KL ONE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP: Malaysia's first mixed martial arts tournament will see a local muay thai fighter take on a Brazilian jiu jitsu champ, writes Dennis Wong
ONE is a descendant of a legendary Brazilian family while the other is a Malaysian who wants to be a legend.
Enter Gregor Gracie and Adam Shahir Kayoom, who will face each other for the first time in a mixed martial arts fight next month in the upcoming KL One Fighting Championship: Destiny of Warriors at Stadium Negara, Kuala Lumpur.
Gregor is from the Gracie family, the founders of Brazilian jiu jitsu. He will go head on with Malaysia's own Adam in the biggest MMA tournament in Southeast Asia.
Gregor is a champion of world Brazilian jiu jitsu, a martial art that his family revolutionised from Japanese judo and later founded the mixed martial arts tournament. He has a record of seven wins and one loss in MMA.
Adam, on the other hand, is a seasoned muay thai fighter and was the world muay thai middleweight champion twice. He has also won several Brazilian jiu jitsu tournaments in Brazil and Australia. But Adam is still new to MMA, with a record of only two wins and one loss, a small achievement when compared with Gregor.
Though he may not be a Gracie, Adam went through his own struggles to achieve what he has today.
The Malaysian born, who had attention deficit disorder, found his calling in martial arts and channelled his energy into it.
He is now based in Thailand and runs his own martial arts gym called Q23. Adam is currently preparing himself for the coming fight.
"It's an honour to fight a Gracie, but it is an honour to fight anybody who is a good person and is a champion outside the ring and not just inside the ring," he told the New Sunday Times.
Adam spent months on his training regime and sacrificed most of his family time for it.
"Fighting in the ring is about honour. It's an honour to fight anyone who has dedicated his time and discipline into training and has great sportsmanship," he said.
MMA may seem dangerous and violent to many, but it has long evolved since the day of Vale Tudo Brazil, a no-holds barred full contact fight event, famous from the 1920s to 1980s.
MMA today is strictly monitored with a string of regulations compared with the no-holds barred matches of yore.
In an MMA fight, there are three rounds, each lasting five minutes, with a one minute break in between. In a championship bout, there are five rounds of five minutes each.
A victory in an MMA fight is attained by a knockout, submission, verbal tapout (saying that you yield to your opponent), referee stoppage or by judges' decision.
In the event that a bout goes all the way, the judges will score the fight in its entirety instead of round by round, taking into account near knock out or submission, damage (internal, accumulated or superficial), striking combinations and aggression.
This demanding sport requires rigorous training and each fighter needs to undergo specific cardio and muscle conditioning to be able to take all the attacks.
"A big guy doesn't mean he is a well-rounded fighter. A fighter needs to be well-built, flexible and agile. Like in football, the player's physique is different from a weightlifter's," said Adam.
MMA is a new sport in Malaysia and is slowly gaining popularity.
"I feel confident and I am very happy to fight in One FC in Malaysia against Gregor Gracie," said Adam.
Apart from Adam, other local fighters include model Peter Davis and teacher Melvin Yeoh, who are slowly making their mark in the MMA scene.