FOX Sports Asia gets one-half of the SPW Southeast Asian Tag Team Champions, The Eurasian Dragon to play UFC talent scout and pick up five Asian pro wrestlers who will excel in the sport of MMA.
This past Sunday morning, my buddies at Singapore Pro Wrestling (SPW) and I watched with heavy hearts as wrestling legend CM Punk slumped to his second loss in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career following his defeat to Mike Jackson at UFC 225.
One should not fault Punk for trying; after all, this is a man who is a celebrated ex-WWE champion AND a writer for Marvel Comics. However, much like Brock Lesnar’s unfortunate stint in the NFL, perhaps CM Punk, for whatever reasons, was not prepared for the UFC.
However, there are others who might fare better in the world of professional MMA.
After wrestling across Asia for the past three years, I have managed to identify- with my discerning eye for talent- five potential Asian pro wrestlers who are ready to take the MMA scene by storm!
Aiden Rex, current SPW Singapore Champion
– Singapore Wrestling National Open & Trials 2018: 1st (Gold)
– Singapore Wrestling National Open & Trials 2018: Most Outstanding Male Wrestler
– Team Takedown Tournament 2016: 1st (Gold)
– Singaore Wrestling National Open & Trials 2016: 3rd (Bronze)
– Team Takedown Tournament 2015: 3rd (Bronze)
– Singapore Wrestling National Open & Trials 2015: 2nd (Silver)
The eyes of the wrestling world will fall upon Aiden Rex as he takes on WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne and Co. alongside Trexxus and The Statement in the main event of SPW Triple Thrill 3: SPW vs WORLD.
Rex’s technical expertise and submission knowledge are the two main factors as to why he is the top pro wrestler in the national division today. For the people who know Rex well, it comes as no surprise, given his form in the amateur wrestling scene in Singapore for the past three years.
Some men were born to wrestle, and after facing him twice (in Nepal’s Ring Wrestling and locally), I can vouch that this lad is the undisputed Mr Wrestling of Singapore.
Malkeet Brawler, current Wrestle Square India/Kingdom Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Champion
Pro MMA record: 0-1
– 2017 Nationals: Gold
– 2016 Nationals: Bronze
– Mud Wrestler
The hard-hitting Champion from India, Malkeet Singh, grew up with wrestling.
Falling in love with WWE programming as a kid watching with his grandpa, Malkeet picked up the cultural sport of Mud Wrestling from the age of six. Over the last three decades, he has participated in regular competitions – supplementing his income with the shared prize money.
Three years ago, Malkeet made a seamless transition into amateur MMA – ranking third in the nationals after only a year of training. The following year, he finished first, which expedited his professional status.
A natural Welterweight, Malkeet is punching above his weight by fighting as a Light Heavyweight. However, he assures me that he will walk out the winner in his next professional bout scheduled in two weeks’ time.
Danger Rex Lawin, undefeated in Manila Wrestling Federation
Amateur MMA record: 4-0
Amateur Muay Thai record: 1-1
– two-time National Kickboxing Silver Medalist
– Jeet Kune Do Assistant Instructor
When I wrestled in Manila in April, there was one man on the show that seemed to strike terror into the hearts of all the other wrestlers as well as fans.
Appropriately christened “Danger”, nobody in the Philippines has as many TKO or submission wins in their matches as Rex Lawin. Perhaps he does not enjoy losing very much, because his amateur MMA record has him at ZERO losses.
Definitely a future champion who will dominate pro wrestling or MMA for years to come. Or maybe, even both!
Bitman, former Hong Kong Wrestling Federation Junior Heavyweight Champion
Shoot Boxing record: 1-0
Chun Yin, better known to Hong Kong and China wrestling fans as Bitman, spent a year preparing for his debut Shoot Boxing match.
For six days a week, the Bitman would camp in various gyms, training on a variety of fighting styles. Two days were dedicated to kickboxing, two days for grappling and another day for amateur wrestling. And this is all on top of his regular pro wrestling training!
His perseverance did finally pay off – he bested his Shoot Boxing opponent via an unanimous decision. He also annoyingly held a 2-0 win-loss record over me in wrestling tag matches in 2016, but that was overturned in early 2017 when Black Arrow and I finally took down the dreadlocked machine.
Shaukat, three-time Malaysia Pro Wrestling World to Regional Champion
Pro MMA record: 4-1
Pro Muay Thai record: 28-4-1(draw)
Before establishing the Malaysian wrestling scene, Shaukat was already a tough-as-nails sportsman.
Growing up as a fan of wrestling, he naturally gravitated towards combat sports and was fighting amateur Muay Thai bouts at 18. As a stuntman, he added Kali, Wrestling and Brazilian Ju-Jitsu to his already impressive repertoire that included Karate and Aikido. Shaukat laments crooked refereeing for the only draw on his Muay Thai record, which was heartbreakingly his retirement match.
During college, Shaukat occasionally participated in unsanctioned Boran (bare fist) fights to get by with the prize money; something he shared that he isn’t particularly proud of. However, he does recognise that it helped form him into the tough man he is today.