‘A Make-Or-Break Time For Me’ – Enkh-Orgil Baatarkhuu Eyes Top-Five Ranking With Win Over Artem Belakh
Mongolian scrapper Enkh-Orgil Baatarkhuu will look to keep his unblemished ONE record intact and continue his meteoric rise through the bantamweight MMA division when he takes on #4-ranked Artem Belakh at ONE Fight Night 18 on Prime Video.
Set for Friday, January 12, in U.S. primetime, the much-anticipated matchup between two of the division’s grittiest competitors will go down at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
That’s the same venue which saw Baatarkhuu go 3-0 with two highlight-reel finishes in 2023, earning him a coveted six-figure contract and a spot on ONE’s main roster.
When he returns to Bangkok to square off with Belakh, the 35-year-old will face the most dangerous opponent of his 12-fight professional career and, more importantly, get a chance to take the Russian’s #4 spot in the talent-laden bantamweight MMA rankings.
The man from Khovd, Mongolia, spoke to onefc.com about just how critical this upcoming bout is:
“Of course, this is a very important fight for me. If I win this fight, I will be one step closer to entering the bantamweight MMA rankings, which is my main goal. So basically, this is a make-or-break time for me.”
Indeed, the ONE Road to Mongolia winner has faced gradually stiffer and stiffer competition in the world’s largest martial arts organization. Most recently, he submitted 21-year-old Filipino phenom Jhanlo Mark Sangiao in August.
Well aware that a victory over Belakh could land him in the divisional rankings, Baatarkhuu plans to follow the same recipe for success and keep his impressive winning streak alive at ONE Fight Night 18.
“I always give 100 percent to every fight I take part in and never underestimate anyone. This fight won’t be an exception. I’ll give my all and try to get into the top five of the rankings.”
Enkh-Orgil Baatarkhuu Breaks Down Battle With Artem Belakh
Of course, if Enkh-Orgil Baatarkhuu wants a place in the bantamweight MMA top five, he’ll first have to get past Artem Belakh and his well-rounded, elite skill set.
With eight stoppages across his nine career wins, the 27-year-old is a ruthless finisher who presents certain stylistic challenges. Most notably, Belakh holds a 3-inch height advantage over the Mongolian.
By the same token, Baatarkhuu sees his unbreakable mindset as his own advantage.
“There is a height difference between us. He has longer arms and legs than me, so that gives him a distinct advantage during a fight. In professional MMA, the line between winning and losing is very thin, so it’s obvious that he’ll try to use every advantage he has.
“But I also have my strengths — my strong will and determination. I believe that I have the mental fortitude and grit to overcome all the challenges I face. These qualities are what set me apart from my opponents.”
While many fighters might be quick to predict a first-round knockout, the Team Tungaa representative envisions an all-out war on January 12.
Given each man’s indomitable spirit and proclivity for action, Baatarkhuu believes that ONE’s global fan base can expect a razor-close battle.
“I don’t think this fight will end so easily and quickly. On the contrary, it will be a very close and intense fight. Because we are both very determined and skilled fighters. Whoever is more prepared mentally and physically that day will win.”