This Friday, 16 August, the 21-year-old from Solo will welcome dangerous submission specialist Ryuto “Dragon Boy” Sawada to ONE Championship, but his confidence is high.
The national karate champion is flying high after his first win on the global stage – a first-round submission of Adi Paryanto in January – and he cannot wait to step into the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand to compete as a mixed martial artist on foreign soil for the first time.
Aziz Calim sinks in a DEEP rear-naked choke to force the tap from Adi Paryanto at 4:40 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 Saturday, 19 January 2019
“This fight is the biggest moment [of my career] because he’s a tough fighter from Evolve,” he says.
“It’s also my first international bout in mixed martial arts and my first time fighting in Bangkok, where mixed martial arts is loved by many. In karate, I have fought many international fighters, but in mixed martial arts, this is going to be my first.
“I am excited to show my skills – man, I can’t describe how excited I am. I’m really excited for this, and I’m so ready for this fight.”
Sawada won a contract to compete in The Home Of Martial Arts thanks to two sensational performances on Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series (OWS), which took his tally of wins to 11, with nine of those by stoppage, including six submissions.
However, Calim has done his homework and believes his team at Han Academy has his grappling defense honed to cope with his rival’s strengths so he can strike back and put on a show for the fans.
“We have seen some of his fights on YouTube, and we have prepared for his grappling game because he likes to take his opponents to the ground,” he explains.
“The preparation has been good. We train every day and have prepared some new techniques for this fight. I’m going to do a lot of striking. However, if the game goes into the ground, I will still launch some strikes on the ground.
“This is going to be a classic match of grappler versus striker, and people should definitely see it because we’re both still young and have so many things to prove. We are going to put on our biggest performances.”
Sawada may be stepping under the lights of the Home Of Martial Arts for the first time, but he has more than double the number of professional matches on his record than Calim, who admits he is the underdog.
That billing does not bother him, though, because his competitive experience in other disciplines means he is comfortable in the heat of battle, and no stranger to pressure.
“The Krauser” will step into the Circle at ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD with no fear in search of his second consecutive finish to propel him forward in the ever-growing strawweight division.
“I’d love to call myself the underdog since he’s more experienced than me, but I am not scared about that. I have fought a lot too outside mixed martial arts,” he says.
“My prediction is that I will win in round two via TKO, but I can also see myself winning via a decision. I have prepared for an all-out battle for the whole three rounds.”