Thailand’s premier MMA promotion returned after a yearlong absence with DARE: Rebels of MMA taking place at the Insanity Nightclub in Bangkok on Saturday. The seven-fight card was headlined by a welterweight clash between Joe Ray and Ole Laursen.
Ray is based at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, while Laursen, who has spent the majority of his career competing at 155 pounds, owns the Legacy Gym in Ubon Ratchatani. These are two of the top fighters based in Thailand at present.
Both have a reputation for being powerful strikers and they went toe to toe for the best part of 15 minutes before Ray sunk in an arm in guillotine in the closing stages of the final round. The win takes his record to 11-3 while Laursen drops to 6-4.
Thailand is a popular destination for mixed martial artists looking to top up their skill sets in the tropics and the DARE matchmakers took advantage of this to feature a number of well known fighters currently visiting the Kingdom.
In the co-main event, French light heavyweight Moise Rimbon scored the sixth successive win of his career, taking out previously undefeated Ukrainian Alexander Gladkov with a body shot in the second round.
Gladkov drops to 4-1, while Rimbon, who was one of four fighters on the card representing Phuket Top Team, improves to 20-9-3. As with all the winners, he progresses to the next round of the DARE tournament, which will eventually see winners crowned from a field of 16 fighters in eight different divisions.
Rasul Mirzaev made headlines after signing with Bellator and subsequently being released by the promotion due to a conviction for manslaughter, which saw him serve time inside a Russian prison. He made a successful comeback at Alash Pride in Kazakhstan earlier this year and improved his unbeaten record to 7-0 with a decision win at DARE.
His opponent was tough English featherweight James Saville, who put up a good fight but couldn’t prevent his record from falling to 12-7.
It was also a good night for Mirzaev’s Russian teammate Murad Machaev, who scored a quickfire submission win over Tiger Muay Thai’s Gokhan Turkyilmaz, which takes his record to 13-1, the Turkish lightweight drops to 9-9.
There were also wins for Australian featherweight Brad Terrey, Russian bantamweight Asker Baragunov, and Swedish lightweight Kristoffer Persson. All the fights were held in a ring, a departure from previous DARE shows, which have all used a cage, and were fought under PRIDE rules.
The team behind DARE have ironed out the regulatory issues which led to reports of MMA being banned and are now working closely with the relevant authorities in Thailand. The next show is scheduled for Jan. 25 in Bangkok and will feature the return of 4-1 Finnish heavyweight Marko Patteri.