DEBUT:AJ raring to go in maiden show
AJ Lias Mansor may not be a household name at the moment, but that could soon change with the fighter's ongoing involvement in the mixed martial arts ONE Fighting Championships (OFC).
The Sabah-born AJ, hungry to make a name for himself in the competition, is set to make his debut on home soil in the series as the event makes its way to Stadium Negara this Saturday.
Currently with a record of one win and one loss in the championships, AJ, whose nickname is Pyro, is confident he can notch a second win in the championships in his own backyard.
The 37-year-old, who is a former professional Muay Thai fighter and two-time Sabah state silat champion, will face American Mitch "The Dragon" Chilson in the featherweight bout next week.
"We both have very similar styles and are both strikers who look to end the fight by knockout," said AJ.
"I have also done a lot of research and have studied his fighting style from recordings to mark out my game plan. I feel that I can do well against him.
"Physically, I have also done a lot of strength conditioning lately and I am in peak condition."
AJ added that the training stints in Canada to learn wrestling over the past two years have greatly helped him adapt to mixed martial arts (MMA) which is rapidly gaining in popularity.
"You really need to be an all-rounder to excel in MMA as the rules are quite different from conventional martial arts. "Olympic-style wrestling really does play a big role in the sport which is why I have decided to take learning it seriously.
"I really enjoy competing in the OFC as MMA really brings out the warrior in each fighter.
"I am hoping to build a good fight record in the championships to enable me to make a name for myself.
The event at Stadium Negara will see 20 fighters from around the world face off in 10 bouts in six different weight categories-- flyweight, lightweight, light featherweight, featherweight, bantamweight and welterweight.
The first leg of the championship was held in Indonesia while the second and third was hosted by Singapore. The fifth and final installation of the series this year will also be hosted in Singapore on Sept 3.
The highlight of the evening will be the main bout between former MMA light heavyweight world champion Renato "Babalu" Sobral of Brazil and Japanese master judo practitioner Tatsuya Mizuno who will face each other in the light heavyweight category.
Tickets to the event can be obtained at www.airasiaredtix.com with prices starting from RM48.