Indonesia’s Eko Roni Saputra wants to pin his name to the top of flyweight division in ONE Championship, but to accomplish that, he has to get through a plethora of world-class warriors.
With only three appearances in the ONE Circle, Saputra knows just how daring the task will be.
“I know I am new in ONE,” Saputra said, “and there are many challenges I have to overcome first. Flyweight is the division of hell.”
The Evolve MMA representative is familiar with the opponents he could find himself standing across from once the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. One name, however, comes to the top of his mind – India’s Gurdarshan “Saint Lion” Mangat.
The Indian hero owns one of the most impressive records in the flyweight division; he has won 15 of his 18 bouts in his 10-year mixed martial arts journey. And 10 of those wins have come by submission or knockout.
“Before they were postponed, I was told to prepare for the Jakarta and Singapore events, and I predicted I’d be matched against Mangat,” he said.
“He is strong, but I feel challenged to face a stronger opponent.”
Although experience levels between the two men differ, the Indonesian is eager to compete outside of his comfort zone.
“For me, I am ready to fight anyone. Thank God I have begun to understand mixed martial arts techniques,” the 29-year-old continued.
Saputra has exhibited his unique skills on three occasions in The Home Of Martial Arts, finishing two of his opponents in the first round.
After a rocky debut, the Indonesian talent earned a 19-second win over Kaji Ebin at ONE: DAWN OF VALOR in October 2019.
At ONE: WARRIOR’S CODE in February this year, the multiple-time Indonesian National Wrestling Champion extended his win streak with a rear-naked choke victory over Cambodia’s Khon Sichan.
Knowing Mangat presents a different challenge, Saputra has analyzed the Indian’s biggest strengths according to his last three matches in ONE, and he expects the potential showdown to be a collision of skills.
“Mangat is a striker who loves to throw punches and kicks,” Saputra said. “It will be a classic fight between a grappler and a striker.”
“He beat Abro Fernandes, and his knees looked dangerous against Toni Tauru.”
Saputra might hold “Saint Lion” in high regards, but he believes he could earn a standout victory against the Battlefield Fight League Featherweight Champion.
“I think we’ll trade punches a lot. It’s inevitable because the match starts in a stand-up position. I need to exchange strikes before aiming for takedowns,” he said.
“I can’t predict the outcome – all fights are unpredictable – but think I can get a positive result.”
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