Ignite Warrior Championship returns this Sunday night having established itself as Thailand’s most glitzy and star-studded MMA TV show yet.
It’s mostly in Thai language, but allow me to explain what’s going on and why you need to check out the live stream this Sunday from 21:30 Thai time with English commentary.
So, what is Ignite Warrior Championship? Well, it’s a Thai amateur MMA tournament and TV series, created by JSL Global Media and Thai MMA Federation President Plai Jitinat. Partly inspired by the heroics of the 5-season deep Malaysian Invasion MMA series, the aim is to introduce and popularise MMA to Thai audiences and help grow the sport in the Kingdom. The show features a cast of 16 young hopefuls with a handful of fights across different disciplines to their names. The show is fronted by a dream team of Thai combat sports royalty in its 4 mentors: Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai, Matthew Deane, Rambaa Somdet and Master Thong.
Ignite have also come up with a unique format for the show. It consists of 4 weight divisions – Men’s Lightweight, Featherweight & Bantamweight and Women’s Strawweight – with 4 amateur MMA fighters in each division. Over the course of 3 heats in the JSL TV Studio, every fighter will fight each other in their division, gaining 3 points for each win. Then the two top fighters in each division will fight again at the Grand Finals at the Central World shopping plaza in central Bangkok for the Ignite title.
The first two heats were in May, and this Sunday, June 10 sees the third and final heat to determine the two finalists for the Grand Finals on July 22. So, it’s not too late to get on board with Ignite Warrior Championship. Live English commentary is available on their YouTube page, provided by Full Metal Dojo hosts Jon Nutt and Mark Abbott at: https://www.youtube.com/ignitefightclub
Above is the fight card for Sunday’s 3rd heat. After 2 heats, each division is identically poised with 1 fighter on 2 wins, 2 fighters with 1 win and 1 loss, and 1 fighter on 2 losses. So, keep an eye on the fighters with two wins each – Lightweight Chayanon Potijean, Bantamweight Rungrot Posi, Strawweight Natchkamon Chantasri and Featherweight Prach Buapa – who are likely to go through to the Grand Finals, though anything is possible.
Ignite boss Plai Jitinat explains more, “This 3rd round of the league “Road to Champion” will be the fight to decide the fate of the 2 finalists for each division, with a lot of pressure and a lot at stake, especially for the current 2nd & 3rd place athletes in each division. But the top 4 in each division with 2 wins each could find themselves finishing 2nd or even 3rd place in their division should some of the underdogs create some upset wins.”
And then there are the teams. Ignite has assembled 4 Thai icons of MMA and Muay Thai who will mentor a fighter from each division. Most recognisable to Asian MMA fans will be Thailand’s top MMA star, One Championship fighter Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai, alongside Rika Ishige, who is set to face his biggest ever test in the legendary Shinya Aoki next month. He’s joined by Khongsittha Gym owner, model, actor and host of multiple Muay Thai TV shows Matthew Deane. Former Shooto Flyweight Champion Rambaa Somdet, is a Thai fighter who spent his career in Japan before MMA even existed in Thailand, was one of the world’s top fighters in his weight category and has now returned home to some well-deserved fame. And Master Thong is a former Team Alpha Male striking coach, who has trained the likes of UFC stars Uriah Faber, Chad Mendes and Joseph Benavidez and now runs Master Thong Muay Thai Gym in Bangkok.
There are also rumours that Matthew Deane has enlisted the help of his friend, Muay Thai uber-legend Saenchai to help steer his team to victory in the final heat. So, make you sure you tune in and don’t miss any of the action from 21:30 Thai time this Sunday, June 10th. Live English commentary is provided by Full Metal Dojo hosts Jon Nutt and Mark Abbott at: https://www.youtube.com/ignitefightclub. The Thai language broadcast can be seen at: https://www.facebook.com/IgniteFightClub
For more behind the scenes action, check out this preview of the first heat from FOX Sports Asia: