Five of the best fighters on the planet are heading to Singapore next month to train and conduct seminars at Evolve MMA. One UFC champion, two Bellator champions, and a former Glory champion will all be in town at the same time.
Demetrious Johnson, who successfully defended his UFC flyweight title for a fourth time over the weekend, Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, Bellator bantamweight interim champion Joe Warren, former Glory champion Tyrone Spong, and UFC 170-pound contender Tyron Woodley will all be in Singapore simultaneously.
A few years ago Singapore did not register on the international sporting map at all, although it has always been a lucrative television market. The rights for the English Premier League were reportedly sold to Singtel for a cool $400 million USD in 2012.
Deals like that demonstrate how much appetite there is to watch live sport in Singapore, but there was never much on the calendar of the sovereign city state except for the annual Grand Prix and if famous athletes were in town it was generally to do promotional work or play in exhibition matches rather than train or compete.
That has all changed in the last couple of years because the presence of ONE FC, which is headquartered in Singapore, has helped establish the Lion City as a regional hub for MMA with the UFC also following suit by moving its Asian operations there.
Singapore is not just established as a destination to watch MMA, it has also become a place where top fighters will take 30-hour round trips in order to train. The likes of Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin, Tarec Saffiedine, Joseph Benavidez, and Ben Askren have all spent time at Evolve MMA in recent years.
Having Johnson, Alvarez, Spong, Warren, and Woodley in town at the same time is sure to help take the profile of the sport even higher and will help both the UFC, which put on its first ever show at Marina Bay Sands earlier this year, and Bellator to increase their profiles in the area.
Evolve MMA has established itself as a top training destination by recruiting coaches who are regarded as the best in their respective fields including former boxing world champion Yodsanan Sityodtong, former Lumpinee Champions Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn and Orono Wor Petchpun, and BJJ black belts Leandro Issa, Herbert Burns, and Bruno Pucci.
Another former Lumpinee champion, Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichok, recently made his successful MMA debut and it would be fascinating to see him spar with Johnson because the UFC champion is known for his ability to adapt Muay Thai techniques for the cage.
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