The 2018 season of Super Fight League is coming to a close this weekend. The league had its fair share of ups and downs during the past two months and all of this had been building up to this particular moment.
The champions of the season will be decided through a showdown between UP Nawabs and Delhi Heroes this Saturday night and before we tune into the fight night, here is a look at some facts and stats that are worth knowing.
Second time in a row for Delhi Heroes
This will be the second straight Super Fight League finals for Delhi Heroes. The team had managed to reach the finals in 2017 as well but unfortunately lost out. They were stopped by a resilient Sher-E-Punjab team in a close encounter. While Delhi managed to be consistent this year around as well, Sher-E-Punjab crashed out in the group stage itself and in turn, opened the doors for crowning a new champion.
The knockout kings of both teams
UP Nawabs has a highlight reel knockout artist in the form of Sumeet Khade. The featherweight star, who had a forgettable season last time around, bounced back strongly this time with two back to back KO victories. Both of Sumeet’s KO wins went on to be viral on the internet and the fans will be expecting something similar from him in the finals.
As for Delhi, Abdul Badakhshi has been doing a similar job. His flying knee KO in the semi-finals against Bengaluru Tigers was a treat to watch. Just like the case with Sumeet, Badakhshi is yet to taste defeat this season in the league. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to see these two fighters lock horn as they fight in different weight categories.
The injured captains
Both the teams will be heading into the finals without their captains. Jason Ramesh Solomon was ruled out of the season after suffering a leg injury. Jason only fought once this season but his presence on the cage side has been a huge boost for the whole team.
Gurdarshan Mangat, on the other hand, dominated every opponent that came to him. In an exclusive interview with the MMA India Show just a day before the finals, Mangat revealed that he had to sit out of the finals as he is dealing with a leg injury of his own. Jason and Mangat might not step into the cage on Saturday but expect them to be cage side for the teams.
The last showdown
The last encounter between UP Nawabs and Delhi Heroes happened in the group stage. It was UP that came out on top with a final score of 18-9. They managed to win four out of six fights on the night when Jason Ramesh Solomon and Abdul Badakhshi secured wins for Delhi Heroes. Trent Girdham, Angad Bisht, Kiran Singh, and Javed Mulla were the fighters that got the job done for UP.
The teams and potential line-up:
Losing Gurdarshan Mangat in the bantamweight division is a big blow for UP Nawabs as he was undefeated throughout the season. Trent Girdham is the most likely replacement for Mangat. Trent has one win to his name in the season so far.
For Delhi, Sanjeet Budwhar is the favorite to step into the cage at Bantamweight. Sanjeet is coming off a huge upset win over Dhruv Chaudhary in the Semi-finals and he would be riding high on confidence. Pushpender is another option that Delhi has in the weight category.
Sumeet Khade, as mentioned earlier, will bring his KO brilliance for UP in the Featherweight division. UP has a strong backup in the form of Angad Bisht as well. Swapnil Barve and the controversial Vikas Dahiya are the Featherweight options for Delhi.
In the Women’s Flyweight category, Kiran Singh is the first and only choice that UP Nawabs currently has at the moment. For Delhi, they can either go with Saroj or Jennifer. Choosing Jennifer will be a logical decision considering how impressive she has been over the season.
Abdul Azim Badakhshi is a no-brainer choice for Delhi in the Lightweight division as for UP Nawabs, David Moon and Rajith Baria are the options. Moon is coming off a war against Farhad in the semi-finals and pushing him to the final would be suicidal. Interestingly, Nawabs has also brought in Jacky Gahlot and his weight category might have an impact on the whole line-up.
Pawan Maan Singh or Abdul Sami could feature for UP in the Welterweight category. The absence of Jason Ramesh Solomon would put Delhi in an awkward situation and the replacement could be Suraj Bahadur.
Lastly, in the Light Heavyweight division, Jason Radcliffe and Javed Mulla are the options for Nawabs. Radcliffe is expected to get a nod ahead of Mulla despite his loss in the last fight. As for Delhi, Marcos and Malkeet Singh are the potential fighters that could fight in the Light Heavyweight division.
The Super Fight League showdowns have been hard to predict throughout the season and the final will be no different. The last-minute changes and injuries could decide the winner and this has been the case with a lot of fights that happened in 2018.
But if a pick has to be made for the sake of a prediction, it’s safe to place the bet on UP Nawabs. They have a strong chance of getting the wins in a majority of the weight classes and are clearly the favorites to become the 2018 Super Fight League champions.
Who are you picking? Let us know in the comments