UFC's Sterling, Hooper set for fiery clash at Abu Dhabi Extreme Championship

Sterling, UFC’s No.1 ranked in the bantamweight category, is looking forward to showcasing his skills


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Fri 19 Jan 2024, 12:22 AM

Last updated: Fri 19 Jan 2024, 12:23 AM

UFC’s Aljamain Sterling, the ‘Funk Master’, and Chase Hooper, the ‘Dream’, promise a high-intensity grappling welterweight bout during the main event of the second Abu Dhabi Extreme Championship (ADXC 2) at the Mubadala Arena on Friday.

The much-anticipated jiu-jitsu and grappling tournament with a unique ruleset will feature two main and co-main events along with 10 other encounters, including Emirati fighters Mohammed and Omar Al Suwaidi in a well-stacked card of fight night.

Sterling, UFC’s No.1 ranked in the bantamweight category, is looking forward to showcasing his skills and entertaining fans.

“ADXC is going to be similar to the MMA cage. The difference is going to be when I take somebody down, if I chase them down, I can’t punch them. So, I have to rely on my jiu-jitsu skills a little more, especially when chasing a very good high-level grappler who is a bigger guy,” Sterling, who at 5 feet, 7 inches is 15cms shorter than his opponent, told Khaleej Times.

Sterling on a 23-4 win-loss record acknowledged that Hooper, a black belt holder in jiu-jitsu, will be a tough challenger.

“I’ve got to go in there and be prepared to weather the storm a bit. But then, when I push the pace, hopefully, I can gas him out and get him to break,” said Sterling, the American MMA fighter, who at the age of 34 is 10 years older than Hooper.

Meanwhile, Hooper, the 6 feet, 1-inch tall lightweight division American fighter, is hoping to get the job done with his southpaw.

“I’m excited to go against someone like Aljamain, a high-level guy. I’ve been watching his fights, and he’s been watching mine. I grew up doing jiu-jitsu. So, I’ve been competing in all of that for a long time now. I’m looking forward to it. I like the rules set. I’m excited to see how it plays out,” Hooper, on a 13-3-1 win-loss-draw UFC record, noted.

The co-main event, a jiu-jitsu middleweight bout, will see current Abu Dhabi World Pro champion Bruno Lima from Portugal take on his 2020 European Open final nemesis Manuel Ribamar.

Lima is eager to perform and noted: “I may not be the most famous guy, but in the end, my jiu-jitsu always proves itself, and I can’t wait to prove it once again.”

Ribamar underlined: “I am confident and fully prepared to fight. Jiu-jitsu skills remain the most important factor, and I look forward to showcasing my special style and skills in defence and attack.”

ADXC going to Brazil

Meanwhile, Mohammed Jassim Al Hosani, member of the organising committee and the official matchmaker for ADXC, revealed plans to expand the tournament’s reach with the launch of the third edition in Brazil on March 2.

“As the global capital of jiu-jitsu and grappling, Abu Dhabi is dedicated to providing unparalleled support for this sport and organising exceptional events that embody the spirit of sportsmanship and mutual respect,” said Al Hosani.

The championship has been organised by International Vision Sports Management (IVSM). The prelims card starts from 8pm. Tickets can be bought at https://tickets.virginmegastore.me/ae.

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