Primal Fighting Championship kicked off their inaugural mixed martial arts (MMA) event at Paradise Beach Club last Friday (March 24) to much fanfare as fighters from around the world, including the Middle East, Latin America, Russia, the US, the Philippines, and more gracing the cage with a litany of bone-crunching hits all throughout the night.
Phuket's reputation as a fight capital is not lost on the organisers of the event, that's why they heavily showcased local fighters who train out of several of the world-class gyms on the island.
"Phuket is the mecca and that is a huge reason why we're here," said Primal FC co-founder and former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) contender Mike Swick. Watch entire event here.
"That's why we have fighters from each gym, to showcase what Phuket has to offer. Phuket is the mecca for sure, it's going to keep growing, it's going to keep getting bigger and I want to be a part of it, I want to showcase this culture and this environment and the fighters that come through here."
Set against the backdrop of Paradise Beach, with the sound of drums flowing along the cadence of every fight, and hundreds of fans enjoying the party atmosphere, it's no wonder organisers are optimistic.
With 11 fights on the card, all of which were available live on MikeSwick.com, there were sure to be a few fireworks.
The co-main event stole the show with a three-round light heavyweight battle between Russia's Shamil Akhmedov (AKA Thailand) against Muay Thai fighter-turned-MMA competitor Rafael Xavier of Brazil (Tiger Muay Thai). While Akhmedov walked away with a unanimous decision win in a brutal contest that saw light rain pepper the cage, it was Xavier who won the hearts of everyone, successfully proposing to his girlfriend immediately after.
The main event saw MMA veteran Sarah D'Alelio knock out Nong Kim of Chockchai Muay Thai in Chalong, a bout that was at catchweight.
Other bouts on the card included Adam Antolin's first round submission win over Irfan Khan while Zalimkhan Yusupov (AKA Thailand) took a submission victory over Sergio Rodriguez (Tiger Muay Thai) in the last second of round two.
Following in footsteps of other MMA promotions that started in Phuket, namely Full Metal Dojo which has since moved to Bangkok and held over a dozen shows, Swick's looking to build off of the success of Primal FC 1: Dark Moon Rising.
"We're going to be very optimistic and we're going to go a lot bigger. We rushed this show in two months. Usually that's the span between shows that are organized [and established], so we went from nothing to a show in two months. We're going to go a lot bigger next time. I don't want to spoil anything but we got some big plans," he said.
Even veteran referee Olivier Coste, who leads officiating crews in most of the major MMA promotions in Asia, was left impressed with the event.
"I've been in Thailand for 13 years now, and I'm really happy to see MMA growing in the right way here," Coste says.
For full results, click here.