Stephen Loman's debut in ONE Championship couldn’t have gone any better as he knocked out Yusup Saadulaev in the first round of their bantamweight fight.
He now wants to add another KO as he takes on former top-five contender Shoko Sato at ONE Championship’s 10-year anniversary show, ONE X, on March 26 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
A victory for the ONE Championship newcomer could propel him to a potential showdown with ONE bantamweight world champion John Lineker.
The no.3-ranked bantamweight said he expects to put on a similar and even identical performance to the one he showed against Saadulaev when he takes on the Japanese veteran in just his second bout for the promotion.
Loman, in a virtual press conference, said:
“Even if this fight was given to us on short notice, I’m still focused and I want to win in an impressive way. I want to get into my range and I will look for a knockout because I was motivated by my first fight when I won by KO. I just have to focus and for for a KO.”
He also added :
“If I have a chance for a takedown, coach [Mark Sangiao] told me that I shouldn’t hesitate and we also saw that Sato is very good in the ground so that’s what we have to look out for because he’s good at Jiu Jitsu. We know his strengths so we’re looking out for that.”
'The Sniper' (14-2) was already a bantamweight champion for BRAVE CF before he signed with ONE Championship and it was Saadulaev who got a taste of the power of the Team Lakay fighter.
Loman landed a crippling overhand left that shook the cobwebs out of the Russian’s head at 4:09 into the first round of their fight.
While the Filipino is riding a nine-fight winning streak stretching back to 2016, Sato’s form is as dangerous as it gets with the Japanese fighter having won seven of his last eight. His latest victory coming via TKO when he stopped Yasuhiro Kawamura in 2021.
Loman wants Bibiano Fernandes if he gets the chance
The 30-year-old from the Philippines initially expected his next fight in ONE Championship to be against no.2 contender Kwon Won Il, but a fight against Sato, who was already in the top five before, was a welcome challenge.
Loman, though, admitted that if he doesn’t get a title shot, then he’s more than happy to face former champion Bibiano Fernandes when the opportunity arises.
“Yes I’d like to fight him because he’s the longest-reigning champion. I’m game with that because it’s an opportunity to see where I’m at right now and I’m sure that I’ll take so many lessons from it,” said Loman.
“I’m happy that I was added to the 10-year anniversary show and hopefully they’ll give me a title fight in the future, but for now I’ll do my best in my fight against Sato. Maybe after that, I can ask them for a shot.”