AKO Show: What We Learned at Exciting Face-Off Fight Night 2

AKO Show face off fight night 2

AKO Show’s Face-Off Fight Night 2 exceeded expectations and delivered an exciting slate of fights.

If AKO Show had a provision for Fight of the Night, Daniel Emeka and Cherif Drame would get the bonus. Daniel dominated all three rounds but Drame showed a lot of heart by hanging in there till the final buzzer. The event also had dominant performances by Segun Ogunnoiki, Cornell Thompson, and Michael Ikenna.

The event, powered by UFC welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, was broadcast live on Instagram, Youtube, and DSTV. The sponsors, according to the official website, are Legend Extra Stout, Climax Energy Drink, Bet9ja, and Aiico Insurance.

If you missed Face-Off Fight Night 2, you can catch up on the event below:

Here are the top takeaways from an action-packed night at Eko Hotel, Lagos.

MMA Will Grow In Nigeria With High-Level Production Like Ako Show’s Face-Off Fight Night 2

One of the key highlights of Face-Off Fight Night 2 was the excellent production. Everything from the lights to the sound, and the fighting cage was beautifully-done. The audience had a hawk-eye view of the cage and the big screen showed them stats and highlights that they could have missed.

Viewers from home were able to watch the events live on DSTV. The sound and video quality were of the same level as UFC-sponsored events. High-level production like this can only do one thing: improve the love for MMA in the country. This is a sentiment echoed by the “Nigerian Nightmare”. In an interview with journalists after the event, he said the sport will become a tourist attraction. He said, “This is going to be bigger than football. We will be having people from various countries come to watch the event. It will affect tourism, it is already changing lives. These fighters will be paid for all their efforts. This is an opportunity for them to showcase their talents.

Talented Fighters From Other Backgrounds Will Switch To MMA

With the growth of MMA as a sport in Nigeria, fighters from other backgrounds will want to test themselves in it. Either for gain or glory. We have seen it happen on the global stage. Holly Holm was a successful boxer who transitioned into MMA. She was the first (and only) fighter to hold both boxing and MMA world belts.

I spoke to one of the attendees who is currently a kickboxer, who expressed interest in making the switch. According to him, he has already begun training to improve his ground game so he can be more well-rounded.

Segun Ogunnoiki Is A Crowd Favorite

Segun Ogunnoiki, the winner of the co-main event is a crowd favorite and a future huge star. This was obvious from his walkout as the crowd cheered loudly for him. His fight had crowd reactions that reminded you of a WWE event. The crowd cheered every time Machine Gun Shegs landed a punch and booed when Ayiba Mawuko returned fire. Segun mixed his striking and wrestling skills en route to a dominant performance that improves his record to 4 – 1 – 0.

Highlights from Segun’s second round TKO win over Ayiba

One of the loudest moments of the fight was when the crowd called off the co-main event after a vicious ground-and-pound by Segun on Ayiba Mawuko. There was a standing ovation that reached a crescendo when he celebrated on the cage. Segun expressed his delight with his performance with journalists after his victory. He said, “I am excited about my performance but my opponent was just like every other opponent I have faced. They would try but they would all fall.”

Daniel Emeka and Cherif Drame Was The Fight Of The Night

Everything about the main event was a classic. Daniel’s walkout song had the crowd singing along to a DJ-edited version of Big Shaq’s Man’s Not Hot. The crowd reacted loudly to the introductions and fell silent as the fighters touched gloves to signify the start of the fight. They had a tentative start with more fighters measuring the distance with jabs and leg kicks. The first round came to life around 2 minutes into the fight as both fighters traded heavy blows.

The action slowed a little towards the end of the round as Daniel controlled Cherif against the cage. He chased and secured a takedown to win himself the round. The second round had a faster pace as both fighters traded strikes in the center of the cage. Daniel showed a more rounded game as he took Cherif down again and dominated till the end of the round.

The third round started with the same grueling pace as Big Shark smelled blood in the waters. He launched a barrage of strikes on Drame against the cage. He mixed the strikes perfectly. He combined headshots with body shots as he looked to end the fight but Drame hung in there and even landed shots of his own. When the final horn sounded, both fighters received a standing ovation from the audience.

More Sponsors Will Emerge For The Promotion

Nigerian brands like getting associated with success and a well-run event like Face-Off Fight Night 2 will get more suitors soon. It didn’t matter what part of the auditorium you were in, courteous ushers welcomed you with a smile. As the night got longer, they served guests food and drinks provided by sponsors. There was Amstel Malt, Climax Energy Drink, and Legend for the fight watchers.

A sponsor boom is also something Kamaru envisions during his post-fight interview. He told reporters that now was the time for other companies to jump on board before the promotion builds even more momentum. In his words, “It takes time to be able to build to a place where everyone would be able to see what we are doing. For companies that haven’t really understood what we are doing yet and haven’t got on board, you better get on board before the price gets too big later.”

Undefeated Streaks Continue

All three undefeated fighters on the card kept their 0 intact. Michael Ikenna, Chi Baby Face Attoh, and Melvin Nicotine Ugochukwu remained undefeated. Michael overcame adversity in the early rounds before securing a third-round TKO win over Igwe Nani China. Chi Baby Face, a purple belt in jiu-jitsu, used her ground game to cover the gaps in her striking against Jane Nwigwe. She came close to securing a submission win several times in the fight. In the end, the judges scored the split decision (29-28, 28 – 29, 28-29) win for Chi.

Nicotine also kept his undefeated streak alive in a 3-round war against Richard Muzaan. Both fighters acknowledged the amazing show they gave the fans as they bowed to one another in a show of respect. Nicotine is now on a two-fight win streak and will ride a lot of momentum into his next heavyweight appearance. With the loss, Muzaan’s losing streak extends to two having lost to Richard Onoja at Face-Off Fight Night 1 in January.

The Promotion Will Provide Opportunities For The Youth

As mentioned earlier, more fighters will sign up with the AKO Show. But this is not just going to be limited to fighters in other sports. The promotion will provide opportunities for young people to earn a living as professional fighters. They will see that they can replicate Usman and Israel Adesanya’s achievements on the big stage. In time, the promotion will be able to have deep divisions and even have a ranking system like the UFC rankings.

This is a topic Usman also spoke about in his post-fight conference. He said, “I have thought about it over and over on how I can help. How can I go back and create opportunities for children like myself? This is the best way to do that. I was able to run into my amazing partners who had a similar vision as well, and this vision is to create opportunities to be able to get all those kids like myself to change their lives or their families’ lives”.

Face-Off Fight Night 2 was a successful event and many Nigerians are looking forward to the next edition. For more updates on Face-Off Fight Night and other MMA news, don’t hesitate to subscribe.

About Ojabowale Afolabi

Ojabowale Afolabi is a content marketing strategist at a leading logistics firm. When I am not creating marketing strategies, I contribute to MMA Planet's Casual corner. If you have any questions about MMA, don't hesitate to reach out on learning(@)mmaplanet.com.ng.

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