Mirage Khan will fight for the MIMMA middleweight title this Saturday night (local time) and there is no secret what his strengths are. The Malaysian is a stand-up specialist and one of the best boxers and Wushu fighters in the country.
For Khan, the gameplan is simple; he’s going to try and knock his opponent out at soon as he hears the bell. However, it’s one thing knowing what he’s about to do and quite another trying to stop him. He’s unlikely to be tinkering with his strategy as he prepares to face Muhammed Syafiq at Stadium Putra.
“I was sick and tired of getting picked on and being chubby and fat, so after high school I subscribed to Alex Boxing Gym and next thing you know I’m part of the national boxing and Wushu team,” Khan recalls.
Malaysia produces a handful of decent Muay Thai fighters, but Khan quickly took the stand-up scene by storm and has an entire cabinet full of trophies.
“In Sanda, I have nine fights with seven wins, all by knockout, and two losses. Both the losses were to former world champions. I’m not good in kicks or takedowns, but I’m good at punching, so if I don’t knock the guy out, I will definitely lose by points. I won a silver medal in Wushu at the Asian Championship, a silver medal in Wushu at the Sanda World Cup, a silver medal in amateur boxing, I won the Malaysian golden gloves championship, and I went to the Commonwealth Games in 2014, where I suffered my first ever loss in boxing. I’ve got four boxing fights with four wins, but only two of them were sanctioned fights.”
These stand-up skills have helped him to make short work of the four opponents he has faced so far in his MMA career, but Khan says he has been trying to develop a more well-rounded skillset.
“Almost all my fights were round one finishes without going to the ground, but recently I’ve been drilling my ground and pound game hard. My most recent fight at the MIMMA semifinals, I wanted to show my fans and friends that I can take it to the ground, so for three whole rounds I was pounding away until my opponent broke down in the third round.”
The only disappointment for Khan is that he will not be facing the reigning MIMMA 185-pound champion, Jim Chi Yong. The Season 1 winner, who returned to defend his belt at the end of Season 2, suffered a fractured finger in training much to the disappointment of his prospective opponent.
“I’ve been waiting the whole year to face Jing Yi. Every fight I won, I would go to him and tell him that I am one step closer and size him up. I was so excited that I finally made it to the finals and fight Jing Yi. I believed that it would have been the highlight of the show and I feel so disappointed now that he’s not defending his title.”
Instead, Khan will be facing fellow Season 1 finalist Syafiq at the finale, but he still hopes to fight Yong in the future.
“I told him, ‘for now, I’ll keep that belt from the other punk’s dirty hands and, if fate allows it, I will have the chance to meet you again’.”
While Khan will still be going for the knockout, the last thing he wants is to end up in an adverse position on the ground where his striking skills would be completely nullified. He’s been working hard to make sure this situation doesn’t arise on Saturday.
“I’ve been drilling take down defense really hard. I believe I’m a stand-up fighter, but I’m not blind on the ground anymore. I don’t learn many submissions; for now, I’m focusing on nothing but escapes. At the gym, I shrimp so much that they nicknamed me the Shrimp Master 2000.”
Khan has been working on his takedown defense and escapes under the tutelage of one of Malaysia’s most famous BJJ black belts and has even enlisted the help of one of the country’s largest fighters.
“I train boxing at Alex Boxing Gym under a Russian instructor and I train my BJJ/ground game at Marcos Escobar Kota Damansara. I got good training partners for BJJ; I train with the heavyweight MIMMA champion Darren Low. If I can stop his takedowns, I can stop anyone.”
Khan was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, so he is likely to get strong support from the crowd. He withdrew from season 1 of MIMMA without losing a fight because he wanted to take part in the Sanda world championships, but plans to make up for lost time on Saturday.
“A lot of people that were expecting me to be MIMMA champion from the first season. I think it’s time I fulfilled their expectations.”
For the first time in history, the MIMMA 3 Grand Finals will be shown live on a free network; RTM 1 (Astro Ch101) in Malaysia. It will also be available to view free of charge online at: www.malaysianinvasion.com.
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