On Saturday, 12 May, at ONE: GRIT AND GLORY, the fans inside the Jakarta Convention Center were treated to four action-packed preliminary bouts. There were three submission finishes and an incredible striking battle, which set the pace for the rest of the night.
Here is what happened on the preliminary portion of ONE: GRIT AND GLORY.
Topic Puts On A Muay Thai Clinic
Topping the preliminary card was a ONE Super Series Muay Thai contest in the bantamweight division, featuring a pair of promotional debutants in Serbia’s Ognjen Topic and Greek striker Stergos “Greek Dynamite” Mikkios.
A multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion, Topic ultimately showed more finesse and control over the course of three rounds, dictating the rhythm and landing a wider array of strikes to get a unanimous decision nod.
“Greek Dynamite” opened with some hard low kicks, but they were checked, and an array of kick counters came back in his direction, along with solid straight punches and a dominating clinch.
Mikkios was not deterred, and came out swinging for round two, only to be forced back with powerful body kicks from his opponent. Topic again worked well in the clinch, sweeping his foe to the mat several times and landing telling knees to the mid-section. The 28-year-old from Thessaloniki, Greece kept trying to swarm with punches, but was met with punishing straight shots.
With only three minutes left, Mikkios needed something significant if he was to win the bout. Despite his best efforts, he was not able to land cleanly, and instead Topic once again controlled the clinch work with strikes and sweeps.
Topic never looked in trouble. He showed patience and composure under fire to pick up the unanimous decision victory.
Rahman Returns With Swift Submission Victory
After three and a half years away from the cage, Singapore’s Radeem Rahman returned in a high-pressure bantamweight match against “The Demolition Man” Tang De Pan of China, who had been victorious back in December at ONE: WARRIORS OF THE WORLD.
Any question of cage rust was immediately discarded, as Rahman proved his recent competition success in Brazilian jiu-jitsu had set him in good stead for his return. He submitted the Chinese athlete with a rear-naked choke after just 1:19 of the first round.
Tang started well, steamrolling forward with hard punches and kicks, and putting his man on the back foot. However, as soon as the Singaporean could take the contest to the mat, he took over.
It did not take long for Rahman get on his opponent’s back and lock in a rear-naked choke. “The Demolition Man” tried to slam out of it, but ultimately put himself in deeper trouble, and was forced to tap.
Siregar Impresses In ONE Debut
In an all-Indonesian match-up, we saw a real clash of styles between striker and wrestler, as Indonesian national Muay Thai champion Dodi “The Maung” Mardian met Indonesian national wrestling champion Elipitua Siregar in a flyweight contest.
The takedowns were simply too fast and too relentless for the kickboxer to cope with, as Siregar mauled his way to a dominant first-round submission victory.
From the opening bell, “The Maung” looked to implement his striking game with a hard low kick, but it was not long before his Tigershark foe was taking him to the mat. Mardian bravely tried to keep working up from the bottom, but Siregar continued to ground him.
Siregar finally threw on a choke in a scramble, and Mardian opted to fall asleep than tap. The bout was stopped at 3:59 of round one, giving Siregar a successful debut.
Umar Rejuvenated In Strawweight Debut
Bali MMA’s Riski “King Kong” Umar returned to the cage with a point to prove following his first defeat in March. He dropped to strawweight, and desperately wanted to get back to his winning ways.
Doan Birawa was also keen to make an impression in his promotional debut against a fellow Indonesian athlete, however.
While Birawa looked strong in the first stanza, “King Kong” took the reins in the second round with superior striking and conditioning, and picked up a submission victory at 1:22 of round two.
Both men exchanged shots early, but it was crisper and cleaner from Umar, who wanted the bout on the feet.
Birawa, a debutant from Han Fighting Academy, fired back with wild punches, and used his strikes to set up takedowns in an effort to initiate a ground battle. He was nearly successful, as he got Umar’s back late in the round, and looked for a finish. However, he could not quite lock in the submission.
All of the effort he had exerted trying to control his Bali MMA foe in the first round had clearly worn on Birawa, who came out for the second looking weary.
Umar sensed this immediately, and landed hard low kicks that forced a sloppy takedown attempt from his opponent. “King Kong” capitalized on that. He clamped himself on Birawa’s back, and finished with a tight rear-naked choke.
It was an impressive start to Umar’s career as a strawweight, as he picked up a decisive victory over a tough adversary.