Eko Roni Saputra may be a fresh face to ONE Championship, but the Indonesian newcomer is eager to showcase his immense talent in his mixed martial arts debut on 12 April.
The 27-year-old Indonesian Freestyle Wrestling Champion will professionally strap on four-ounce gloves for the very first time at ONE: ROOTS OF HONOR in Manila, Philippines, where he is slated to square off with Singapore’s Niko Soe
Although he is yet to establish his footing in the sport, Saputra is taking the greatest risk in his maiden trip to the ONE Championship cage as he has an opportunity to establish himself as one of the top prospects under the promotion’s banner.
“I am super excited to visit the Philippines and put on a show. I have no pressure on me because I really worked hard to be to have this kind of opportunity,” he said.
“It is going to be a wild night.”
An arduous assignment awaits Saputra as Soe aims to make up for lost time when he returns to action from a nearly three-year hiatus.
With a professional record of 3-1, Soe is known as a fierce martial artist with the ability to thwart opponents in a variety of methods.
Moreover, the Singaporean standout has won his last two outings by way of first-round submission, including a scintillating armbar finish of Muhamad Haidar in his November 2016 promotional debut at ONE: DEFENDING HONOR.
Soe may be entering the three-round flyweight encounter as the more experienced and the heavily-favored competitor between the two, but Saputra is confident in his chances of having his hand raised in triumph on 12 April.
“To the common eye, it may be a mismatch on paper due to records and experience in the sport. But I am confident in my skills,” he stated.
“Anything can happen, and I have the skills to finish him.”
Known for his dynamic style and explosive takedowns in the amateur ranks, Saputra is one of Indonesia’s greatest wrestling champions in history, copping prestigious medals in various multinational tournaments such as the Southeast Asian Games.
Saputra believes that great risks result to great rewards as a decisive win over Soe could instantly catapult him near the upper echelon of the talent-filled flyweight division.
“ONE Championship is home to a number of great athletes, and I cannot wait to share the cage with them because I seek greatness as well,” he expressed.
With a gritty opposition in front of him, Saputra stressed that he is motivated to put his weight class on notice.
“It’s my debut in ONE, so I think it’s important to create a good impression with a convincing victory,” he declared.
“I want to win in dominant fashion and give performances that anyone can enjoy watching.”