The grappling wizard from Breda, Netherlands met “King Kong Warrior” Fan Rong in his promotional debut at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines on 25 January 2019, and he knew it was a crucial moment in his mixed martial arts career.
Reinier De Ridder puts Fan Rong to sleep with a TIGHT D’Arce choke at 1:51 of Round 1!Watch the full event LIVE & FREE on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, January 25, 2019
However, despite some trepidation, the 29-year-old did not let the occasion get to him, and he started his ONE Championship tenure with a flawless victory.
“My debut was in Manila against [Fan Rong], who was undefeated in [his last] 12 fights. It was a real step-up in competition for me, so I had a lot riding on it,” he offers.
“I got there early in Manila. I looked up the venue and it said 20,000 people would be there, so that was somewhat of an adjustment in my mind leading up to the fight. But to be honest, the moment I got to the arena, I wasn’t thinking about the crowd at all.”
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De Ridder was laser-focused on his mission to prove that he belonged among the world’s elite in The Home Of Martial Arts. Even with a sold-out crowd and surging opponent, he knew he had to stick to the plan.
“When I walk down the ramp, the only thing on my mind is the task at hand,” he explains. “I’m empty, and I am just going in there to do what I need to do, and that’s what I did that night.”
The Dutchman’s mindset was strong, and his performance was impeccable.
De Ridder took Fan down almost instantly, and then he passed to side control. From there, he looked for a kimura, but when his rival escaped, “The Dutch Knight” ushered him straight into his trap.
“I predicted the D’Arce choke beforehand. When the commentator asked me, ‘How are you going to finish the fight,’ I said this was going to be [the technique], as I had been landing it a lot in training.
“Once I got into side control, he did a sneaky move to stop the kimura. He kicked his leg and broke free, but then I gave him a little bit of space and he took the bait.
“When he turned towards me, I got the D’Arce choke really deep. I thought, ‘This is it, I have it!’ It was locked in, but he wasn’t tapping. I was already contemplating my next move, but then he went out.”
With just 1:51 on the clock, the Combat Brothers representative choked out the “King Kong Warrior” to claim his first victory in the world’s largest martial arts organization and extend his unbeaten slate to 10-0 overall.
Now, with the win secured, he could finally take a breath and enjoy his success.
“Being successful in my debut was an amazing experience. But to be honest, if it’s in front of 20,000 people or the way I started with 20 people, it doesn’t matter to me,” he says.
“The people are only there from the moment I finish the fight. Then I can look around and see the people around me and soak it in. But until then, it’s just me and the other guy, and finishing him as soon as possible.”
De Ridder has since posted two more spectacular wins to earn his shot at the ONE Middleweight World Championship in his next outing.
But first, he will need to wait for the division’s reigning king, Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang, and the former titleholder, Vitaly Bigdash, to put their rivalry to bed in their upcoming trilogy bout.
If “The Dutch Knight” can perform anything like he did in his debut, then he will ask a lot of questions of whichever man holds the belt when his shot at the gold comes around.
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