SFL Challengers Champions

Sep 24, 2012, 09:02 IST | The Hitlist Team

Olympic medallist Mary Kom made the finale even more special

After nearly two months of bone-crunching action and hard work on part of everyone associated to the show, the day of the season finale of SFL Challengers finally arrived. It had been a physically and mentally draining journey for each of the four finalists, yet each one of them were driven by the fact that they were just moments away from fulfilling their lifelong dream of becoming a professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter.

SFL Challengers Champions
Raj Kundra, Supreet Bedi (host) and Mary Kom crown Manjit Kolekar as the winner of the girls final

Gurleen Kaur was up against Manjit Kolekar for the girls final whereas Isaac Kario was to battle it out against Andrew Canday in the boys final. To make the occasion even more special the special guest for the finals was the inspirational Olympic medallist Mary Kom who joined chairman Raj Kundra on the sidelines along with the trainers and the fighter’s family members.

There was also a slight change in the fight format up to now all fights were of three rounds of two minutes each as they were amateur fights. However the finals were classified as professional fights and sanctioned by the Association of Mixed Martial Arts India (AMMAI) to be of two rounds of five minutes each with the possibility of a third round if it was a draw after the second round.

SFL Challengers Champions
Isaac Kario (red trunks) battling Andrew Canday (blue trunks) in the men’s final

First up was the female bout between Gurleen and Manjit, both having reached the final by convincingly winning both their fights and were highly regarded by the trainers. The first round began and Manjit found instant success as she landed a strong left hook that dropped Gurleen to the ground, this came as a wakeup call for Gurleen who managed to shake it off and started trading punches with Manjit and even manages a takedown.

Manjit however successfully managed to counter all of Gurleen’s attack and landed several scoring knees and punches till the end of the round coming out on top after round one. The second round started with both fighters resorting to a cautious approach waiting for the other to make a move, after waiting for over a minute the referee warned both of them to start fighting.

SFL Challengers Champions
Raj Kundra hands the SFL Challengers belt to Isaac Kario

The referee’s warning resulted in both Manjit and Gurleen throwing caution to the wind and trading a barrage of kicks and punches till Gurleen managed to take Manjit to the ground, but Manjit with her strength turned Gurleen, ended up on top and started administering vicious ground and pound which resulted to be too much for Gurleen in the end.

In the last minute of the second round Manjit had the opportunity to knock out Gurleen but chose not to in respect of their friendship, holding off Gurleen till the buzzer which signalled the end of round two. It came as no surprise that the judges signalled that they had come to a decision and unanimous declared Manjit the first winner of SFL Challengers.

The final bout of the series, the men’s fight had extreme drama with the original fight scheduled to be between Isaac and Sandeep who had defeated Andrew in the semi finals via a decision. But as fate would have it Sandeep had to leave the show owing to his personal situation giving Andrew another chance to fight it out with Isaac to be crowned the winner of season one of SFL Challengers.

The first round started with both fighters quickly resorting to pushing up each other against the cage neutralising each other’s striking. The rest of the round flowed in a set pattern with Isaac slamming Andrew to the ground but Andrew coming up on top on the ground exhibiting his superior grappling abilities, in the end Isaac finally managed to lock in a heel hook strongly but Andrew was saved by the buzzer which ended the round.

Round two started with Isaac continuing his momentum from the end of round one and asserting himself on the ground where the fight was fought for most of the round dominating completely on his brute strength till the end of the round winning the round and the fight via unanimous decision and earning the right to be called SFL Challengers Champion and earning a multiple fight contract with SFL.

After the first successful season of India’s first action reality show, SFL has left fight lovers in India asking for more and they have something new lined up.
To watch all SFL fights log on to http://www.youtube.com/user/SFL

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