by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
The Art of War held its 12th edition this past weekend in Beijing, China. The promotion is working towards building itself up as the next big fight promotion in Asia, eyeing the void left by Pride that has been battled over by Dream and Sengoku in Japan.
While the fight card packed a strong international flavor, highlighted by the showcasing of several of China’s top fighters, the crowd in attendance was just as notable. Littered among those in attendance were several fighters, managers, media personalities, and others, invited to witness the growth of the sport – and more specifically the Art of War – in China.
Art of War 12 was made possible by the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. His Highness was unable to attend, but his son, Shiekh Zayed bin Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; and Sheikha Maitha Bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai; were present to host the evening, bringing with them an envoy of more than 300 guests from the U.A.E.
The main event of the evening showcased China’s top star. Wu Hao Tian wasted no time wrestling his Japanese opponent, Yutaka Kobayashi, to the mat. Kobayashi made an attempt at securing Tian’s leg for a submission, but was unsuccessful. He was then summarily trounced with punches and hammerfists until referee John McCarthy called a halt to the bout little more than a minute and half into the opening round.
Also highlighting the card was a heavyweight bout (superheavyweight as definied by Art of War weight classes) pitting Rolles Gracie against Russian fighter Baga Agaev. A 20-pound weight advantage didn’t hurt as Gracie easily forced Agaev to the canvas and worked position until he was able to secured a fight-ending rear naked choke.
The bout was only the second of Gracie’s career, though he dominated Agaev, who has nearly 20 bouts to his credit. Rolles had Renzo Gracie in his corner, was presented the winner’s trophy by Rickson Gracie, and also had Royce and Royler Gracie in attendance to cheer him on.
Being based in China, Art of War is a showcase for the nation’s top fighters. Aside from Tian in the headliner, Dai Shuang Hai and Ning Guang You also gave solid representations of fighter development in the country.
Hai, entering the ring decked in traditional Mongolian costume, fought to a hard earned draw with Japanese fighter Atsuhiro Tsuboi. Though Hai likely would have won on the scorecards had there been any, Art of War bouts consist of one 10-minute and one five-minute round with any bout going the distance considered a draw. There are no judges.
You took Sirojid din Izakbaev down early and softened him up with a solid ground and pound attack until finally submitting him with a rear naked choke midway through round one.
A strong candidate for fight of the night, American Shawn David and Ole Laursen of Denmark fought a back and forth affair for three and a half minutes. Although David had gotten in his fair share of solid blows, at that point, Laursen became the one to land the knockout punch.
Art of War 12 “Invincible” Full Results:
May 23, 2009 in Beijing, China
-Wu Hao Tian def. Yutaka Kobayashi by TKO (Strikes) at 1:39, R1
-Rolles Gracie def. Baga Agaev by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 5:09, R1
-Dai Shuang Hai vs. Atsuhiro Tsuboi was Ruled a Draw
-Fransino Tirta def. Malik Arash by TKO (Cut Stoppage) at 5:58, R1
-Ning Guang You def. Sirojiddin Izakbaev by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:51, R1
-Ole Laursen def. Shawn David by KO at 3:39, R1
-Kanechika Koji def. Kelvin Fitial by Submission (Armbar) at 1:27, R2
-Marko Huusansaari def. Xue Guo Bin by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:06, R1
-Chris Bostick def. Kim Ho Jin by Submission (Arm Triangle) at 2:42, R1
-Wang Sai def. Kim Whi Gyu by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:59, R1
-Justin Holdaas def. Lee Hyeung Seok by TKO (Strikes) at 7:22, R1
-Yao Qiang def. Nemat Bobomukhamedov by TKO (Strikes) at 1:47, R1
(Editor’s Note: The familial connection of the hosts from the United Arab Emirates was incorrectly reported in the initial publication of this article and has been corrected.)