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Indian Fighters Punyajit Likharu and Sumit Kumar get UFC Academy Scholarships

LockerRoom Team
26 March 2024

Indian MMA fighters Punyajit Likharu and Sumit Kumar make history as they secure full scholarships to the prestigious UFC Academy, marking the first time athletes from India have been included in the esteemed program.

The announcement came following the conclusion of the fifth UFC Academy Combine, a rigorous talent evaluation event held at the UFC Performance Institute in Shanghai, China, on March 21-22. The combine serves as an invite-only platform where top MMA prospects from the region showcase their technical skills and physical prowess.

A total of 28 athletes were selected for the full scholarship, with Likharu and Kumar standing out among the impressive lineup of contenders. They underwent testing on 72 individual metrics across 12 categories, covering aspects such as wrestling, grappling, striking, explosive power, strength, reaction time, and aerobic capacity.

Likharu, competing in the bantamweight category, caught the attention of UFC scouts with his impressive performance, earning him a coveted spot at the UFC Academy. Similarly, Kumar, competing in the flyweight category, showcased his skills and dedication, securing his place among the selected athletes.

The UFC Academy Combine also saw outstanding performances from Chinese athletes such as Ahejiang Ailinuer and Hailai Wusamo, who topped the overall scores in the men's and women's groups, respectively.

ALSO READ | Four Indian MMA Fighters featured in fifth UFC Academy Combine

With Likharu and Kumar's inclusion, the UFC Academy continues to expand its reach and support promising fighters from emerging MMA markets like India.

In the men's group, the athlete with the highest overall score was Ahejiang Ailinuer (featherweight, China). In the women's group, the athlete with the highest overall score was Hailai Wusamo (women's strawweight, China).

The following is the final list of selected athletes who will receive a full scholarship to attend the UFC Academy at the UFC PI Shanghai, in alphabetical order:

  • Agulali (flyweight, China)
  • Ahejiang Ailinuer (featherweight, China)
  • Aili Mulatebieke (lightweight, China)
  • Aziz Khaydarov (lightweight, Tajikistan)
  • Baergeng Jieleyisi (bantamweight, China)
  • Daermisi Zhawupasi (bantamweight, China)
  • Degaxue (bantamweight, China)
  • Dong Huaxiang (women's strawweight, China)
  • Gexi Pengchu (bantamweight, China)
  • Hailai Wusamo (women's strawweight, China)
  • Huang Yuele (featherweight, China)
  • Ji Niushiyue (flyweight, China)
  • Kalinu (featherweight, China)
  • Lizicongwu (flyweight, China)
  • Punyajit Likharu (bantamweight, India)
  • Regezhen (featherweight, China)
  • Sim Kai Xiong (flyweight, Singapore)
  • Sulang Rangbo (bantamweight, China)
  • Sumit Kumar (flyweight, India)
  • Ti Haitao (bantamweight, China)
  • Tilihabuli Walibieke (lightweight, China)
  • Wan Fayang (featherweight, China)
  • Wang Cong (women's flyweight, China)
  • Xiao Long (bantamweight, China)
  • Xie Bin (featherweight, China)
  • Yan Qihui (women's flyweight, China)
  • Zeqiuduoji (featherweight, China)
  • Zhu Kangjie (featherweight, China)

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