MMA: Throwing caution to the wind

Benedict Ang training with Evolve MMA team-mate Amir Khan yesterday at Evolve Gym. They will feature at One Championship's Defending Honour event on Friday.
Benedict Ang training with Evolve MMA team-mate Amir Khan yesterday at Evolve Gym. They will feature at One Championship's Defending Honour event on Friday.PHOTO: DAVID ASH

Taking risks central to Ang's strategy of earning MMA win in front of home crowd

Crowd support will not be much of an advantage to homegrown mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Benedict Ang at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday.

Once he enters the ring at One Championship's Defending Honour event, all the cheering, no matter how loud, and the raucous surroundings, will just be white noise to him.

Ang, 20, said: "Ideally, I want to do Singapore proud because I am representing my country. But when I go into the fight and when I am in the ring, there's no space or time for me to think about it (the cheering).

"But I hope that knowing that I am fighting in front of a home crowd will bring out the best in me."

He will be putting his perfect 3-0 win-loss record on the line against submission specialist Ahmed Mujtaba of Pakistan in the featherweight (65.9-70.3kg) division.

The third-year student at Republic Polytechnic, who trains at Evolve MMA six times a week, has promised to empty his tank against his opponent, who is unbeaten in five bouts, with four of those opponents submitting.

Ang said: "The way I approach this fight is going to be different. In the past, I was probably a bit more cautious and not willing to take risks.

"But this time, I'm going in with the mentality that even if I get knocked out or submit, so be it. Because I am going to take risks, I will not hold anything back and I'm going to put everything I have out there."

Ang is one of four Singaporean fighters on the nine-bout fight card.

Niko Soe, 23, of Impact MMA, and Tiffany Teo, 26, of Juggernaut Fight Club, will be making their One Championship debuts against Malaysia's Muhamad Haidar and Egypt's Walaa Abbas respectively in the flyweight division (56.8- 61.2kg).

Ang's Evolve MMA team-mate Amir Khan, 22, will face Belgian Samir Mrabet in a lightweight (70.4-77.1kg) bout.

Khan hinted that his all-round skills should help him deal with the strengths of his 31-year-old opponent, who boasts a 4-0 record and is a trained Brazilian jiu-jitsu exponent.

The full-time national serviceman said: "He'll probably watch videos of my previous fights but I've become more mobile and well-rounded and it's going to surprise him.

"I've added in different strikes and my fighting is more dynamic than before.

"I'm not very worried about his grappling capabilities. He may be good in BJJ with a gi on, but when it's MMA and without a gi, I feel like I would have an advantage over him."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2016, with the headline 'Throwing caution to the wind'. Print Edition | Subscribe