Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Renato “Babalu” Sobral will meet K-1 veteran Melvin Manhoef in the main event of One FC 3 on March 31 in Singapore, promoters announced Tuesday in a press conference.
Sobral inked an exclusive deal a month ago with One FC after missing the entire 2011 due to a shoulder injury and time off for his family. Sobral was last seen in action in a first-round KO loss to Dan Henderson at Strikeforce in St. Louis in December 2010.
Manhoef, who has lost his last three MMA fights in the first round, fought over the weekend in a losing effort
under kickboxing rules against Tyrone Spong at “It’s Showtime” in Amsterdam.
Also announced for One FC’s first partnership event with DREAM is a co-main event with leglock expert Masakazu Imanari taking on undefeated Filipino prospect Kevin Belingon.
Imanari competed six times in 2011, five of which as part of the two DREAM bantamweight tournaments. Imanari fell short in the Japan tournament final against Hideo Tokoro by decision. On New Year’s Eve, Imanari lost in the world tournament semifinals to Antonio Banuelos by split decision. Belingon is a 24-year-old who made his name fighting for the URCC and Legend FC promotion, in the Philippines and Hong Kong, respectively.
Singapore’s first professional female MMA fighter Nicole Chua will also compete at One FC 3 at
the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
During the press conference, One FC announced its intention to make Singapore the Asian headquarters for MMA. One FC recently announced a 10-year deal with ESPN STAR and on Tuesday added 17 more gyms to its One FC network of fight camps.