Sports

Jovial ataides turns serious at weigh-in

“I’ve been waiting so long and training so hard for this fight and now it’s less than 24 hours away. I can’t wait.” - Singapore’s Kirstie Gannaway (above), who will take on Malaysian Adek Omar in the atomweight bout. Singapore’s other representative Amir Khan (top) will face Waqar Umar of Pakistan in the featherweight category

He was jovial and joked about being able to eat whatever he wanted after the weigh-in last night.

But, when Leandro Ataides took the stage at Bugis Junction for the One Fighting Championship Battle of Lions weigh-in, the Brazilian was all business.

The jujitsu black-belt holder will feature in tonight's main event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, a middleweight world championship bout against Kazakhstan's Igor Svirid.

While the fighters for the other nine bouts were jovial and even exchanged handshakes and hugs after their weigh-ins, there was none of those pleasantries between Ataides and Svirid.

They went nose to nose with each other for the photographers, with Svirid being pulled back after the photo call.

Said Ataides, who trains at the Evolve MMA Gym: "This is the greatest fight of my life. I usually train five hours but, for this fight, I trained up to seven hours and trained an extra day a week."

FAVOURITE

He was clearly the favourite, attracting wolf whistles and cat calls from the crowd of 200.

Ataides said: "I have a lot of Brazilian friends here, but I live in Singapore now and the support here is good.

"Now I just want to do my best and get the belt."

The event will kick off with the atomweight bout between Singapore's Kirstie Gannaway and Malaysia's Adek Omar.

After her weigh-in, Gannaway said: "I've been waiting so long and training so hard for this fight and now it's less than 24 hours away. I can't wait."

Her compatriot Amir Khan will take on Pakistan's Waqar Umar in the featherweight category.

Amir, wearing a cowboy hat, said: "I don't feel any added pressure fighting in Singapore.

"In fact, it's better to fight in front of my own friends and family. It will motivate me to win for Singapore."

TONIGHT'S BOUTS

  • Middleweight world championship: Igor Svirid (Kazakhstan) v Leandro Ataides (Brazil)
  • Lightweight: Koji Ando (Japan) v Zorobabel Moreira (Brazil)
  • Welterweight: Bakhtiyar Abbasov (Azerbaijan) v Luis Santos (Brazil); Dwayne Hinds (T&T) v Christophe Vandijck (Belgium); Zuli Silawanto (Indonesia) v Jeff Huang (Taiwan)
  • Middleweight: Tatsuya Mizuno (Japan) v Brayan Rafiq (France)
  • Featherweight: Cary Bullos (Philippines) v Major Overall (United States); Rocky Batolbatol (Philippines) v Martin Nguyen (Australia); Waqar Umar (Pakistan) v Amir Khan (Singapore)
  • Atomweight: Adek Omar (Malaysia) v Kirstie Gannaway (Singapore)