In Jakarta, Indonesia on 3 May, ONE Championship will deliver its latest martial arts showcase. The headline bout will see Sam-A Gaiyanghadao defend his ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Title against Jonathan Haggerty in the main event.
However, before the legendary Sam-A takes the ONE stage, Japanese icon Yushin Okami will make his ONE Championship debut. His first opponent with the promotion will be the tough 25-year-old from Kyrgyzstan, Kiamrian Abbasov in the co-main event.
Let’s take a closer look at this mixed martial arts match.
Abbasov’s Last Bout
Okami hasn’t drawn a soft touch in his first ONE Championship match. Abbasov is coming off of an impressive first-round submission win over the highly-touted Agilan Thani in his last bout back in December 2018. Thani never really got a chance to get started in this one.
Abbasov was all over him from the beginning as he quickly asserted his dominance before securing the choke to force the submission. Abbasov looked to be on his way to a title shot after this win, but a victory over Okami would almost certainly put him in line to challenge for the gold.
Okami’s Last Bout
Things didn’t go as planned for Okami in his last match. He dropped a unanimous decision to Alexey Kunchenko in December 2018, but with a 35-12 professional record, Okami still has a resume that speaks volumes. The 37-year-old would like nothing more than to get back on the winning track against Abbasov.
What Abbasov Does Best
While Abbasov has more wins via KO/TKO than he does submissions in his career, make no mistake about it, he’s at his best when he’s grappling. Some well-rounded strikers and grappling aces like to work for submissions. Abbasov proved in his last match that it’s part of his repertoire too. However, he’s one who likes to gain an advantageous position so that he can punish his opponents with strikes. On a number of occasions, Abbasov has used this approach to secure victories.
What Okami Does Best
Takedowns and wrestling are Okami’s best attributes as a martial artist. Like Abbasov, he’s more comfortable going for a stoppage via strikes from top position. 14 of his wins have come by KO/TKO. That said, it has been three years since he secured a victory via strikes.
We’ll soon find out if that is still part of Okami’s game.
Abbasov’s Biggest Weakness
In the past, Abbasov has gotten caught in his own web on the ground. Three of his four losses are by submission, but each came early in his career. Abbasov hasn’t lost by submission since August 2015, and he’s only dropped one match overall since that setback.
Remember, in 2015, Abbasov was still just 21 years old and not yet the martial artist he has become. It’s quite possible he has cleaned up the previous issues he had in the area of submission defense. Okami is not the kind of opponent you want to face if there is a hole in the ground game.
Okami’s Biggest Weakness
Easily, a lack of head movement and general stiffness in stand-up have been Okami’s biggest flaws. While he’s as tough as they come, he has been stopped five times by strikes in his career. Okami is willing to take shots to put himself in a position to secure the takedown.
Sometimes this approach only leads to him taking more damage and ultimately being stopped. If he is to avoid that fate against Abbasov, he’ll need to get the takedown quickly or make a conscious effort to be more mobile than he usually is in the ring.
What Abbasov Must Do to Win
To win, Abbasov needs to keep the match standing. He should have an edge in striking. If the match does go to the ground, he cannot afford to stay on the bottom for long. Okami has heavy top pressure and he can make life miserable for Abbasov if he’s not careful.
A fast start wouldn’t be a bad idea fro Abbasov. He may be able to overwhelm Okami with early activity, but it is a risk while the powerful 37-year-old is freshest, and when he’s dry and more in a position to go for a submission.
What Okami Must Do to Win
Okami cannot win this bout with stand-up, at least not initially. If he’s able to wear Abbasov down with top pressure, he might be able to drain his gas tank making him vulnerable later in the match.
However, a much more practical approach would be to get the match to the ground, staying heavy, while also punishing Abbasov with elbows, knees, and punches. This is a match that it appears Abbasov has an advantage in, but there is a path to victory for Okami. Which martial artist will be able to dictate the identity of the match?
We’ll find out in Jakarta.