Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jul 6:
Odisha’s first professional cage fighter Shrikant stole the show as the state’s firs- ever Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competition ‘Yoddha Fighting Championship’ held at Utkal Karate School in the city came to an end yesterday with a day full of fights and wild cheering from the public.
The main attraction at the venue and Odisha’s first professional fighter Shrikant Shekhar drew loud cheers from the crowd when he came inside the ring and identified himself as a son of the soil.
Shrikant has so far competed in four professional fight leagues such as Goa’s Cage Combat Fighting, Kerala’s Swastika Fighting Competition, Mumbai’s SFL and Submission Martial Competition and has won a gold and silver.
“I am training outside Odisha these days and want to take it up as a profession. Local support for the ‘Yoddha Fighting Championship’ has touched me deeply and we will try to organize more matches here,” said the MBA educated fighter speaking to us.
On the second day of the competition yesterday, a match between two professional fighters from Odisha, Pankaj Fighting Club Barbil’s Sachin Mahanta and Utkal Karate School’s Biswadeb Patnaik drew much attention. After a highly competitive match, Biswadeb turned the tables on Sachin to win the match. In another match, Odisha’s Paban Kumar lost a fight from Aditya Sanil after three rounds.
Overall, 29 matches were played in two days with 15 matches being played on Saturday and 14 on Sunday. 56 male and 2 female contestants competed in this series.
While most of the contestants from Odisha in the ‘Yoddha Fighting Championship’ were new to the concept and couldn’t score many wins, their fierce determination left a lasting impression among enthusiasts.
Also, amateur MMA fighter Satyajit Bahubalendra’s win on Day-1 and subsequent nomination to the main competition in Mumbai has also been a moment to savor.