THE MATRIX FIGHT NIGHT 8 event turned out to be one of the greatest occasions in the history of the promotion with a stacked fight card delivering with every bout.
Headlined by a Featherweight bout between Abdul Azim Badakhshi (aka The Afghan Lion) and Fabricio Oliveira from Brazil, the event saw a high crowd turnout in New Delhi which included dozens of fans from Afghanistan who vocally backed the two of their fellow nationals who were competing to decisive victories.
You can catch the entire card on MFN's official youtube channel...
The evening began with Chungreng Koren and Aman Saini putting on a banger to kick things off. The first round was a highly competitive back and forth but in the second round Chungren Koren finished Aman with some heavy ground and pound folliwing a takedown.
The second fight was another close affair with Sagar Thapa and Tanish Gupta playing out three hard rounds. The judges delivered a split decision in favour of Sagar, calling it 28-29, 30-27 and 30-27.
The next fight was a rematch between Bonjovi and Musa Raish at Flyweight. Musa, who had won the first encounter between the two, continued to display dominance in their second encounter. The first two rounds were close but in the third, Musa secured the finish.
Then, at Featherweight, Rahul Thapa got an early knockdown over Kushal Vyas which the latter survived. But Rahul kept up the pressure, finally getting Kushal down and raining hammerfists on him. Kushal covered up, blocking the shots with his arms, but there were enough unanswered strikes to force the referee to step in and stop the fight.
Then, Shyamanand, who was called out repeatedly on social media by Krishna Heer, won the grudge match in commanding fashion. Following a slugfest where both fighters were swinging hard from close range, Shyamandand took Krishna down and forced a finish with heavy ground-and-pound. Both fighters were left bloody from the exchange, but it was Shyamandand who walked away with the first round victory.
Two big names in Indian MMA, Angad Bisht and Chaitanya Gavali, faced off at Bantamweight next. Chaitanya started the fight off with consistent pressure and effective striking, gaining the upper hand in most of the first round. But in the second, Angad turned things around with one big punch that dropped his opponent. He took Chaitanya's back and sank in a rear naked choke, forcing the tap.
Up next, the first Afghan fighter of the card Zahor Shah knocked out his opponent Srikant Sekhar in the very first round, claiming a quick victory and improving his pro MMA record to 2-0. Some Afghan fans overjoyed by his victory jumped into the cage to celebrate with him, forcing the organizers to request the crowd in attendance not to enter the technical area again.
But the cheer in the crowd continued as Sanjeet Budhwar and Dhruv Chaudhary delivered a memorable action-packed co-main event. Although Dhruv started well, Sanjeet came out swinging in the second round, hurting Dhruv early then finishing him.
The final battle, a main event between Afghanistan's Abdul Azim Badakhshi and Brazilian fighter Fabricio Oliveira, produced a highly competitive three rounds. Abdul was the better striker, using his superior reach to pick Fabricio apart. But despite taking heavy punishment, Fabricio did not give up and kept trying to force his own grappling-heavy strategy to turn things around. The bout went the distance with the judges awarding Abdul with a unanimous decision victory (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
The skills showcased in MFN 8 appear to show off a newfound depth of talent in Indian MMA that is a good sign for the future. With the great fan response to a deep card, Matrix Fight Nights have matured a lot as an MMA promotion and look set to solidify themselves in the sport with a belt system and regular events.