To the more casual of eyes, Singapore may seem like an oddity in this list. But one can’t talk about the world of martial arts — mixed or traditional — without bringing up this island city-state. Singapore is an area where anyone can learn just about any kind of style from judo to karate, from Muay Thai to jiu-jitsu. Singapore is the home to Evolve MMA, who have seen various fighters come through its door and (current or formerly include) Roger Gracie, Ben Askren, Rafael dos Anjos and Shinya Aoki.
Evolve MMA’s founder is Chatri Sityodtong, often considered one of the most powerful men in Asian MMA and the chairman and CEO of ONE Championship — one of the fastest-growing MMA promotions in the world and FanSided’s Promotion of the Year for 2018. It should come as no surprise then that ONE’s headquarters are based right in Singapore. A number of ONE’s events have been held in Singapore, both before and since ONE’s schedule expanded to at least one event per month about four years ago. This included the very first ONE event, ONE Fighting Championship: Champion vs. Champion, considered one of the biggest events in Asian MMA history.
Some of ONE’s most recent events in Singapore include ONE Championship: Heart of a Lion, which featured the second bout in the bantamweight title rivalry between Kevin Belingon and Bibiano Fernandes; ONE Championship: Call to Greatness, which saw Stamp Fairtex defeat Janet Todd to become the inaugural ONE Muay Thai women’s atomweight champion; and the recent ONE: Enter the Dragon, which saw Christian Lee defeat Aoki for the lightweight championship and Cosmo Alexandre’s 32-second knockout of Sage Northcutt.
The UFC has also held three Fight Night events in Singapore — a January 2014 card that saw Tarec Saffiedine defeat Hyun Gyu Lim, a June 2017 card that saw Holly Holm knock out Bethe Correia and a June 2018 card that saw Leon Edwards upset Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.