Garry Tonon Vs. Shamil Gasanov: 4 Keys To Victory In Key Featherweight Bout At ONE Fight Night 12

Garry Tonon attempts Kimura Lock on Johnny Nunez at ONE Fight Night 6

The co-main event of ONE Fight Night 12 on Prime Video will see #5-ranked featherweight MMA contender Shamil “The Cobra” Gasanov and #2-ranked Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon square off in a high-stakes clash with World Title implications.

This Friday, July 14, live in U.S. primetime, the two grappling and submission specialists will battle to climb the divisional ladder and potentially earn a crack at the throne later this year.

Adding to the drama, there’s no shortage of tension between these MMA stars.

After his sensational promotional debut last October, Gasanov boldly called out the American, who fired back on social media to kick off a war of words that ultimately led to their upcoming showdown in Bangkok, Thailand.

Before the action gets underway at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, we look at the keys to victory for both of these athletes.

#1 Gasanov Dictating The Grappling Exchanges

With his pristine 13-0 professional mixed martial arts record and the majority of those wins coming via submission, Gasanov is one of the planet’s most feared and skilled grapplers.

But against an elite BJJ black belt like Tonon, the Russian would be foolish to assume he’ll hold the grappling advantage in every situation.

With that in mind, “The Cobra” should pick and choose when and how he wants to impose his world-class ground game.

Rather than barrelling forward into double-leg takedowns – an approach that could get him caught in Tonon’s dangerous guillotine choke – he must set up all of his takedowns carefully and always be willing to exit the grappling exchange if it tips in his foe’s favor.

By that same token, Gasanov’s takedown defense must be in top form, never allowing “The Lion Killer” to take the top position, where he would be able to showcase his seemingly unstoppable guard-passing.

#2 Tonon’s Elite Leg Locks

Long considered one of the best submission grapplers in the world, Tonon can secure the tap from essentially any position, but in this matchup, he’s most likely to find success while attacking his opponent’s legs.

Because while Gasanov has proven to be an excellent choke artist, he’ll likely be out of his element when it comes to the advanced leg entanglements in which the New Jersey native excels. 

Whether he’s in the top or bottom position, Tonon is always looking for a way to finish the fight, owning an incredible 85 percent finishing rate across his seven victories in ONE.

For many top-end wrestlers like Gasanov, leg locks are their kryptonite, so the #2-ranked featherweight contender would be wise to attack lower-body submissions early and often.

#3 Gasanov’s Stinging Right Hand

The 27-year-old Russian has rightfully earned his reputation as a powerful wrestler and phenomenal submission artist, but that doesn’t mean he can’t strike, too.

Quite the opposite – Gasanov’s trademark double-leg takedown is almost always set up by his concussive right hand, which he’s able to throw from a variety of angles.

That venomous right hand could be the difference-maker against Tonon. It will not only cause damage to the American, but it could also disrupt his attacks, and if thrown with enough power, force him on the back foot.

Look for the #5-ranked contender to make his right hand the centerpiece of his stand-up attack, whether he’s throwing it with ruthless knockout intent or simply to set up his own takedowns.

#4 Tonon’s Unpredictable Striking

It’s no secret that “The Lion Killer” does his best work on the ground. But over the course of his eight-fight professional MMA career, fans have seen his striking game evolve by leaps and bounds.

In contrast to his opponent, the hallmark of Tonon’s stand-up is its unorthodox and unpredictable nature. On the feet, the 31-year-old presents a difficult puzzle to solve with his constant stance switching, explosive kicking game, and unique movement patterns.

More often than not, that dynamic striking creates openings for the American’s opportunistic submissions. 

Against Gasanov, Tonon should ramp up the unpredictability to force the Russian rising star on the defensive and keep him guessing.

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