Mark “Tyson” Fairtex Abelardo has earned a combined four wins between his time in the ONE Championship Circle and on Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series – and the New Zealand native has his high-pressure striking acumen to thank.
But on Friday, 31 July, “Tyson” looks to add some high-pressure grappling to his strategy to overcome ONE newcomer Fabrício “Wonder Boy” Andrade at ONE: NO SURRENDER in Bangkok, Thailand.
He realized he was lacking in the grappling department after falling short to American wrestling standout Troy "Pretty Boy" Worthen in February, but it sounds like Abelardo is all the wiser because of the temporary setback.
“You can’t win them all,” the 28-year-old said. “You just got to get better, prove yourself, and put on a better performance in the next fight – and that’s what I am about to do.
“Troy was very good. His game plan was to utilize his wrestling well, and that’s something I look to improve. I don’t want to be put on the fence like I was in that fight.
“I want to be the one doing that, and [against Andrade], I want to be the one putting on more pressure and looking to finish as usual.”
Abelardo knows how to apply the pressure. After all, his aggressive striking stopped Daichi Takenaka in round three at ONE: CLASH OF LEGENDS in 2019. Then again, he outstruck Ayideng “A.J.” Jumayi en route to a unanimous decision win at ONE: DAWN OF VALOR in the same year.
However, his strategy will be a bit different this time around. “Tyson” will rely on both his striking and his grappling to topple Andrade.
“I’ll be looking to mix it all up, both standing and on the ground. I want to pressure him everywhere and just look to break him,” Abelardo said.
“I want to utilize a lot of my wrestling, take him down when the opportunity comes, just wear him out, and look for the finish from there.”
Although Abelardo has to be wary of the Brazilian’s stand-up skills, he promises to focus only on what is necessary to power him to victory in Thailand’s capital city.
“He’s a high-level striker, but I don’t think he’s on my level, overall. It’s mixed martial arts, so I’m going to be looking to mix it up, whether it’s standing or on the ground,” he continued.
“I want to look for a finish like I always do. I want to wear him down, put some pressure on him, and look to finish him in the second, or if not, the third round.”
If the New Zealander can successfully incorporate a solid ground game into his repertoire, he may very well find himself as a legitimate threat in ONE's already stacked bantamweight division.
But he will have to get past “Wonder Boy” first, and by the sounds of it, Abelardo is more than confident that he will get his hand raised next Friday.
“I wish him all the best and for him to keep safe during training camp,” Abelardo said. “Because when the fight comes, I am going to bring it, so I hope he’s ready.”
ONE Championship returns to live action for the first time in nearly five months with ONE: NO SURRENDER, a closed-door, audience-free card set for Friday, 31 July, in Bangkok, Thailand.
Catch the event live and for free by downloading the ONE Super App.
Published 31 Jul 2020, 13:30 IST