Eko Roni Saputra is eager to push himself toward the flyweight top five with a sixth straight win at ONE: LIGHTS OUT.
The Indonesian rising star will battle Chan Rothana in a mixed martial arts contest this Friday, 11 March, and he knows an emphatic victory over the Cambodian veteran would continue his rapid ascent in the division.
However, Saputra also realizes he must stay focused on the task at hand in order to overcome a difficult foe at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
“Chan Rothana will be one of the strongest opponents I have faced. He has great striking, so this will be a test for me to see how I will fare against him and become better. If I can win this, it means I leveled up.
“I think I have one more opponent after Rothana to [break into the top five], that’s why I need to win this fight. But I don’t want to be hasty or ego driven. I’ll perform to the best of my ability and focus as this matchup will determine my next opponent. Of course, I must win, but it won’t be that easy.”
Fortunately for Saputra, Rothana was already on his radar, so he has a good grasp of what the Selapak and LLFitness representative brings to the Circle
But while he respects the Cambodian’s striking, the former wrestler believes he owns the skill set to avenge his compatriots and continue his impressive winning streak.
On top of that, Saputra’s record-setting 10-second KO in his last fight means Rothana can’t take anything for granted on the feet, either.
“His striking is great, he uses elbows and kicks a lot. But I’ve prepared for that. I think he’s weak on the ground. I will play things cool and pressure him. I don’t want to rush into a takedown or look for a KO. I’ll look for my chance and strike when I see it.
“In the videos I watched his striking is good, but we won’t know for sure until we face each other in the arena. We’ll figure it out when we’re fist to fist, I want to focus and pressure him and never give him an inch for his striking. He might act like Stamp [Fairtex] for example – she’s a striker, but she can bring the fight in the ground. We’ve prepared for everything.”Eko Roni Saputra previews his game plan against Chan Rothana
Eko Roni Saputra Pushing Forwad Without Legendary Training Partner Dejdamrong
One thing that’s been missing from Eko Roni Saputra’s training camp is the presence of Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke at Evolve MMA in Singapore.
The former Muay Thai star turned ONE World Champion recently retired from competition, meaning he hasn’t been on the mats with Saputra as usual ahead of ONE: LIGHTS OUT.
It’s a big change – one the rising Indonesian is still getting used to.
“Without Dejdamrong, I feel like there’s a big hole because he was my first-ever training partner here. We spar together and train together. When I heard he retired, I was surprised, like, ‘There’s not going to be [Dej] training with me?’ I was shocked.”
With a seasoned striker to overcome this Friday, Saputra has also been without another experienced nak muay in Sam-A Gaiyanghadao – a former ONE Muay Thai and Kickboxing World Champion who also announced his retirement this year.
Still, Saputra will be thinking about the Thai icons when he enters the Circle against Rothana and aims for the flyweight elite.
The Indonesian added:
“I trained alongside Sam-A too [at Evolve]. When we prepared for a match, we practiced together and spar together. [Dejdamrong and Sam-A] are a very good inspiration for me. Both of them are great seniors that motivated us juniors with their spirit, even though they have a bit more mileage.”