The ONE Welterweight World Champion will move up in weight to challenge two-division titleholder Reinier “The Dutch Knight” de Ridder for his middleweight crown this Friday, 25 February.
While he knows it won’t be easy, “Brazen” believes he has the skill set to hand the Dutchman his first mixed martial arts defeat – and take one of his belts in the process.
De Ridder disagrees, however, and is confident that he’ll dominate the Kyrgyz star with his own arsenal and physicality.
Before these elite competitors make the walk at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, we break down both of their keys to ONE Middleweight World Title victory.
#1 De Ridder’s Size Advantage
In a battle of two skilled World Champions, the margins for error are incredibly small, so “The Dutch Knight’s” physical edge will play a more crucial role than usual.
De Ridder isn’t just the middleweight king. The BJJ and judo black belt also owns the light heavyweight gold – and he’s even eyeing another move up to heavyweight.
He’ll have a significant size advantage over Abbasov, and his game is all about imposing it on his rivals. The 10-centimeter height difference will certainly help the Dutchman on the feet, while his weight in the clinch and on the ground will be even more telling.
Given “Brazen’s” wrestling ability, De Ridder will likely try to clinch up to work for a takedown, meaning Abbasov will have to carry his weight standing or on the ground if he ends up there.
Constantly defending takedowns and bearing weight from a bigger man will take its toll on the challenger – especially if this fight reaches the championship rounds – and if Abbasov gets tired against “The Dutch Knight,” he’ll be at his mercy.
#2 Abbasov Hitting And Moving
It’s vitally important that Abbasov spends as little time locked up with De Ridder as possible, and his footwork will be the most valuable tool to prevent him from being a static target to grab.
“Brazen” is usually light on his feet and moves well laterally, staying out of linear channels that would make it easier to back him up against the Circle Wall.
If he can force the Combat Brothers representative to chase him and reach out for the clinch, Abbasov will open up opportunities to dart in with his heavy hands.
It’s important not to get greedy, as “The Dutch Knight” will capitalize if his opponent overextends or stays in too long, but the welterweight king has shown he owns the patience and fight IQ to launch his offense at the right time.
For instance, Abbasov stopped James Nakashima in the fourth round of their bout after fending off eight of the American’s nine takedowns attempts, proving that his conditioning and firepower stay with him throughout.
- Reinier De Ridder: I’ll Dominate Abbasov From Start To Finish
- 5 Rising Stars To Watch At ONE: FULL CIRCLE
- Aung La N Sang On Vitaly Bigdash Trilogy: ‘It’s Kill Or Be Killed’
#3 De Ridder’s Ground Prowess
De Ridder believes he can submit anybody in the world once he gets them to the canvas, and his resume mostly backs that up.
The Dutchman has an aggressive grappling game, and he hunts for the finish if he senses it. But his control also leads opponents into his traps, so Abbasov will have to be wary of both tactics.
If De Ridder can get to the challenger’s back from standing or immediately on the ground, he’ll attack the neck with vigor.
However, if it doesn’t come immediately, the defending titleholder can also use his size advantage to pin and control “Brazen” in an attempt to force him down a certain path.
In previous bouts, “The Dutch Knight” tempted “King Kong Warrior” Fan Rong to his knees before strangling him with a D’Arce choke, and he drilled knees into Gilberto “Giba” Galvao’s head to get the TKO win from the same position.
If Abbasov doesn’t take the bait, De Ridder will be happy to maintain his position and chip away with ground-and-pound. All of this will wear down his smaller foe, potentially making a finish easier to come by in the later rounds.
#4 Abbasov Timing De Ridder’s Entries
If Abbasov finds himself being constantly clinched or dragged to the canvas, he’ll have to find a single shot to get things done, and that could come when his foe enters for the takedown.
He did this expertly against wrestling star Nakashima when he rocked the American with a right knee, paving the way for an onslaught that led to the TKO.
And while Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang lost both encounters against De Ridder, his most effective strikes came when the Dutchman shot in too eagerly, with one right uppercut snapping the two-division king’s head back.
“Brazen” can look for patterns in De Ridder’s setups and launch strikes when his foe’s momentum moves forward.
“The Dutch Knight” has noted that he’s aware of Abbasov’s crunching right knee, but an uppercut could do the same job, making the most of two colliding forces when his strike meets the incoming bodyweight of his opponent.