Alex da Silva moved up the UAE Warriors rankings with his second successive triumph in the Abu Dhabi promotion’s 44th edition at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island on Saturday.
The Brazilian took just 41 seconds to submit Bagysh Zharmamatov of Kyrgyzstan with a guillotine choke in the headline contest of the 14-fight card and stay on course as a potential title contender in the promotion.
Da Silva’s debut in the UAE Warriors ended in defeat to Russian Makkasharip Zaynukov by a split decision in March but the Brazilian has quickly established himself with victories over Ali Mashrapov in May and now his compatriot Zharmamatov.
“Indeed, I’m hungry for more since I joined this promotion this year and I guess they will include me in their next fight card,” Da Silva said after extending his record to 23 wins and five losses.
“This fight tonight ended in just 41 seconds and I’m even ready to get back into the cage tomorrow. I’m ready to fight any day.”
China’s Jieleyisi Baergeng made a winning debut in the UAE Warriors with a split decision over the promotion’s former champion Xavier Alaoui of Canada in the co-main bantamweight contest.
Alberto Mina, the UFC’s MMA manager based in Shanghai, is confident China to make a huge impact in Mixed Martial Arts around the world.
“We have had Chinese fighters in the UAE Warriors before but it’s the first time we are having two in the same fight card,” the former Brazilian MMA professional said.
“The potential in China and the talent they have is huge. We have many fighters already signed with UFC and our job is to continue unearth new talents and new prospects for the biggest promotions around the world.”
China’s second contestant on the night, Lun Qui, however, didn’t have the same success as his colleague when he went down to Russian Rashid Vagabov in a technical submission (rear naked choke) in four minutes and 45 seconds in the first round of their flyweight battle.
“That’s not unusual because winning and losing is part and parcel of the sport,” said Alberto, a former professional fighter and black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Zhang Weili created Chinese MMA history as the first ever Chinese-born UFC Champion and currently there are 12 active athletes in the promotion.
“My job is to oversee the development of more Chinese MMA fighters for competitions overseas,” said Alberto, who was posted to Shanghai last year after seven years in Hong Kong.
“We work as team at the performance institute in Shanghai and we have more than 20 coaches covering all areas of MMA."
Alberto, 41, spent a year in Dubai in 2010 and said Palms Sports (the management company of UAE Warriors) was just beginning.
“I’m amazed to see how much they have developed in promoting and staging their events,” he added. “I have travelled to 58 countries teaching martial arts and conducting seminars, and also competing myself as a professional athlete.
‘I’m honestly amazed how Abu Dhabi has developed as a hotspot for MMA and the UAE Warriors’ role in developing fighters from around the world with the Arabia, Africa and the International events.
“That’s a unique promotion of the UAE Warriors. They emphasise the fact that the fighters as the stars of their shows. That’s a big statement of the Abu Dhabi promotion, and I love that for a fact.”