Two-time ADCC World Champion and two-time IBJJF no gi World Champion Yuri Simoes has just had his first professional MMA fight booked after signing with ONE FC. While it’s not often that a fighter makes his professional debut at the age of 30, one of the best grapplers on the planet will likely be able to overcome the disadvantage of being later in his career. He’ll make his debut at Middleweight gainst experienced MMA fighter Fan Rong at ONE FC: Inside The Matrix 3 in Kallang, Singapore on Friday, November 13th, 2020.
Simoes’ opponent, Fan Rong, comes into the fight with a respectable 13-2 record with his first loss coming in his very first professional MMA fight back in 2016, and his second being in his debut for ONE FC. At his debut for the promotion, he fought the recently crowned ONE FC Middleweight World Champion and undefeated Dutchman Reinier de Ridder and was submitted in the first round. Rong bounced back and finished 2019 off with a victory but hasn’t competed in over a year since then.
It’s surprising that Simoes is taking on such an experienced fighter in his promotional debut and it’ll be incredibly interesting to see how he fares against someone who’s been competing as long as Rong has. This approach could signal that Simoes is being fast-tracked to title-contention and may end up fighting de Ridder himself relatively soon if things go his way. ONE FC’s other elite grappler, Garry Tonon, didn’t start fighting competitors with this much experience until he was already four wins deep into his career and is already on the verge of the title shot as he approaches his sixth, so Simoes may be moving even faster than that.
The full event, including the debut of Yuri Simoes will be streamed live on the ONE FC YouTube Channel, click here to watch.