Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Kunlun Female MMA Stats

Kunlun Fight, a Chinese promotion, has been developing female talent within China. This is an atypical case because Kunlun is not a MMA promotion, it is a Kickboxing promotion. However, Kunlun does have a variety of fights under other rules, including MMA fights. Kunlun has only been putting on MMA fights for roughly three years and has not been on a lot of people's radar. However, the promotion has put on 30 female mma fights and has helped develop a couple solid fighters, most notably Maryna Moroz, who fought for the promotion twice and is now in the UFC.

When I look at the data, it seems that Kunlun wants to create a couple of Chinese stars. In order to accomplish this goal, they are willing to fly in women to fight these women. There are three women that stick out, Jin Tang, Jingnan Xiong and Weili Zhang. They combine for roughly half of the fights in the promotion. Outside of them, women are usually brought into the promotion for one fight, most frequently from the Ukraine. This is not a strange practice. Numerous promotions in the area do this, the idea being that you fly in a foreigner to fight the local fighter to get the crowd behind the local fighter and to develop a fan base.

Kunlun recently took their show on the road and had an event in Japan, where Weili Zhang defeated Emi Fujino by TKO (Cut). Prior to the cut, it was an exciting fight and with what I have seen in other promotions, it seems clear that more and more contenders are going to begin emerging from China, with Weili Zhang potentially leading the way. The charts below illustrate that while Kunlun is putting on more and more fights, they are maintaing a nice percentage of female fights with 25% of their MMA fights in 2014, 15% of their fights in 2015 and 24% of their fights in 2016 so far involving women. While Kunlun is doing a good job of developing certain fighters, it would be nice to see them expand what I will call their "permanent roster".

2016 is not over
2016 is not over

List of women who have fought for Kunlun:

Munkhgerel Bayarmaa 1
Karla Benitez 1
Mara Romero Borella 1
Julia Borisova 1
Daria Chibisova 1
Emi Fujino 1
Viktoria Godomchuk 1
Svetlana Gotsyk 1
Feier Huang 3
Inna Hutsal 1
Samantha Jean-Francois 1
Yoo Jin Jung 1
Eugenia Kostina 1
Rochelle Lestino 1
Marina Lvova 1
Yana Lyashko 1
Liliya Kazak 3
Maira Mazar 1
Maryna Moroz 2
Anastasiya Rybalochko 1
Aya Saied Saber 2
Natalya Safronova 1
Colleen Schneider 1
Jin Tang 13
Ekaterina Tarnavskaja 1
Liubov Tiupina 1
Fabrina Vanessa 1
Jingnan Xiong 9
Malihe Younes 1
Weili Zhang 5

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

One Female Fight Stats

One of the top promotions in the world, One Championship, a Singapore based promotion, has been putting on an increasing amount of fights in Asia. Starting with 10 fights in 2011, One has increased the number of fights each year to a total of 106 so far in 2016. One has also been developing female talent in the region. When one thinks of One, fighters such as Angela Lee and Ann Osman come to mind and have been heavily promoted by the Organization. What is interesting and important about One, is that they are developing female fighters in areas that we do not traditionally see a lot of fighters emerging from. For example, One has signed the first Taiwanese female mixed martial artist, Malaysian, Cambodian, and Indian female mixed martial artists. Another piece of information that sticks out, is that One tends to bring female fighters back. Other promotions can have the tendency to bring in fighters to fight a promotional fighter and then not bring them back, but more than 50% of the women who fought for One fought for them at least twice.

2016 is not over
While a majority of the women signed by One are not making their mixed martial arts debut, One is giving a lot of women the opportunity to fight on a big stage and to gain valuable experience. One of the most memorable fights in One's history is the title fight between Angela Lee and Mei Yamaguchi. In addition to the fight, Angela Lee is arguably One's most visible star and most popular fighter. This year One signed Angela Lee to a large contract, showing their intent to keep her as one of the faces of the growing promotion. In my opinion, One was actively looking for a female star to promote. One originally threw their weight behind Ann Osman, who has fought for the promotion 7 times, but when Angela Lee burst onto the scene with her exciting submissions, they quickly threw their weight behind her, who has fought for the promotion 6 times, and led to them crowning their first female champion.

Total Fights and Female Fights
At a recent Asian MMA Summit, both Angela Lee and Ann Osman spoke about women in MMA, showing at least an intent by One to continue to expand and develop female fighters within their promotion and the region. Having interviewed several of their fighters, I got the sense that these women's success in One has led to more women coming to their gyms and training, which will most likely lead to more female fighters in the future. If this is true, One's investment in these women seems to be paying off. Hopefully, as more female fighters become available in the area, a greater percentage of One's fights will include women. My only issue is that with One's new weight procedures and classifications, I wonder what is going to happen to their 105ers.

Women who have fought for One:

Walaa Abas (2) 
Amira Badr (1) 
Vy Srey Chai (2) 
Nicole Chua (1) 
Kirstie Gannaway (2)
Renecca Heintzman 1
Natalie Hills (2)
Jenny Huang (3)
Ana Julaton (4)
Angela Lee (6)
Sherilyn Lim (1)
Irina Mazepa (2)
Jujeath Nagaowa (2)
Istela Nunes (1)
Adek Omar (1)
April Osenio (3)
Ann Osman (7)
Elena Pashnina (1)
Ehpriyanut Phouthong (1)
Desi Rahayu (1)
Aya Saied Saber (3)
Tharoth Sam (3)
Mona Samir (1)
Ella Tang (1)
Lena Tkhorevska (1)
Jeet Toshi (4)
Mei Yamaguchi (2)
Haiat Farag Youssef (1)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Yan Xiaonan Interview

Name: Yan "Fury" Xiaonan
Age: 27
Height:5"5 (166cm)
Weight: 115 (52kg)
Record: 7-1 (5 via KO/TKO)

An exciting striker, Yan Xiaonan is arguably the best female fighter on Road FC's roster. Do not let the 8 fight record fool you, Yan has been fighting for a long time and has fought some tough opponents, notably Jin Tang and Gina Iniong. She made her pro-debut in 2009, but took almost a 5 year break between 2010 and 2015. With women's mma becoming more and more popular across the globe, Yan was drawn back to the cage in 2015 and has most recently been fighting for Road FC. An explosive Sanda fighter, Yan is not only one of the best fighters on Road FC's roster, she is one of the best fighters from China in general.


CJ: Can you talk about your fighting background and how you decided to go pro?

YX: I was a student at the Xian Sports Institute training under coach Zhao Xue Jun since I was 16 years old and twice went to the national games in Sanda.  Before going to Xian I was at the local sports school in my home town in Pan Jing Liao Ning. I also took part in MMA events in Xian that was organized by Ultimate Wrestle, they did about 30 events back in 2005 to 2010.  They are actually the first MMA event in China.  The Ultimate Wrestle MMA event was held every month and sometimes twice a month and there I got my first experience in MMA in their event.

I love martial arts and as a child growing up my dad also trained me in martial arts thus I can say that martial arts is our family sport.  During my time at the Xian Sports Institute, I competed in many Sanda events at the city level, provincial level and have won some provincial titles.  I went to the National Games twice in Sanda.  Most fighters finish after going once, however, I love Sanda so much I trained for a second chance to go.  I also in took part in MMA events such as Ultimate Wrestle.  Many of my teammates that were older competed in the Art of War thus many of our team members were also training in Beijing to fight in MMA events internationally and I just love watching them fight with limited rules.  In 1999 I was offered an opportunity to fight in Martial Combat in Singapore and since then I have been fighting in MMA events.

CJ: Looking at your record, there is a big gap between 2010-2015, what happened? Why did you stop? Why did you come back?

YX: In 2010 I was fighting in Martial Combat and Ultimate Wrestle.  I distinctly remember 2010 in Ultimate Wrestle as I beat Tang Jin in first minute of bout, they had pride rules so we can stomp on our opponents.  It was much more aggressive than fighting now because they do not allow stomp on fighters and soccer kicks when down, and also some even now cannot knee head or do elbow strikes.  In 2011 I went to Singapore to fight twice in Martial Combat.  In 2012  I started competing in Muay Thai events and also hold a national title in that.  At that time there were not so many events in MMA in China open to girls.  The ones that were available I have competed in.  In 2015, Alvin at URCC offered me an opportunity to fight and I wanted to get back into fighting in MMA.

CJ: Your English nickname is "fury", which reflects your aggressive style. Can you describe your fight style for new fans?

YX: My name Fury was giving to me during Martial Combat which basically is how I fight.  I am aggressive, fast and relentless in going after my opponent.  My striking ability comes from top coaches that I have trained under - Coach Zhao Xue Jun, whom is also coach to many of China’s top champions such as:  Anhu, Bao Li Gao, Zhao Zi Long, Na Xun, Qing Ge Le, Wang Guan, Bateer and many other top champions.  The biggest difference I can tell you is that we like to KO our opponents and consistent training in the basics of power striking skills, cardio and conditioning.

CJ: As a Sanda fighter do you watch fighters like Cung Le?

YX: Cung Le is famous in USA and know who he is, he fought my coach NaXun (Mongol King)  in Hawaii, however I have not watched many of Cung Le's fights, I have seen him in some Hollywood movie.  I have watched fighters like Ernesto Hoost, Badr Hari, Gokhan Saki, Giorgio Petrosyan in Kickboxing.  I like to watch Pride fighters like Wanderlei Silva and now guys like Jon Jones and recently Conor McGregor and of course Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm.

CJ: Which fight of yours should a new fan watch? A fight you're particularly proud of that showcases you.

YX: Hard to say which fight showcases my skills, probably the one most seen is me fighting Gina Iniong from the Philippines in Martial Combat.  My kick went into her mouth, that was a first time for me to have that happen to an opponent and I received some fan mail from Singapore which I still remember.  My current fights in Road FC highlights my style, however I think it still needs lots of improvement as I am still waiting to KO my opponent.

CJ: You've fought some pretty tough fighters (Gina, Jin, ect.), does that boost your confidence?

YX: I have fought in many Sanda and Muay Thai fights and the experience carries over to MMA fights.  I am not too worried about my opponents as I train full time and and prepared to fight.  My toughest fight was against Mongolian National Wrestling Champion Bayarmaa Munkhegerel because she had real good take downs and ground skills, she had recently won prize in an international BJJ event at blue belt level and was it a bigger than me thus I was worried about going to the ground with her.

CJ: Can you describe your average day?  Your training schedule?

YX: I have two training sessions everyday.  In the mornings I alternate days to work on strength, conditioning and in the afternoon I train at the Beijing Shaolin School because one of my senior team mates from Xian - Li Zhi Qiang - is a coach there.  I also train at CTT for some of my ground game as my ex team mate - Zhang Tie Quan, Li Jing Liang are there.   I also train at different camps to learn from different instructors to expand my knowledge and to also to find proper instructors that fits my style.  Also its good for me to spar with different fighters and opens my experience to different fight styles.  My training sessions are usually two to three hours long, I spend most my time on the basics of foot work, striking, grappling, takedowns, submissions.  The usual for all MMA fighters I think, however I stick to my striking more as that is my core competence.

CJ: Congratulations on getting married! What was it like fighting so close to your wedding?

YX: Thanks, my husband Zhang Yang supports me very much on my endeavor to chase my dreams to continue my career in MMA. The fight in Road FC was very close to my wedding, I went to Beijing to check in same afternoon as my wedding, however we had to drive about 8 hours and got there evening before weight ins.  I did not get to enjoy the food at my wedding as I had to cut a kilo.  It was a learning experience for me too as I did not get enough time to train for my fight, there are so many details for my wedding especially when there are so many family members to deal with and also many things to do for a wedding.  I felt that I could have fought much better and be more aggressive.  My game was a bit compromised from the lack of proper training.  My opponent being a Sanda fighter was very tough and put up a good fight.

CJ: You're one of the top Chinese fighters, can you talk about what representing China means to you?

YX: I love the sports and competitive aspects of being an athlete.  I am proud to representing China, however its not only that which I feel is most important.  I am also representing my team, my family, my coaches, instructors and all those that believe in me,  they have spent their time working with me and helping me chase my dreams.  It is also their dreams that I succeed and winning is the fruit of everyone’s labor.  I am just trying to be the best I can, learning and growing as a martial artist and I think that represents what being a true top Chinese athlete is about.  I don’t do fake fights, I don’t do special favors, when I step in the ring to do my best and beat my opponent.  During my days at the sports institute we just train hard, compete whenever we can and try to win every fight.  That I believe is the spirit a true fighter and that is what it means when I win.  If I can represent my country and win, I am glad I can.   I like to focus on the training and there is so much to learn and many people from all over the world that have helped me grow as an athlete.  There are also many top athletes in China that has come from the same system that I have thus when I win a fight, I also feel that my victory is what I am giving back to them all their hard work.  I respect all my opponents that have stood opposite of me no matter what country they are from, I have fought fighters from Russia, American, Philippines, Mongolia, Korea, to me they are firstly an athlete with much courage and deserve 100% of my respect.  I think that martial arts transcends borders, countries and nationalities, I want to also thank all my Chinese audience fans and international fans for their support and patronage that is making MMA a popular sport.

CJ: I read that your ultimate goal is the UFC, can you talk about that?

YX: I want to fight in the top event in MMA and I believe that the UFC is the pinnacle of MMA in the world.  I want face top opponents as it is a challenge to myself and my abiilties..  I know that with the proper training and preparation I can compete with the best. A few of my teammates has gone to UFC, Li Jing Liang, Jumabieke, Wang An Ying, Yang Jian Ping, Zhang Li Peng and I know I can compete at that level and win.

CJ: Can you talk about the WMMA scene in China?  Is it growing?  Do you see more women in the gym?

YX: There is a growing number of female MMA fighters in China.  Many are crossing over from Sanda. Some of the top ones I have seen are from the Xian Sports Institute and Wuhan Sports Institute. Currently there is a sudden demand of female fighters which is good but also has its drawbacks as some are highly promoted and not up to par with the ones from the sports institutes.  The interest of females in this sport is growing very slow in comparison to the west, I think that it will change in the future as more and more athlete from Judo, Wrestling and Boxing will move into this sport.  There are many champion female athletes in China as you can see in the Olympics and world games.  The environment has to be there for them to make a move into this sport.  I hope that I can motivate more females into this sport.  I think that by winning I will be able to set an example for many females to follow.

CJ: What do you like to do when you're not fighting?

YX: I do the usual girl thing, go to movie, go out with my friends, maybe play some basketball.  I am not into make up or fancy clothing.  I like things simple and to spend time with my parents.   Being with my parents is very important to me, when I was at the Xian Sports Institute I only see them once a year or at a major event thus I got little time to spend with them.  During holidays we train, the only time off is Chinese New Years and it is so hard to get a train ticket home.  I know they are there for me and support me by giving me space and time to be with my team mates and coaches to train, now that I have more of my own time when I am not training for a fight I will go home to Panjing, Liao Ning to spend time with them.  At home I will cook, watch TV and spend time talking with my parents as we have so much to catch up on. Actually I like to cook with my parents cause I miss the food I had growing up.  In Xian we eat lots of meat and noodle, when I go home I get to cook up some seafood, make some dumplings, and my relatives will visit and we will watch some of my fight videos.

CJ: Is there anything you'd like to say?  Anyone you want to thank? A message for the fans?

YX: I want to thank all my fans for watching my fights, my parents their support and importantly my Coaches - Zhao Xue Jun, Na Xun, Wang Han, Zhang Tie Quan and Bill Eng for believing in me and all their time and effort in helping me succeed as a athlete.  I want to thank all the organisers that have given me opportunities - Road FC, URCC, Beijing Fight Nights, North East Art of War, Ultimate Wrestle and my competitors for stepping up to fight me.

CJ: Can we expect to see you in the cage soon?

YX: Yes, I hope very soon.