“Cannon” Ma Jia Wen displayed his world-class talent with an impressive victory over Ahmed “The Wolverine” Mujtaba at ONE: VISIONS OF VICTORY on Friday, 9 March, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Ma, who trains out of China’s Tianjin Top Team, was supremely confident heading into the bout, where he promised a first-round knockout over his Pakistani adversary. But the Chinese star had to weather a tricky opening round before eventually overpowering his opponent en route to a second-round submission victory in their 72.3kg catch weight bout.
Many expected Mujtaba to stand and strike with Ma, a national freestyle wrestling silver medalist. But he sprung a shock early when he surprised Ma with a quickfire takedown, as he established top position and looked to wear down the 21-year-old.
When the bout returned to the feet with 90 seconds remaining in the round, it was Mujtaba who looked the more fatigued of the two, and the momentum of the contest swung dramatically in Ma’s favor.
Sensing his opponent was slowing, Ma pushed the pace, and looked to land his heavy-handed strikes. A huge right hand dropped the Pakistani star, who went into survival mode to make it to the end of the opening round.
Mujtaba looked significantly gassed out heading into the second frame, and an early takedown attempt from “Wolverine” was easily shrugged off by the Tianjin Top Team product. Ma established top position and looked to soften up the Pakistani athlete with strikes, all while hunting for a bout-ending submission.
Eventually, the submission came, as Ma flattened out Mujtaba and locked in a rear-naked choke to force the tap in the second-round.
Ma’s victory takes his career to 5-2, as he looks to make inroads towards world title contention in the ONE featherweight division. And, if he can continue showing the composure and patience he exhibited in Kuala Lumpur, he could soon find himself facing the division’s best in the months ahead.