Last November, the Singaporean fell by unanimous decision against Eduard “The Landslide” Folayang in his first opportunity to become World Champion.
Though he was disappointed to walk away empty-handed that night, the 24-year-old quickly refocused when he was given an opportunity to face Ariel “Tarzan” Sexton in the opening round of the historic tournament on 22 February.
Amir Khan Ansari is a FINISHER.Singapore | 22 February | 6:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onegreatness19
Posted by ONE Championship on Sunday, February 3, 2019
In Khan’s mind, this is the best possible chance to earn his way back to another shot at the gold. Better yet, he has the chance to pick up another piece of hardware and prove his ability against many of the best lightweights around.
“If you win the Grand Prix, you fight for the World Title belt,” Khan says ahead of his return at ONE: CALL TO GREATNESS.
“There’s a Grand Prix belt, too. So you get to fight for a belt in the finals, and then the winner of the finals faces the winner of Eduard [Folayang] and Shinya [Aoki].
“There are big names. Everyone is on the edge of their seats.”
In the opening round of the tournament, Khan faces off with Sexton with a chance to punch his ticket to the semi-finals where he would face the winner of Ev “E.T.” Ting’s match with Saygid “Dagi” Guseyn Arslanaliev, which takes place on the same night.
Before he can look too far down the road, the Evolve lightweight first has to get through one of the toughest and most durable competitors ONE has ever produced.
Amir Khan Ansari gets a chance to realize his World Championship dreams on 22 February!Singapore | 22 February | 7:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onegreatness19
Posted by ONE Championship on Sunday, January 27, 2019
“[Ariel Sexton] has been in the game a while,” Khan says.
“He’s very talented on the ground, he’s very tricky. His striking is a bit awkward to fight with – he’s lanky, he throws big looping shots. He has a good body lock. His best weapons are his tricks on the ground.”
As wary as Khan might be about Sexton’s world-class grappling, he is not ignoring his past performances where “Tarzan” has shown the capability to throw down with anybody on the feet as well.
The perfect example of that kind of display was Sexton’s battle with Roger Huerta back in 2016 where he had to gut out an absolute war before finishing the American in the third round.
“He’s not a kickboxer or a world-class striker, but he’s awkward, and if you’re not ready for that awkward style, you’ll be shocked on that night, and he’ll catch you with shots,” Khan adds.
“So with the striking exchanges, my plan for this fight is to stay on my feet and not let him take me down.
“I would expect a lot of striking exchanges, so I have to be really prepared for how he strikes. He doesn’t strike the conventional way. He doesn’t put his hands up, he kind of dips his head, and he swings wildly. I’m focusing a lot on those scenarios.”
ONE knockout king Amir Khan Ansari has dangerous submission skills too!Singapore | 22 February | 6:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onegreatness19
Posted by ONE Championship on Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Ultimately, Khan still believes he can get the better of Sexton in those exchanges on the feet and put away his opponent before the final bell sounds.
“I’m looking to finish Ariel Sexton,” Khan says.
“I feel you have to finish every fight in the Grand Prix just to make a statement. Right now, I have a good conditioning program, and I’m 100 percent confident in my stamina. My main thing is not to think – just leave it all out there.”
If all goes well in this quarter-final match-up, Khan is excited about who he could face in the semi-finals and the final.
From the athletes who will also compete in Singapore, to the men on the other side of the bracket – Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez, Lowen Tynanes, and Timofey Nastyukhin – there is not a single potential contest that does not excite Khan, but he does have one particular opponent in mind for the World Grand Prix finale.
The famed power of ONE KO king Amir Khan Ansari! ????Singapore | 22 February | 7:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onegreatness19
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, January 12, 2019
“Everyone has a particular, dangerous skill set,” he says.
“Ev Ting is unpredictable, he can mix everything up. “Dagi” is really aggressive with the takedowns and his punches, Timofey is a really aggressive striker, so I feel everyone can be a champion. It just depends on how they fight that night and how it proceeds.
“I’m hoping [Eddie Alvarez] wins his side of the bracket so I can face him in the finals. I mean, that’s the fantasy match-up right?”