Sports

LION Championship 10 sees fierce fights for belts

Nicknamed the ‘Muay Thai Queen’, Trúc proved her Muay Thai talents having topped the national ranking for many years.

Mixed martial arts

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Nguyễn Thị Thanh Trúc (white vest) puts South Korean rival Choi Seong Un in a lock hold during the Angel’s Fighting Championship 21. Trúc will defend her LION Championship 52kg belt against Hồ Thị Ngọc Bích on Saturday in Phú Quốc Island. — Photo courtesy of Cocky Buffalo

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam’s largest mixed martial arts series, LION Championship 10, with thrilling bouts will return to the pearl islands of Phú Quốc this weekend.

It is the second time that Phú Quốc will host the competition after the fierce finals last November. This year, there are six fights, two for women and four for men, held at the Corona Convention Centre.

Reigning champion Nguyễn Thị Thanh Trúc will defend her women’s 52kg prize against rising star Hồ Thị Ngọc Bích.

Nicknamed the ‘Muay Thai Queen’, Trúc proved her Muay Thai talents having topped the national ranking for many years.

Last season, she faced no difficulties to take the title, knocking out two rivals by rear-naked-choke before taking a submission win in the final match.

Although she’s only been fighting MMA for two years, Trúc has earned remarkable achievements including a win at the prestigious Angel’s Fighting Championship and a bronze medal from the Asian championship.

The ‘queen’ has well prepared for the title defence for months. She travelled to the Philippines for an intensive course to train at the Layka Club, home to Asian leading MMA fighters.

The fight is an opportunity for Bích to get revenge as she lost to Trúc in last year’s qualification round.

One year after her defeat, Bích has become a different fighter. The challenger has improved herself in technique, physique and mental strength.

She took part in the last three events of the LION Championship and won them all. She is considered a worthy rival to Trúc this Saturday.

The second belt bout will be between Vietnamese Nguyễn Thị Hương and American Chelsey Caswell. They will vie for vacant title in the women’s 60kg on Satuday. Their match was scheduled for a year ago but delayed because of unexpected reasons.

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A poster of the LION Championship 10 which features six thrilling matches this weekend. — Photo of LC10

On the men’s side, Asian MMA champion Nguyễn Tiến Long of Việt Nam will fight Brazilian jujitsu champion Felipe Negochadle in the 65kg class. The winner will advance to the final where they face defending champion Nghiêm Văn Ý.

Long, 21, is a star in the national community after he brought home the first Asian title in August.

At last year’s Lion Championship, Long overcame strong rivals to take fourth place in the rankings of the 60kg category before he was fought in the final against national No 1 Muay Thai fighter Nguyễn Trần Duy Nhất.

The youngster was close to beating the seven-time world champion, but Nhất successfully escaped a number of locks and fought back to win the title.

Earlier in the season, Long said he was determined to bring the belt home. But his first task was to beat the master of grappling, Negochadle.

Jujitsu black-belt Negochadle is not an easy opponent after he secured two easy submission wins at the LC07 and LC09.

He also collected a big victory at the recent Angel’s Fighting Championship 25 in Vũng Tàu City.

In other fights, Ngô Hồng Giang, a bronze casting artist, will face world sanshou silver medallist Phạm Công Minh in the 84kg class. The winner will earn a shot at the belt against Trần Quốc Toản.

Jujitsu artist Phan Thanh Tùng will face ‘Ironman’ Võ Thanh Tùng in the 56kg pool.

Two fighters Đinh Chí Công and Nguyễn Hợp Hải, who have been promoted to the LC’s Class A level, will open the night in the 60kg bout.

The Việt Nam MMA Federation has informed that all doping tests will be conducted at the LC10.

It is the first pro martial art tournament in Việt Nam to test athletes for banned substances.

Organisers said athletes who had positive tests would be fined VNĐ100 million, their results would be cancelled, titles would be stripped of and they may be banned from the tournament. Their clubs would also suffer fines.

Theo Vietnamnews