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Chinese pioneer predicts slow growth

By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)

08:55, November 15, 2012

China's first ultimate fighter doesn't expect his sport to hit the mainstream at home any time soon.

"It's not enough just with tonight's fights," Zhang Tiequan said after losing to Jon Tuck during the UFC's nine-fight Macao debut on Saturday.

"It still needs a couple of years, three to five, to gain more exposure and acceptance for MMA to develop in China. Whatever, the Macao event is still a giant step and gives a push for its rise."

The 34-year-old Zhang, who is 2-4 since joining the UFC in 2010, saw an opportunity with more than 8,000 home fans cheering him in the Cotai Arena of the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel. UFC is usually staged in the United States.

But he failed to showcase his quick, ferocious style, conceding punches while grappling on the mat, and lost a three-round decision.

Zhang, who mixes sanshou, wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, said he felt no additional pressure fighting at home.

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