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Eight set for Rebel Fighting Championship battle

Eight mixed martial arts fighters from around the world will battle it out in the Rebel Fighting Championship Battle Royale on Friday (August 1).

SINGAPORE: Eight mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters from around the world will battle it out in the Rebel Fighting Championship (RFC) Battle Royale this Friday (August 1) at Suntec Singapore. The first knockout tournament of its kind in Singapore, it is a chance for the fledgling promotion group to build a name for itself, even as it gives former champions a way to rebuild past glory.

The road had not been always this rocky for Miguel ‘Angel’ Torres. The former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) bantamweight champion once held a 37 to 1 win-loss record in 2009. Former opponent Charles Wilson even compared fighting him to "trying to fight an octopus in quicksand."

But complacency got the better of him, leading to several losses that saw the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) removing Torres from its roster. "I was ranked one of the best fighters in the world for about two years,” said Torres. “When that happened, you get the keys to the kingdom - you get everything you want. For me, it was too much to handle; I had to hit rock bottom and fall all the way to the bottom to realise what I had lost, to let it go and come back up again."

For the 33-year-old, Friday's Battle Royale promises to be his biggest fight since his fall from grace, and a possible stepping stone back up to the top. He's joined by another former UFC fighter and Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC) champion Will Chope, who was expelled from UFC after his former military conviction came to light.

Organiser RFC is no stranger to being the underdog, with more established, international players like UFC and ONE FC also in the Singapore market. "The biggest challenge being in Asia is that we're about 10 years behind North America and the rest of the world in terms of MMA talent,” said Justin Leong, RFC’s CEO.

He added, “The key thing lacking with MMA in Asia is that no one has any experience. We want to provide the platform for all these fighters to get their experience, to push them up a level. Because that's the best way to  develop the sport in terms of everyone's skill set."

For the former champions, and the aspirational ones, Friday night promises to just be the beginning of future MMA glory. The tournament also features preliminary and under cards, which will feature local MMA talents such as former Olympian May Ooi, and international MMA stars such as Korean Gyo Pyung Hwang, Kris Barras from the UK and Australian Samiuela Kei. 

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