With just a week’s notice, Goa’s favourite mixed martial arts (MMA) champion Nelson Paes recently stamped his authority in the Catch Weight Division with a power knockout against Russian Pavel Kurskin at the Kumite 1 League in Mumbai.
With legendary former World Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson watching from the sidelines, Paes – proudly representing India – put on a spectacular show of skills and strength on September 29, 2018 at the inaugural edition of the tournament. World renowned UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) referee Dan Miragliotta brought the fight to a close after the knockout.
The Kumite 1 League pitted the best fighting talent in India against international stars from the UAE in a nail-biting tournament that combines combat sports and martial arts. With barely two days to spare, Paes was informed that his opponent was the mighty Kurskin and decided to switch strategies for a better chance at defeating him. Additionally, the Russian weighed 3 kgs more than Paes, putting the latter at a disadvantage.
The Dome @ NSCI, Worli in Mumbai erupted with cheers when Paes delivered the winning knockout punch. After the fight, he said, “After my two defeats in Abu Dhabi and Mumbai, I am delighted to get this knockout victory for my country. I took the fight on a week’s notice, following which two of my opponents backed out. But I had tremendous faith in my training and ability. I am now looking forward to my next fight in December. I thank my friends and family, and all my fans for their continued support and admiration.”
In addition to professional fighting, Paes is the co-founder and head trainer at Strikers MMA Club in Calangute, Goa, which has been making huge waves in the MMA scene in India for the past two years. Paes believes his purpose is to continue inspiring the youth, and the best way to do this is through his MMA club where fitness and personal training sessions are available daily.
He added, “I train day in and day out. I know my future is bright! But I will always remain a humble student of this art.” His recent international win only proves that his versatility, skill level and determination remain an inspiration for youngsters in India.