China’s MMA sensation Chen Lei

farahazharie@nst.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: Saiful Merican is looking for redemption and he wants a rematch against Chinese mixed martial arts (MMA) sensation Chen Lei.

“I plan to get back in the cage hopefully when One Championship comes back to Kuala Lumpur in March (next year),” he said,

“Chen Lei is the one who I will be looking for when I am ready.”

Nicknamed The Vampire, Saiful was battered and bruised the last time he took on Chen in Macau back in August.

The bantamweight bout saw Saiful survive two of three rounds of One’s Kings and Conquerors.

In the fight, the Malaysian broke his left hand and dislocated his right elbow, making way for Chen to collect his sixth-straight triumph via an armbar.

Chen, 28, is due to face Filipino Burn Soriano in the bantamweight category of One’s Hero’s Dream on Nov 3 in Yangon. And Saiful believes the undefeated Chen will emerge as the winner.

“Having fought both of them before, Chen is an aggressive fighter compared to Burn and I believe the win will go to him.

“I wish both the fighters the best of luck and I can’t wait to get back in the cage, specifically against Chen.”

For Saiful, who hails from Terengganu, recovery has been going smoothly than expected and he has taken the much needed time to spend time with his family.

But the Vampire foresees a busy 2018 as he hopes to set up his own haunt.

“Next year, I will be focusing on my gym business and possibly expanding it internationally.

“I will also be concentrating on my ground game for next year.”

Saiful, 28, has one fight left in his contract with the franchise and he hopes it will be renewed as he is not done just yet.

“I hope I will be able to re-contract with One (Championship) and continue competing for the next few years.”

Despite his injuries, the eldest of nine siblings is slowly getting back into training at his Merican Muay Thai Gym in Kuala Lumpur as he promises to get back into the cage, stronger.

“Recovery has been going much better and quicker than expected. I would like to thank One (Championship) for taking really good care of me throughout my surgery and physio.”

“Once my doctor clears me to compete, The Vampire will return.”

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