India is about to shine on the global stage.
On Saturday, 15 May, the world’s largest martial arts organization will air ONE: DANGAL from the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and India’s best mixed martial artists will proudly represent their nation on the five-bout card.
Not only will Arjan “Singh” Bhullar attempt to become the country’s first Mixed Martial Arts World Champion, but fans will witness the return of wrestling megastar Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat and a mouthwatering all-Indian clash between Gurdarshan “Saint Lion” Mangat and Roshan Mainam.
Before these four warriors step into the Circle, take a look at the greatest mixed martial arts victories from India’s talented athletes.
Bhullar Takes Out “The Hammer”
What made the occasion even more remarkable was the fact that the Commonwealth Games Wrestling gold medalist dominated his hard-hitting Italian rival with his crisp boxing repertoire.
Cerilli swung heavy leather at Bhullar in the opening frame, but “Singh” stayed composed and picked him off with an arrow-like jab.
As the bout wore on, the 33-year-old dialed up his offensive attack and connected with a raft of punishing uppercuts, which hurt “The Hammer.”
Phogat Tears Through Rising Star
Phogat was given the toughest test of her professional mixed martial arts career when she was matched up against Filipina phenom Jomary “The Zamboanginian Fighter” Torres at ONE: BIG BANG in December 2020.
But the Indian wrestling sensation made it look easy, as she ripped through the veteran and secured a first-round TKO victory.
Early on, Phogat displayed the improved boxing skills she’s developed at Evolve MMA, and as Torres came forward with her strikes, “The Indian Tigress” swooped in and landed a double-leg takedown.
“The Indian Tigress” was briefly effective from half guard, as she dropped short elbows on her rival’s head. Torres, however, did well to defend and get the megastar back into her guard.
But Phogat was constantly looking to advance her position, and she eventually regained half guard, dropped hammerfists and short elbows, moved to side control, trapped the Filipina’s left arm between her legs, and unloaded a rapid succession of elbows to force the stoppage.
Next, “The Indian Tigress” will look for another decisive victory against Bi “Killer Bee” Nguyen at ONE: DANGAL.
Mainam Submits A Tournament Champion
Indian Wrestling Champion Roshan Mainam 🇮🇳 starts the night with a second-round rear-naked choke against Liu Peng Shuai! #ReignOfDynasties
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, October 9, 2020
Mainam called his shot in October 2020.
The Indian rising star earned a signature victory when he finished ONE Hefei Flyweight Tournament Champion Liu Peng Shuai in the second round of their flyweight tilt – just as he had predicted.
Liu threatened early with aggressive striking, but the Indian wrestler calmly defended and landed a quick takedown. The Chinese athlete returned to his feet, where he methodically unleashed kicks and punching combinations. Mainam, however, continuously threatened with his kickboxing – particularly his heavy right hand and the occasional head kick – and takedown attempts.
Everything changed in the second frame.
Nearly 30 seconds into the round, Mainam found a home for his right, as he kept cracking the Chinese athlete with his cross. Liu ate the shots and then looked to march his rival down with kicks. But the Indian eventually caught one of those kicks and hit a double-leg takedown.
Mainam took side control, quickly passed into full mount, and dropped elbows until his opponent rolled over in an effort to escape. The Evolve star held on, sunk in the rear-naked choke, and made his Chinese rival tap.
The Indian will now look for his fourth consecutive submission victory on the global stage when he meets compatriot Mangat on 15 May.
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“Saint Lion” Dominates A Former World Title Challenger
The Canadian-Indian athlete used his dynamic striking to pepper “Dynamite” with hard kicks to the body and legs, and he also connected with damaging counter punches in the opening stanza.
Mangat upped the pace in round two and continued to wear his foe down, and then, in the third frame, he went all-in for the finish.
“Saint Lion” dropped the Finn with a right hand-left hook combination. Although “Dynamite” returned to his feet, the Canadian-Indian athlete backed him up, took him down, and softened him up with more punches and elbows.
Tauru turtled up to try to defend, but the 33-year-old rattled him again with a crunching left knee. Then, he sealed the deal with hammerfists to get his career in the world’s largest martial arts organization off to a stunning start.
“The Cyclone” Overcomes The Hometown Hero
The crowd inside the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia screamed for their local hero, Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol, but that did not faze Puja “The Cyclone” Tomar, who scored a hard-earned split decision victory at ONE: ETERNAL GLORY in January 2019.
“Thathie” had won five of her previous six bouts in The Home Of Martial Arts, but the Indian halted that momentum with a versatile display of striking and grappling.
Both athletes came from a wushu background, but each competitor employed different strategies, and it was “The Cyclone’s” heavy counter-attacks that gave her success on the feet.
The 26-year-old Indian atomweight came close to finishing Lumban Gaol with heavy ground and pound at the tail-end of the first frame, and that was likely the biggest contributing factor in her favor as two judges gave her the nod after 15 closely contested minutes.
Kaushik Blitzes Rozten Via KO
India's Himanshu Kaushik kicks off ONE: HERO’S ASCENT with a stunning knockout of Egi Rozten at 3:33 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
Himanshu Kaushik got his first promotional victory in emphatic fashion at ONE: HERO’S ASCENT when he knocked out Indonesia’s Egi Rozten with a barrage of ground strikes in the first round of their bout in January 2019.
The Indian strawweight, who is a national wushu champion, used his kicks to inflict damage on his opponent’s lead leg. Rozten fired back, but Kaushik caught his rival’s kick, scored with several right hands, and then dumped him to the mat.
From there, the Crossfit Fitness Academy representative took his time to work his ground and pound, and then he exploded for the finish when he saw the right opportunity.
The 27-year-old drew back a big right hand and then dropped it onto Rozten’s jaw. A swift flurry of lefts and rights came shortly after, and he knocked the Indonesian out cold.
Raju Wins India-Pakistan Showdown
🚨 FULL BOUT 🚨PERSAINGAN SENGIT India 🇮🇳 vs. Pakistan 🇵🇰 terjadi saat Rahul K Raju "The Kerala Krusher" berhadapan dengan Furqan Cheema di ONE: EDGE OF GREATNESS!
Posted by ONE Championship Indonesia on Wednesday, February 3, 2021
It was a massive cultural moment that was capped off with a highlight-reel ending.
Both men were cautious in the early going while clearly respecting each other’s skill sets. Cheema was doing a good job of defending the Indian’s takedown attempts, while Raju was dodging the Pakistani’s methodical striking.
“The Kerala Krusher,” however, brilliantly forced his opponent into the corner, dragged him to the mat with a double-leg takedown, advanced to side control, and softened him up with strikes. Cheema would return to his feet, but Raju stuck to him like glue, clinched with him, and fired off knees whenever opportunities arose.
Raju repeated his strategy in the second round, inching his Pakistani rival to the corner and carefully avoiding his incoming shots. Once “The Lion” was trapped, the Indian threw an overhand right, went for a single-leg takedown, and dragged him to the ground.
Cheema got back to his feet, but he wasn’t there for long. “The Kerala Krusher” stuck with his game plan, marched his rival to the corner again, and threw strikes to disguise his double-leg takedown. Once the Pakistani hit the mat, he tried to regain his feet – but left an opening in the process.
With that, Raju threw in a single hook and sunk in the rear-naked choke in the corner, forcing “The Lion” to submit.