Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon continued his marvelous transition from grappling to mixed martial arts on Friday, 27 July.
Four months following his successful debut, the American grappling superstar entered the ONE Championship cage for his second professional contest.
The 26-year-old New Yorker squared off against Rahul “The Kerala Krusher” Raju at ONE: REIGN OF KINGS, from the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
Tonon — a five-time EBI Grappling Champion — was dominant in the lightweight tilt, and earned a late submission victory.
The early portions of this bout unfurled on the feet, where a comfortable-looking Tonon landed some nice kicks, but also absorbed a big right hand.
Before long, however, the American utilized his grappling expertise, and landed an expertly-timed double-leg takedown.
With the contest glued to the mat, “The Lion Killer” moved into position for a leg lock — his signature attack. Remarkably, however, Raju was able to squirm out of danger and return to his feet.
As the opening frame neared its conclusion, the American landed another takedown, and this time, unleashed a storm of ground strikes. Showing incredible tenacity, Raju survived until the bell.
Round two was a little slower than the first, but no less impressive for Tonon.
Early on, “The Lion Killer” began to loosen up on the feet, and uncorked a number of creative kicks and some nice punches.
After ducking under a lightning-quick high kick, Tonon completed his first takedown of the round. Unfortunately for him, Raju was once again able to return to the feet, where he managed to avoid any real danger for the remainder of the stanza.
In round three, the American grappling sensation adjusted his strategy, evidently keen to win by stoppage rather than by the judges’ decision. He wasted no time, and quickly completed a beautiful double-leg takedown.
From there, he climbed into full mount, where he began attacking the Indian’s arm with an omoplata attempt — perhaps sensing that his foe was adequately prepared to defend against his famous leg-locks.
“The Kerala Krusher” managed to wriggle out of danger and return to an upright position, but it would not stay there for long.
Tonon soon dove in for another takedown. Having failed to lock up Raju’s arms and legs, he finally opted to attack from his adversary’s back, and quickly applied a face-crank. “The Lion Killer” repositioned his arms to lock up a rear-naked choke, and forced the Indian to tap at the 3:27 mark.
Now 2-0 in his mixed martial arts career, Tonon showed he is continuing to evolve both his striking and grappling for the cage.