The Kyrgyz hero had to weather an early storm against Yushin “Thunder” Okami at ONE: FOR HONOR in Jakarta, Indonesia on 3 May, but he put a stamp on the contest a little more than a minute after the restart.
A big right hand changed the entire complexion of the match in an instant, and the 25-year-old did not hesitate to close the show with ground and pound with 70 seconds on the clock in round two.
It was Abbasov’s second spectacular stoppage in a row in The Home Of Martial Arts, his third win in a row, and the 21st win of his professional career.
All that means he believes no one else deserves a shot at the belt more than him, as he explains to ONE Championship.
ONE Championship: What was your game plan, and did you get a chance to implement it?
Kiamrian Abbasov: I planned to put pressure on my opponent, make him move a lot, and tire him out quickly. We wanted him to throw more punches so I could catch him with counter strikes, but things didn’t go according to plan at first.
When he got me in the clinch, I felt his strength, and I understood that he had a great range of skills because of his experience. Luckily, my coach gave me good advice to move more, to try and catch Yushin with my rear hand when he throws punches.
My coach noticed he leans forward a lot. If you watch the video, you can hear my corner screaming, ‘Let him throw a punch, let him lean onto your punch.’
ONE: So the decisive blow was all part of the plan?
KA: We prepared for many scenarios, and this was one of them.
I’d practiced it over and over again – meet him with punches and attack him with my rear hand.
ONE: What were your emotions when you won?
KA: I felt very happy and somewhat relieved. Many things didn’t go according to plan during this fight camp.
I knew that Yushin would be one of the toughest opponents for me to date and one of the most experienced, yet I had the worst preparation ever.
When my hand was raised in the cage, I was really happy.
ONE: Do you think you should earn a shot at the World Title with this win?
KA: I am the only real candidate for the next title shot. I defeated ONE star Agilan Thani, and I beat international mixed martial arts star Yushin Okami.
I had a very close fight with Luis Santos, and I lost to him on points, but let’s not forget that fight happened at the very start of my career in ONE and I have improved since then. Without any doubt, I am the biggest threat to Zebaztian Kadestam now.
Do you think there is any other contender that could jump ahead of you?
KA: I can’t see any reason. ONE doesn’t have any arguments to not give me a World Title shot.
I have nothing else to prove in my division – I am the number one contender.
What are your plans now, after the victory?
KA: It’s great that the fight is out of the way because I can observe the holy month of Ramadan.
I plan to fast, pray, and spend time with my family.