Kiamrian Abbasov was aiming to make an instant impact in his ONE Championship debut, but his grand premiere was spoiled by a former welterweight world title challenger.
On Friday, 9 March, Brazil’s Luis “Sapo” Santos defeated the Kyrgyz competitor at ONE: VISIONS OF VICTORY, which broadcast live from the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In the opening stanza, “Sapo” fired off the hard kicks he is renowned for, landing on the arms and legs of Abbasov, who was rightly wary of his opponent’s power.
The Kyrgyz athlete had a strict game plan and stuck to it — moving away from Santos’ power in order stay safe, while running down the gas tank of the Brazilian. Abbasov was not able to land much of his own offense until late in the stanza, catching a Santos kick for a takedown, and then attacking with strikes.
Abbasov was patient in the face of the Santos kicks once again in round two, circling away from the powerful left side of the southpaw. However, his output was still left wanting, presumably in his desire for a late rally should “Sapo” tire himself out. Other than a spinning back kick, he was not able to land much, and Santos edged away with a late takedown.
It seems like the third and final round was what Abbasov’s strategy was geared towards, so now was his opportunity to make the most of it. He tried to, jumping in with a knee, but in the ensuing clinch, the Brazilian used his judo skills to trip his man to the mat. Santos dictated the pace of the round from top position, once again securing his dominance with a deft sweep takedown after Abbasov fought hard to stand back up.
Abbasov had worked diligently on a route to victory against Santos, but he did not account for the experienced warrior’s ability to adapt to any situation. In the end, Santos looked comfortable, and in control, and he captures yet another win to elevate his record to an impressive 64-10-1 (1 NC).
The Kyrgyz newcomer gets his 10-bout win streak snapped. He falls to 18-4 with the defeat, but showed he has the skills to stick in there with the division’s elite, and will likely be a prominent fixture moving forward.