The expansion of MMA has seen new promotions spring up in Singapore and India recently - now Dubai is the latest territory to produce its own home-grown show.
Following the ONE FC model, the promoters of Dubai Fighting Championship have looked to make their first card a mix of international and local talent.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco ‘Suave’ Rodgriguez headlines the card in a main event fight with English heavyweightStav ‘Crazy Bear’ Economou.
While Rodriguez recently learned that he is effectively banned from the UFC for life, the clash could be Economou’s passport to the bigtime. If he can take a win over Rodriguez he could find the UFC door being opened to him.
Rodriguez has a record of 48-17 which includes stoppage wins over Andre Arlovski and Randy Couture. But he has gone just 1-6 in his last seven fights and there has never been a better time for a rising talent like Economou to try and take a name out.
Economou fights out of Team Sure Grip and is 12-2-1 as a pro. Most of his wins have come by way of stoppage and his two losses have both been to fighters who have gone on to compete in the UFC (Karlos Vemola and Phil De Fries).
DFC has also booked The Ultimate Fighter 15 contestant Jon ‘Super Saiygon’ Tuck, who exited the show with a broken toe and a decision loss.
The loss doesn’t go on his record though, as TUF fights are considered exhibition matches, and so he maintains his 6-0 record. He also holds the distinction of being the only fighter to have finished the ridiculously tough ONE FC Filipino Eduard Folayang.
Russian Muay Thai stylist Malik ‘Smiler’ Omarov is returning to action after a one-year absence. He has had over fifty Muay Thai fights and has won titles in that discipline. His MMA record stands at 3-1 and despite being Russian he will be a ‘local’ fighter as he has been based in Dubai for some years.
Other fighters on the DFC fight card include Matteo Piran, BJJ black belt Michael Maia and the Brazilian veteran Fabricio Nascimento.
Dubai Fighting Championship will take place on May 4th at the extremely luxurious Habtoor Grand Resort Dubai Marina, which can be found fronting the exclusive Jumeirah Beach and the Dubai Marina, which houses the yachts of the various local millionaires.