Martin ‘The Situ-Asian’ Nguyen blows away Marat ‘Cobra’ Gafurov to earn sweet revenge at One Championship
Vietnamese-Australian sets his sights on Bibiano ‘The Flash’ Fernandes next after a devastating overhand ends contest against Russian for the world featherweight title in Kuala Lumpur
Revenge for Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen was delivered by the sweetest of overhand rights late on Friday night as the Vietnamese-Australian lay Russian Marat “Cobra” Gafurov to the canvas, and then walked away with the One Championship world featherweight title.
The 28-year-old quickly let everyone gathered inside Kuala Lumpur’s Stadium Negara know he thought his first world title belt was only just the beginning.
Next up, Nguyen was heard declaring, will be a shot at One’s main attraction – world bantamweight champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes of Brazil.
“I just want to dedicate this fight, not only to Malaysia for being so welcoming and having such a beautiful country. This is for my dad. He was my inspiration for the whole camp when I mentally broke,” Nguyen said afterwards. “[He and] the boys kept me together. I’ve got a deadly overhand right, but it’s not my only weapon. Thank you to Marat [Gafurov] for giving me the opportunity.”
Back in 2015, Gafurov had handed Nguyen the only loss of his career so far, laying on a rear naked choke that ended their clash in Jakarta with just 41 seconds gone on the clock. There’s been no doubt that result has been a sticking point for Nguyen ever since, and he managed to escape the Russian’s early clutches before bringing his right-hand hammer down with 1.27 gone in the second.
A few follow-ups as the Russian struggled to find his bearings, and the referee called the night over.
It was a first loss for Gafurov (15-1) while Nguyen moved his record to 9-1 and the Sydney-based fighter has now sets his sights on a monster. The 37-year-old Fernandes (21-3) successfully defended his title in Macau earlier this month with a first-round stoppage (rear-naked choke) of American Andrew Leone (8-3) that once again showed why many around MMA consider him among the best in his division – globally.
There were plenty of thrills for the locals earlier on the 10-fight card when Malaysian hero Agilan “The Alligator” Thani (8-1) bounced back from the first loss of his career – in a title fight against One welterweight champ Ben Askren (16-0) back in May – by dominating Egypt’s Sharif Mohamed (8-4) over three rounds for a unanimous decision.
New Zealand-based Malaysian star Ev “E.T.” Ting (14-4) also delighted the crowd with a devastating display against former One welterweight champion, Nobutatsu Suzuki (11-3), winning by TKO in the first.
And while we’re still pondering the notion of revenge, look to the results on the preliminary bouts where Singapore-based Christian Lee stretched his record to 7-1 with a third-round stoppage (armbar) of the Philippines’ Keanu Subba (5-3).
The fight was a belter and the only blemish on the 19-year-old Lee’s record so far was recorded by none other than Nguyen in Macau back in August last year, thanks to a guillotine choke in the first.
A rematch is another possibility on the cards for One’s match-makers.