REBEL Fighting Championship Returns to Shanghai For
REBEL FC 9 - Return of the Champion
Extends TV viewing lead over international rivals in lucrative China market
• REBEL FC takes lion’s share of China MMA market in TV viewership, up 100% y-o-y
• China has estimated 300 million martial arts fans, 30 million MMA fans – over 13 million tuned in to REBEL FC 8 last year
• Major TV stations airing the fight include Qinghai Satellite, GDTV Sports, Tianjin Sports, Beijing Sports, Great Sports, and Shenzhen Sports
REBEL Fighting Championship (“REBEL FC”), Singapore’s leading mixed martial arts (MMA) entertainment company, will be returning to Shanghai on September 7th for REBEL FC 9 Return of the Champion, the ninth edition of its international MMA tournament. The event will be headlined by one world-class bout and two title fights with fighters from China and around the world including Russia, Japan, the Philippines, Brazil, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and the United States.
REBEL FC 9 will take place at Hongkou Indoor Stadium. REBEL FC has taken the lion’s share of the China MMA market in TV broadcasting viewership, with between four and seven times the number of viewers compared to other leading global MMA organisations, as of the latest data available. REBEL FC’s live broadcast viewership numbers, which doubled between 2017 and 2018, is expected to set new records this year as the brand’s popularity and recognition continues to grow in China.
Justin Leong, CEO of REBEL FC, said: “We are very proud of our progress in building REBEL FC into a truly global MMA brand, made possible by the years of support from our fighters and loyal fans from around the world. Our goal is to become the world’s leading MMA tournament, with China as a key market where we estimate there are 300 million martial arts fans and 30 million MMA fans.
“Our viewership numbers in China are a testament to the power of the REBEL FC brand in this huge market – we have a dominant foothold in the country and intend to grow it rapidly over the next five years as part of our global strategy. We wish all the fighters competing in REBEL FC 9 the best of luck, and hope our fans continue to support us in our mission to build the sport in China and around the world,” he added.
REBEL FC 9 Return of the Champion will be broadcast live online via IQiyi, Youku, and PP Sports, YY.com, Panda TV, Douyu, Huya, Longzhu, QiE, Baofeng Sports, Fighting World, Sina Sports, and Black Bear APP. Major TV stations airing the fight live will include Qinghai Satellite, GDTV Sports, Tianjin Sports, Beijing Sports, Great Sports, and Shenzhen Sports. REBEL FC’s previous tournament in China, REBEL FC 8 which aired on 30th May 2018, drew a live broadcast TV and digital viewership of over 13 million. REBEL FC 9 is expected to build on that success with major sponsors including Intel NUC, ORIGO Coffee, and Wicked Bunny.
REBEL FC 9 RETURN OF THE CHAMPION HEADLINE FIGHTS
SUPER FIGHT (66 kg, Featherweight) – Yibugele (China) VS Ali Magomedkhanov (Russia)
1. Yibugele (伊布格勒)
Nickname: The Eagle (雄鹰)
Association: Dragon Warrior
Weight Class: Featherweight (66kg)
Style: Kickboxing, Wrestling
Accomplishments: 2017 Jingwu Men Lightweight (70kg) Champion
Yibugele has been training in MMA for 15 years since his mid-teens to focus on the sport. He has always enjoyed the rush and challenge of physical combat and gets immense satisfaction from winning and therefore decided the life of an MMA athlete is one he wants to lead. Yibugele is a dedicated athlete, training five hours every day of the week.
Like most combat athletes, his family is against his career in MMA but he persevered and won them over with his determination to succeed in his chosen profession. Born in Inner Mongolia, Yibugele is well versed in wrestling and loves a good, crunching takedown to stun and defeat his opponent.
He is no slouch in the stand-up aspect of his game, and also savours knocking out his rivals with either a powerful kick or punch. Yibugele will be up against Russia’s undefeated Ali Magomedkhanov, a wrestling powerhouse in his own right. This fight is one to bring the house down and fans to their feet.
2. Ali Magomedkhanov (阿力)
Association: Wildhearts MMA Team
Weight Class: Featherweight (66kg)
Style: Sanda, Wrestling
Accomplishments: ASPERA FC Featherweight (66kg) Champion
Ali Magomedkhanov started training wrestling since he was a kid and won many wrestling titles as he progressed from amateur to professional wrestler. Later, he added striking to his arsenal with the Chinese combat sport of Sanda. Combining the best of East and West, Magomedkhanov has evolved into a formidable undefeated MMA fighter and has added the ASPERA FC Featherweight Champion title to his impressive haul of trophies.
He credits his success in MMA to his coach Magomed Gadzhiev, who helped him transition successfully from wrestling to MMA. Magomedkhanov is determined to maintain his unbeaten record and trains almost every day of the week by doing striking in the morning, physical conditioning in the afternoon and wrestling at night. A mouth-watering rumble awaits MMA fans as he prepares to butt heads with Yibugele.
Co-Main Event, Bantamweight Title Fight (61kg) – Wang Shuo (China) VS Shuhei Sakano (Japan)
1. Wang Shuo (王硕)
Nickname: Little Whirlwhind (小旋风)
Association: Qingdao Xinjiang International Fight Club
Weight Class: Bantamweight (61kg)
Style: Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), Wrestling, MMA
Accomplishments: ASPERA FC Bantamweight (61kg) Champion, Jingwu Men Team Championship
Wang Shuo was bitten by the martial arts bug when he started practising Muay Thai in Guangzhou at the age of ten. After completing his junior high school, he started taking part in Muay Thai competitions in China as well as Thailand. He began training in MMA at the age of 21 when he realised the sport added more diversity to his skillset. Wang now trains 6 days a week. Each day he focuses on whole-body fitness conditioning, BJJ, wrestling and MMA.
Unlike most combat sport athletes whose family members worry about their loved ones getting injured, Wang’s family is very supportive of him. This gives him added motivation to train harder, especially when a competition is around the corner. Wang’s opponent will be REBEL FC Bantamweight defending champion, Shuhei Sakano of Japan. This title fight has extra spice to it as Sakano defeated Wang’s countryman, Ayideng Jumayi in last year’s REBEL FC 7 – Fight for Honour.
2. Shuhei Sakano (坂野. 周平)
Association: Maruwa Gym Yokohama
Weight Class: Bantamweight (61kg)
Accomplishments: REBEL FC Bantamweight (61kg) Champion
Sakano started training in MMA during the first year of his high school. He liked watching K-1 and DREAM and these fighting shows inspired him to join an MMA gym where he started training. Shuhei’s favourite MMA role model is former Japanese DEEP Bantamweight champion, DJ. Taiki.
In the upcoming REBEL FC 9 – RETURN OF THE CHAMPION on 7 September 2019, Sakano will be defending his REBEL FC bantamweight title against Wang Shuo of China, who is a bantamweight champion with ASPERA FC. It will be Sakano’s first title defence in his professional career and against one of the best bantamweights in China. Shuhei Sakano. Sakano previously beat the top ranked Bantamweight fighter in China, Ayideng Jumayi, in last year’s REBEL FC 7 – Fight for Honour (荣誉之战) to win the REBEL FC Bantamweight title.
Sakano’s match-up with Wang will be an entertaining one, with both fighters equally adept on their feet as they are on the ground. Sakano’s favourite submission move is the brabo choke while his preferred striking move is the spinning backhand blow. Sakano is also no slouch when it comes to the brains department, with a degree in international relations.
Main Event, Middleweight Title Fight (84kg) – Wang Sai (China) VS Phil Baroni (USA)
1. Wang Sai (王赛)
Nickname: The Fire Kylin (火麒麟)
Association: Enbo Fight Club
Weight Class: Middleweight (84kg)
Accomplishments: WCK Muay Thai Intercontinental Championship; M-1 Global Intercontinental Champion; Kunlun Fight Intercontinental Champion; Incumbent Kunlun Fight Middleweight World Champion
Wang Sai had an active childhood. He loved basketball, swimming and climbing mountains while schooling. He also developed an interest in martial arts after watching Bruce Lee and Jet Li movies. After watching a movie titled Sanda King, Wang Sai decided to learn Sanda at the age of 16. He later transitioned to MMA after attending a few MMA events in China. He felt MMA offered something fresh with its mix of different styles and that the techniques, especially ground fighting ones, are useful in any situation, be it for self-defence or competition. He competed in his first professional MMA fight in 2009.
Wang Sai will be taking on ‘The New York Bad Ass’ from the United States of America, Phil Baroni, a veteran in the MMA circuit and a fearsome two-time NJCAA All-American champion in wrestling. Wang’s striking skills will be an intriguing match against Baroni’s all-action wrestling skills. Wang previously defeated Konstantin Linnik of Ukraine in last year’s REBEL FC 8 – A Warrior’s Return and his bout with Baroni will give him a chance to be REBEL FC’s first Middleweight Champion.
2. Phil Baroni (菲尔·巴罗尼)
Nickname: The New York Bad Ass (纽约猛男)
Country: United States
Association: Team Punishment
Weight Class: Middleweight (84kg)
Style: Boxing, Kickboxing, Wrestling
Accomplishments: Two-time NJCAA All-American Champion in wrestling
Phil Baroni is as brainy as he is brawny. He has a double major in biology and psychology from Central Michigan University. He became a two-time All-American wrestler, attaining fifth and second positions in his country while studying at Nassau Community College. He was also an amateur bodybuilder from the age of 17 to 20, competing in six shows in which he placed either first or second. He studied kickboxing under Keith Trimble, and had seven matches, winning all by knockout. He also competed in 10 amateur boxing matches, also winning all 10 by knockout.
Baroni started his MMA career in 2000 and fought with various illustrious MMA promotions such as UFC, PRIDE, DREAM, Strikeforce and Bellator. Before becoming a professional fighter, Baroni worked in construction, as a pizza delivery man, as a bouncer and even as a car salesman. Baroni will face-off against Chinese favourite Wang Sai in a much-anticipated clash of fighting styles.
Aside from REBEL FC Fight Night’s three main bouts, there will also be six more international quality bouts on 7 Sep 2019. They can be seen below in the full fight card.
FULL FIGHT CARD
1. International Fight 1 – Lightweight (70kg) Division: Jaypee Espinosa (Philippines) VS Anvar Alizhanov (Russia)
2. International Fight 2 – Featherweight (66kg) Division: Daniel Jones (Australia) VS Yu Lei (China)
3. International Fight 3 – Featherweight (66kg) Division: Abdulmutalip Gayirbekov (Russia) VS Michel Lima (Brazil)
4. International Fight 4 – Lightweight (70kg) Division: Asikerbai Jinensebieke (China) VS Kazavat Suleymanov (Russia)
5. International Fight 5 – Lightweight (70kg) Division: Anvar Amirli (Azerbaijan) VS Reydon Romero (Philippines)
6. Super Fight – Featherweight (66kg) Division: Yibugele (China) VS Ali Magomedkhanov (Russia)
7. International Fight 6 – Middleweight (84kg) Division: Glenn Sparv (Finland) VS Konstantin Linnik (Ukraine)
8. Co-Main Event – Bantamweight (61kg) Division: Wang Shuo (China) VS Shuhei Sakano (Japan)
9. Main Event – Middleweight (84kg) Division: Wang Sai (China) VS Phil Baroni (USA)
REBEL FC 9 – RETURN OF THE CHAMPION (勇士归来) – Clean Sweep of Titles for China
China made a clean sweep of the major honours at REBEL FC 9 – Return of the Champion on 7 September 2019 at the Hongkou Indoor Stadium in Shanghai, China. Wang Sai, in his second appearance with REBEL FC after last year’s REBEL FC 8 – A Warrior’s Return, notched up his first significant achievement with REBEL FC after a crushing, decisive win over Phil Baroni of the United States in the first round of REBEL FC’s inaugural Middleweight (84kg) title fight. After being shaken with a slam from Baroni, Wang recovered quickly and caught Baroni is a clinch and gave Baroni a continuous barrage of knee and elbow strikes before applying the coup de grace with a rear naked choke.
Wang Sai wins Phil Baroni in brutal fashion to become the inaugural REBEL FC Middleweight Champion
In the meantime, Wang’s compatriot, Wang Shuo, defeated defending REBEL FC Bantamweight (61kg) champion, Shuhei Sakano, in their Bantamweight title clash. Their bout went the full five rounds, with both men trading hard punching and kicking combos. At one point, Sakano had Wang on the ground for long periods but the latter managed to wriggle his way out of potential submission moves from Sakano. Wang’s superior striking techniques eventually won the day. Wang’s victory also avenged his countryman, Ayideng Jumayi, who lost his REBEL FC Bantamweight title to Sakano in last year’s REBEL FC 7 – Fight for Honour.
Wang Shuo of China beats Shuhei Sakano of Japan in a gruelling encounter to win the Bantamweight title.
Aside from the two Wangs making China proud, their countrymen also fared pretty well. Asikerbai Jinensebieke swiftly dispatched Gazavat Suleymanov of Russia in the first minute with an armbar while Yu Lei and Yibugele both lost on unanimous decisions to Daniel Jones of Australia and Ali Magomedkhanov of Russia respectively.
Asikerbai Jinensebieke of China flies the China flag with pride after beating Gazavat Suleymanov of Russia.
FULL FIGHT CARD RESULTS
1. International Fight 1 – Lightweight (70kg) Division: Jaypee Espinosa (Philippines) VS Anvar Alizhanov (Russia). Alizhanov beats Jaypee Espinosa, Round 1, 48 seconds, TKO
2. International Fight 2 – Featherweight (66kg) Division: Daniel Jones (Australia) VS Yu Lei (China). Daniel Jones beats Yu Lei, Round 3, unanimous decision
3. International Fight 3 – Featherweight (66kg) Division: Abdulmutalip Gayirbekov (Russia) VS Michel Lima (Brazil). Abdulmutalip Gayirbekov beats Michel Lima, Round 3, split decision
4. International Fight 4 – Lightweight (70kg) Division: Asikerbai Jinensebieke (China) VS Kazavat Suleymanov (Russia). Asikerbai Jinensebieke beats Kazavat Suleymanov, Round 1, 1 min, submission (armbar)
5. International Fight 5 – Lightweight (70kg) Division: Anvar Amirli (Azerbaijan) VS Reydon Romero (Philippines). Anvar Amirli beats Reydon Romero, Round 1, 4 min 46 sec, TKO
6. Super Fight – Featherweight (66kg) Division: Yibugele (China) VS Ali Magomedkhanov (Russia). Ali Magomedkhanov beats Yibugele, Round 3, unanimous decision
7. International Fight 6 – Middleweight (84kg) Division: Glenn Sparv (Finland) VS Konstantin Linnik (Ukraine). Glenn Sparv beats Konstantin Linnik, Round 1, 1 min 30 sec, TKO
8. Co-Main Event – Bantamweight (61kg) Division: Wang Shuo (China) VS Shuhei Sakano (Japan). Wang Shuo beats Shuhei Sakano, Round 5, unanimous decision
9. Main Event – Middleweight (84kg) Division: Wang Sai (China) VS Phil Baroni (USA). Wang Sai beats Phil Baroni, Round 1, 4 min 10 sec, rear naked choke