By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
AFTER his supposed Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut in August was scrapped at the last minute for his contraction of the coronavirus, the now-recovered Filipino-American fighter Mark “Mugen” Striegl is set to take the Octagon this weekend.
To face Said Nurmagomedov of Russia on Sunday, Oct. 18, in a bantamweight clash at “UFC Fight Island 6” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Baguio-based Striegl (18-2) makes another go at it as he fulfils his long-time mixed martial arts dream of parading his wares at the UFC.
“It has been a rollercoaster to get here. From Baguio to Manila; to getting out of the country with the cancelled flights and restrictions; to getting to Las Vegas and then getting COVID, which was the last thing I thought was going to happen, to be rebooked; and now here, it has been an adventure. It’s all part of the journey,” said 32-year-old Striegl in the lead-up.
The Filipino-American fighter, who won a gold medal for the Philippines in sambo in last year’s Southeast Asian Games, was supposed to take on Timur Valiev on Aug. 23 until the coronavirus struck him days ahead, forcing him to be scrapped from the scheduled fight.
Now against Mr. Nurmagomedov (13-2), a cousin of UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, Mr. Striegl is expecting a different challenge but underscored his readiness for it.
“I think we’re both explosive fighters. I just feel I match up well against him, and it’s going to be an action-packed fight,” he said.
Mr. Striegl went on to tout their fight as an exciting offering that UFC fans should enjoy.
“I’m an action-packed fighter. I’m never in a boring fight. They can expect high-paced action, a lot of aggression. I’m looking forward to having my hand raised,” he said.
Mr. Striegl, the reigning Universal Reality Combat Championship featherweight champion, had his last MMA fight in April last year at the URCC against Japanese Shunichi Shimizu which was ruled as a no-contest (low blow), leaving him to retain his title.
Mr. Nurmagomedov, for his part, lost to Brazilian Raoni Barcelos in the UFC by unanimous decision last December.
UFC Fight Island is headlined by the featherweight battle between Brian “T-City” Ortega and “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung. Co-headlining are women flyweights Kaitlyn Chookagian and Jessica Andrade.