Only three years ago, Riski “King Kong” Umar was running a food stall selling fried chicken and sausages in Jakarta, Indonesia. But now, in just a matter of six months, he is making a name for himself as one of the country’s most promising homegrown talents in ONE Championship.
“I did not expect it so soon,” the 25-year-old says. “I thought it would take more time. I just trained, and I got lucky.”
The Bali MMA product opened up the preliminary card of ONE: KINGS OF COURAGE in exciting fashion, as he was able to TKO promotional newcomer Egi Rotzen in a back-and-forth flyweight encounter at the Jakarta Convention Center on Saturday, 20 January.
While Umar won in the final moments of the first round, it was far from easy.
Rotzen, a Regional Boxing Champion based in Jakarta, immediately engaged with “King Kong” and unleashed a nonstop melee of wild punches at his adversary. Some of those hard shots connected, which instantly caught Umar’s attention.
“He went crazy,” Umar recalls. “He punched me in the face, and then I thought, ‘Let’s go to war.’”
Umar responded to the stand-up battle by throwing straight punches and high kicks, one of which temporarily halted the action due to a low blow.
When action resumed, “King Kong” continued to showcase the diversity of his striking, which ultimately proved to make the difference. As Rotzen went headhunting, the Bali MMA product constantly battered him with varied punches, kicks, and clinch knees.
In the end, it was a clinch knee to the midsection that ultimately dropped Rotzen. Umar then jumped into the full mount and delivered a short barrage of unanswered punches, which forced the referee stoppage at the 4:20 mark of the opening round.
While Rotzen possessed formidable striking, his ground game was seen to be his weakness, and though many felt this was an area “King Kong” could exploit, he wanted to make a statement on the feet.
“Egi is a striker, and his guard is not good. I did not really have to think about the ground,” Umar explains.
“People were saying that if I took it to the ground, I would win. But I did not want to do that. I wanted to go slow.”
Umar has impressed in the short amount of time he has been with ONE. The Bali MMA standout improved his record to 2-0, and he has built upon his immaculate debut performance from last September.
While the encounter may have rattled Umar in the opening moments of the contest, it appears to have done little to dent his nerves of steel.
Until he broke into ONE last year, “King Kong” battled in-front of small crowds at local gyms and shopping malls in Southeast Asia. Now he is competing for thousands in packed arenas, and potentially 1.7 billion people around the world across 136 countries. Most importantly, he is not fazed by the spotlight. If anything, he has embraced it.
Following a weekend of learning and fun at the ONE Elite Retreat in Boracay, Philippines, Umar has returned to Bali, where he continues to hone his craft. He will be trying to perfect his grappling, all while patiently awaiting the next bout offer.
“I want work more on my wrestling and takedowns,” Umar states. “And I just want to keep competing and winning.”