Joey Ray (10-3), who fights out of Phuket's Tiger Muay Thai and MMA Training Camp, will headline the event against highly regarded striker, and former Muay Thai King's Cup winner, Ole “Iron Fist” Laursen.
Ray is a Strikeforce veteran who is best known for knocking out noted Brazilian grappler Zorobabel Moreira in just 14 seconds with a quick two-punch combination.
Both men are experienced strikers that have strong roots in Thailand, with Ray having participated in several Muay Thai fights and tournaments. Laursen, meanwhile, owns Legacy Gym in Ubon Ratchatani and has lived in the country for many years.
“Honestly I'm not real big on talking when it comes to fights but I am pretty big on predictions,” Ray said in a video for the event, before adding that he will win the fight either by submission or knock out.
In a video response, Laursen fired back by saying: “What people like to watch is me hurting people with my fist.
“Joe, I wish you good luck because I'm bringing my two best friends, left and right.”
Also on the card are Russian fighters and Phuket Top Team representatives Rasul “Nostrovia!” Mirzaev (6-0) and Murad “The Strangler” Machaev (12-1).
This is only Mirzaev's second fight after being released from a Russian prison last year.
The undefeated Russian was convicted of manslaughter and served a one year sentence after an altercation outside of a nightclub in 2011, which resulted in the death of a 19-year-old man.
Mirzaev is a highly-regarded fighter who was signed to top-tier American promoter Bellator before the incident.
Machaev is currently riding a three-fight win streak and is noted for having won two lightweight tournaments in Russia. More than half of the Bellator veteran's wins have come from submission, a testament to his background as a master in combat sambo.
All three men will participate in Dare's million-dollar tournament series.
The event, dubbed “Rebels of MMA”, will be the first professional MMA event in Thailand to have approval from the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT).
Early last year, government officials declared a “ban” on all MMA events in the country, erroneously citing a 1999 boxing law, and calling the sport too “brutal” for Thailand.
By then, Dare had thrown together four successful events in Bangkok and were negotiating international television deals.
Now, with government-approval and broadcasting agreements with Seven Star Entertainment in China, NBC Sports in the US, and local stations in Thailand, the promoter is pulling out all of the stops to make 2013's first event a success.
Interestingly, several Dare Fight Sports alums have gone on to fight in Asia's biggest promotion, ONE Fighting Championship, including Arnaud Lepont, Wiktor Svensson, and Thai phenom Shannon Wiratchai – all of them also prepared for their bouts in Phuket at Tiger Muay Thai.
Tickets for the event, sponsored by Class Act Media, are available at darefightsports.com/tickets and range from B2,000 to B3,500.