10 entertaining international fights are expected to fire up the atmosphere at Muson Center in Lagos as the Battle of the Gladiators Mixed Martial Arts MMA showpiece takes centre stage.
The action packed championship organised by Akalaka Spirit of the Warrior promotion will come up on 28 January 2023 from 7PM.
Gearing up to display some striking and grappling clinic in the co-main event are two lady warriors who are well versed in the MMA business.
National Sports Festival 2022 gold medalist in judo Terlumun Doose of Nigeria faces Togolese striking sensation Cynthia Jibidar in an all ladies’ bantamweight affair that promises intense heat, doggedness and elegance.
The main event in the men’s lightweight category throws up some Nigeria/Ghana jollof rivalry as Nigeria’s Black Panther Onem Richard squares up to his Ghanaian foe Richard ‘Boyka’ Asiedu.
The Ghanaian champion would be angling to right the wrongs of last year’s March when he suffered a disqualification defeat to Cornell Thompson of Nigeria at the Akalaka 1 Streetfight contest in Ahoada, Rivers State.
The promoter Dr Ebere Bernard, a Nigerian Army veteran and combat sports specialist, believes in focussing on grassroots development of youths in the sports where discovered local talents can be nurtured to systematically graduate into professional MMA fighters.
“The promotion is focused on grassroots youth development which constitutes about 70% Nigeria population, with a target of grooming 200 MMA prospects every year across the country for the next five years.”
Dr Bernard the Director of Youth Development in the Nigeria Mixed Martial Arts Federation, NMMAF, the latest federation to be granted full recognition by the Nigeria Sports Ministry, also added that the January 28 fight night at Muson Center was in line with the promotion’s values of using combat sports to tell the African story of pre-colonial and post-colonial struggles.
Such struggle is also epitomised by 2015 African Games gold medallist in Greco Roman wrestling Nigeria’s Emmanuel ‘The Working Machine ‘ Nworie who braved various adversities while growing up as a kid before attaining professional status in MMA.
The Working Machine will slug it out in the welterweight class with Daniel Appah ‘The Road Map’ in the Battle of the Gladiators while Ebenezer ‘Iron Fist’ Vincent and Geoffrey John The Skullcobra have got some old scores to settle in a lightweight battle.
Vincent took down Geoffrey in the semi final of last month’s Spirit of the Warrior Akalaka 2 Streetfight which he eventually won at the Lagos National Stadium, however, Skullcobra disagreed with the judges’ decision on the day and promised to make it easier for the arbiters on January 28.
Completing the main card is a potentially all action featherweight bout between Uchejim Onyeka of the Nigerian Army and Ghana’s Edmond Akhator.
The Ghanaian could be on a revenge mission to Nigeria after losing to a reverse spinning elbow by Jackiel Ayana last year in Rivers State where Akalaka 1 Streetfight thrilled fight fans in Ahoada.
The prelims are also stacked with some tasty duels to entertain fight audiences.
Stepping into the full glare of international stage lights for the first time in his MMA career is fast rising talent Ebere Stanford The Shaolin Tiger who takes on Ghana’s Jerry Otoo.
The enterprising Stanford has been a beneficiary of the Spirit of the Warrior Educational foundation to tertiary institution level after convincing in previous amateur and professional MMA tournaments hosted by the promotion.
In the spirit of grooming local talents from the grassroots, two amateur bouts have been primed into the championship sanctioned by NMMAF.
The Gladiators Cage Fight in Lagos is a prelude to one of the biggest MMA fight nights in Nigeria “The Night of Glamour and Glory” coming up on the 29th of April 2023 in Abuja and headlined by the former American MMA champion D’juan ‘Dirty South’ Owens against a North African opponent.