Ilya Freymanov says Martin Nguyen’s pride as champion ‘did not allow him to accept’ he was losing

Ilya Freymanov (L) put on a masterclass against Martin Nguyen (R). | Photo by ONE Championship
Ilya Freymanov (L) put on a masterclass against Martin Nguyen (R). | Photo by ONE Championship

Third-ranked ONE featherweight contender Ilya Freymanov has nothing but respect for former two-division world champion Martin Nguyen.

The Russian powerhouse was well aware of what the ‘Situ-Asian’ was capable of before they came to blows at ONE on Prime Video 2: Xiong vs Lee III this past weekend.

The promotional newcomer, though, entered this fight with supreme confidence in his abilities as well and was undeterred by his opponent’s impressive resume.

The end result justified Freymanov’s credence, as he knocked out ‘Situ-Asian’ in the 3:33 mark of round one.

After trading punches with Ilya Freymanov in the early goings of the round, Nguyen uncharacteristically shot for an early takedown attempt. The Vietnamese-Australian fighter felt the wrath of the Kuznya Fight Club standout early and decided he wanted no part of it.

In an exclusive interview with ONE Championship, Ilya Freymanov said that he got Nguyen’s number right away after that exchange.

“I said in an interview earlier that Martin would try to slow me down. When he got in front of me, he was unable to move close enough to get the distance he needed, missing some strong kicks and jabs. He rushed in with a takedown. After I defended the takedown, Martin realized that things were getting bad for him, and it was obvious. However, his experience and champion’s spirit did not allow him to accept the fact that he was losing.”

The 26-year-old knockout artist detailed how he managed to put the tough Nguyen away with such relative ease:

“Martin began to work with his strong arm, but a couple of low kicks finally stopped him and I parried his next pass without too much effort. I threw in a knee, a couple of low kicks, a fake, and I saw his plan.”

Ilya Freymanov wants to add more featherweights to his list of victims

Beating a big name like Nguyen in such a destructive manner has put Freymanov’s name on the map.

The Russian slugger, who has nine wins by KO, says he’s only just beginning:

“Martin is definitely at the top of my list of wins in MMA, but this is just the beginning of my journey. And I'll add more names to my list of victories.”

After taking away Nguyen’s spot in the 155-pound rankings, there are plenty of intriguing match-ups for Freymanov to go around. A clash against second-ranked Kim Jae Woong seems imminent. A win against him would solidify Ilya Freymanov’s case for a shot at featherweight kingpin Tang Kai.

Moreover, Freymanov revealed what makes him a handful for anyone in the division. He said:

“My advantage is a lot of fighting, I have been fighting all my life and most importantly, I love it, and I love sparring. Not everyone loves sparring as much as I do.”

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Edited by Micah Curtis
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