup.

KMMA team to Ultimate Beatdown Borneo is made possible though various sponsorship and coach Matt would like to thank these people who made it a reality.

  • Puan Nelliah Sittor (Jurutera Daerah Tenom)
  • Datuk Radin Malleh (Naib Presiden PBS)
  • YB.Datuk Peter Anthony (DUN.35 Melalap Tenom)
  • Azman Haji Ruslan(Ketua Penaja PPBM Keningau)
  • Rafie Robert (Ketua Penaja ARMADA Keningau)