Eko Roni Saputra eager to share circle with India’s Top Flyweight
- With only three appearances in the ONE Circle, Saputra knows just how daring the task will be.
- Although experience levels between the two men differ, the Indonesian is eager to compete outside of his comfort zone.
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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