FFC goes beyond Croatia’s borders for the first time ever – a spectacle in Slovenia in less than three weeks!
After a truly spectacular event in Arena Zagreb, which has received nothing but praise among the public, the FFC is back in action before anyone expected. Already on November 15, the strongest regional martial arts promotion goes beyond the borders of Croatia to hold an event in the capital of Slovenia.
For the first time in the promotion's history, an FFC event will be divided into two thematically completely separate parts. The first will be fully dedicated to kickboxing fights (6), and the other is to be comprised solely of MMA bouts (6). The main event in Ljubljana's Tivoli venue will be former UFC heavyweight and The Ultimate Fighter semifinalist James "Sledgehammer" McSweeney against Austrian fighter Stefan Traunmuller. The Croatian viewers had a chance to see him at the FFC event in Porec, when he defeated Ivan Vitasovic with plenty of style, while the Englishman needs no special introduction. Slovenian martial arts fans watched him in a kickboxing fight against Marin Dosen a couple of years ago in Ljubljana.
The MMA section of the event features a number of interesting and reputable names of the Slovenian martial sports. Lemmy "The Dog" Krusic will stand opposite of Montenegrin fighter Vaso "Psychopath" Bakocevic. Both fighters enjoy huge reputations, and it will be interesting to see this Slovenian-Montenegrin clash, as well as Krusic making his FFC debut on the back of some good performances and an impressive score.
Back in action after last week's spectacular knockout against Dusan Dzakic in Zagreb is Primoz Vrbinc. It remains to be seen who will be matched up with this talented fighter, who dealt with Dzakic in Arena Zagreb very efficiently, first landing an upkick and then finishing with some brutal soccer kicks. There is no doubt that after such a convincing display Vrbinc will attract a lot of interest among Slovenian fans who will be looking to carry him toward another triumph.
Tivoli will also see the return of its favorite contender and former WFC champion who lived his best days as a professional fighting in that venue. Ivica "Terror" Truscek will confront dangerous Italian Leonardo Zecchi in Ljubljana. Zecchi also has the experience of fighting for the WFC, but the Croatian fighter will still go into this bout as the favorite. "Terror" achieved a quick and very effective win via a knockout against Austrian Gojko Vukovic, so it won't be too much trouble for him going into the ring after only three weeks of rest. The Italian won his last two fights by stoppages, which should make for a good and interesting 73 kg catchweight.
The MMA bouts in Ljubljana will include another Italian fighter. Mattia Schiavolin is still undefeated as a professional (6-0), but there is no doubt that Josip "Arti" Artukovic will be his biggest test yet. Those better acquainted with the regional martial arts scene have wondered when will Artukovic make his debut in the FFC as he is one of the best 84 kg fighters around. He should be the favorite on paper against the undefeated Italian, but he needs to show his qualities in the Final Fight ring as well.
So far it is still unknown who will face Slovenian heavyweight Rok Kokotec even though his fight has been announced as the first MMA bout of FFC 09.
No less competitive and compelling will be the kickboxing half of the event in Tivoli, headlined by one of Slovenia's best stand-up masters Mirko Vorkapic and former It's Showtime champ Chris Ngimbi. The Congolese has fought some of the biggest names of the sport, such as Petrosyan, Van Roosmalen, Direkci, Souwer and Kyshenko. Vorkapic needs no special introduction either, as he is a former intercontinental WBC champion and European K-1 qualifying tournament winner. He has racked up an impressive score of 48 wins as a pro, some of them against truly big names, and he deservedly headlines the kickboxing part of the event.
As an introduction to this bout, the crowd will be able to savor what is perhaps an even more attractive matchup between Slovenian "Rocky" Miran Fabjan and Moroccan striker Ibrahim El Bouni. Fabjan will be especially motivated after his controversial defeat at FFC 08 against Stevan Zivkovic, in a match unanimously declared by the fans as the fight of the night. But, he won't have an easy time in Tivoli. El Bouni has already made a name for himself in the FFC with an excellent performance against Milanovic and a knockout against Emkic. In the meantime, he's had a run of several other triumphs, which reaffirms his indisputable quality. This will be an 82 kg catchweight bout.
The above mentioned Stevan Zivkovic is another fighter back into the fray immediately following his win over Fabjan. The Serb thrilled both the crowd and pundits in Zagreb, raising the bar very high for himself already in his FFC debut. This is an under 77 kg fight, which suits both fighters. With another win, Zivkovic would draw even more limelight to his qualities, which shone through already in Arena Zagreb.
Devotees of the sport will look forward to Samo Petje vs Mario Katic. This is a rematch of a fight that happened just over a year ago and was won by the Croatian striker. Five counts in total and a stoppage in the first fight warrant an incredible combat experience in this fight as well. Given that the kickboxing section will comprise six fights (12 in total), another matchup is expected to be revealed in the coming days.
Tickets for FFC09 in Ljubljana are on sale already from Thursday, October 31 via the Eventim system.
FFC09: McSweeney vs. Traunmuller
November 15, Tivoli Arena, Ljubljana
James McScweeney (ENG) vs. Stefan Traunmuller (AUT), HW
Lemmy Krusic (SLO) vs. Vaso Bakocevic (CG), -66 kg
Primoz Vrbinc (SLO) vs. TBA, -77kg
Ivica Truscek (CRO) vs. Leonardo Zecchi (ITA), -73kg
Rok Kokotec (SLO) vs. TBA, HW
Josip Artukovic (BiH) vs. Mattia Schiavolin (ITA), -84kg
Mirko Vorkapic (SLO) vs. Chris Ngimbi (KON), -71kg
Miran Fabjan (SLO) vs. Ibrahim El Bouni (MAR), -82kg
Grega Smole (SLO) vs. Stevan Zivkovic (SER), -77kg
Ivan Stanic (CRO) vs. TBA, -91kg
Samo Petje (SLO) vs. Mario Katic (CRO), -71kg
TBA vs. TBA