“Rock Man” Chen Lei (7-0) has lofty expectations for his return.
Above all, Chen wants to remind everyone inside the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, and the world, that he is a top contender in the bantamweight division.
He intends to accomplish that by soundly defeating his opponent in highlight-reel fashion.
“I foresee myself winning by knockout,” the 29-year-old from Changsha, China says.
“I have already defeated seven opponents in my career, and he will be the eighth. I never doubt myself. When you work hard, you will get a good result in return.”
Chen has looked phenomenal in ONE Championship since he made his promotional debut last year.
The Chinese martial artist knocked out Indonesia’s Jeremy Meciaz in May 2017, followed that with a submission of Malaysia’s Saiful “The Vampire” Merican in August, and then defeated Filipino striker Burn Soriano by technical knockout in November.
Although “Rock Man” has stopped all of his competition in impressive fashion, he has still been able to take valuable lessons from his experiences in the cage.
“Through three bouts in ONE, I have grown and learned a lot of things,” he begins.
“I have learned many things from my opponents in each bout, and I have turned each lesson into an area of strength for the next match.
“I have confidence in each match because I always believe in myself. I am good at adjusting my strategy during a fight. I am a fighter with versatility. My standing and ground skills are both good.”
Chen has a constant desire to learn and evolve, and he is happy to take his time in each bout – and on his rise through the ONE ranks.
Many fans expected him to jump straight back into action at the start of the year, but he took a break from competition in the start of 2018 to refine his abilities.
In the eight months since his last outing, he has been shoring up his deficiencies, and added some tricks to his diverse skill set.
“In the last couple of months, I have increased my strength,” he explains. “I went to a lot of different places to learn and to improve. Also, I have added more effectiveness to my attacks.”
The 29-year-old bantamweight will look to display his new skills against a fellow unbeaten competitor in Jasoor.
When Jasoor debuts on Friday night, he will make history as the first Afghan to compete inside the ONE cage — an honor that is well-deserved.
The 28-year-old, who goes by the nickname “Lycanthrope,” is an experienced combat sambo practitioner, as well as a talented boxer. He competed on his country’s junior and national boxing teams for a total of five years.
After experiencing success in those two disciplines, he made his mixed martial arts debut in April 2016. He has won three of his four bouts by spectacular first-round finish, and claimed the HFC Bantamweight Title in the process.
Though his résumé is impressive, it is brief, but “Rock Man” has seen enough of Jasoor’s ability to formulate a game plan to secure his eighth professional win.
“I treat every contest very seriously,” Chen says.
“This time, the strengths of my opponent lie in his punches and good jiu-jitsu skills, but his weakness is he has neither the complete skill set nor quick reaction time like mine. I am taller than him, I have more complete skills, and my fighting style is more powerful.”
“Rock Man” also hopes his aggressive style will excite the fans inside the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium. Though Chen believes in his complete skills, he also feeds off the crowd’s energy, which makes every bout all the more worthwhile.
“I like the experience of ONE Championship,” he says.
“The audience is screaming and is very passionate, and I like to show the same passion to the audience. It makes me feel very proud to be a fighter.”
Yangon | 29 June | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast