Subba: Lumihi Representing New Bali Gym In ONE Is ‘Big Opportunity’

Gianni Subba wraps his hands in blue wraps

When Paul “The Great King” Lumihi steps into the Singapore Indoor Stadium for his bantamweight mixed martial arts fight at ONE: WINTER WARRIORS II this Friday, 17 December, he’ll have a familiar face in his corner.

ONE Championship flyweight star Gianni Subba will be coaching the Indonesian veteran, who faces Team Lakay teen sensation Jhanlo Mark “The Machine” Sangiao in the main card’s opening contest.

Subba, who last competed in March 2018, has been helping other athletes fine-tune their games in Indonesia over the past couple of years. And recently, he became a co-owner of Bali’s newest gym, Soma Fight Club.

Lumihi will become the first athlete to represent Soma Fight Club in the world’s largest martial arts organization when he steps into the Circle on Friday, and both “The Great King” and his new coach hope this is the beginning of even greater things to come.

Ahead of ONE: WINTER WARRIORS II, Subba spoke to about Lumihi’s preparation for Jhanlo, the Indonesian’s sparring sessions with ONE Super Series striker Brown Pinas, the importance of this bout for Soma Fight Club, and more.

MMA fighters Tial Thang and Paul Lumihi fight at ONE: UNBREAKABLE III on 5 February 2021

ONE Championship: Paul Lumihi will be the first man to represent your new Bali-based gym, Soma Fight Club, in ONE Championship. Talk a little bit about Paul and what he brings to his bout with Jhanlo Sangiao.

Gianni Subba: Paul is very talented. Obviously, he’s an Indonesian champion. He’s a very talented striker. Jhanlo, obviously, is from a very good team as well, Team Lakay, Mark Sangiao and the boys, [as] I’m sure Jhanlo has a lot of pressure being Mark’s kid. 

But I think in preparing Paul, we want to give Paul the best possible opportunity to win. He obviously has experience with ONE Championship, I think he’s got 12 professional fights, so he has that experience, and I think for us, it’s just trying to bring back that sense of urgency for him. 

Paul has, as seen in his previous bouts, often started well, but he started to lose focus, and that cost him some fights that could have [resulted in] victories. So, the biggest thing for us is to put him in a position where he is focused and he’s locked in for 15 minutes against a dangerous opponent in Jhanlo. 

ONE: What are the programs you set for Paul ahead of this fight?

GS: Paul is a very hardworking guy. You know, I was very surprised. He does two to three training sessions per day.

One training session we focus on striking. We have a big professional team – we’re a growing professional team in Soma. We have incredible athletes like Brown Pinas and [Kerrith] Bella, who is a former England K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, and a lot of talented strikers in the room. 

In jiu-jitsu, we started to work with Justin Sidelle, who is a black belt under Olavo Abreu, and I think he has been fine-tuning Paul with a lot of grappling positions because Paul is definitely a more talented striker. But he can grapple as well.

ONE: Is the game plan for Paul to stand and trade with Jhanlo, or would you look to turn this into a ground battle?

GS: It’s hard to say because Jhanlo is a very well-rounded guy, very young, and very explosive. But with Paul, I think our best opportunity for Paul would be to stay on the feet, score, and try to be on top of [Jhanlo] if they go on the ground because, on the bottom, Jhanlo is still very good with his ground-and-pound. He works and he transitions fast.

So, I think for us, we want to stay on the feet, and if we go on the ground, we would try to end on top.

ONE: Brown Pinas is a very dangerous striker and he competes in ONE Super Series. Did Paul get to work and spar with him during camp?

GS: Yes, Paul gets to spar with Brown. Brown is a bit heavier than Paul, so we try not to match guys that are a little bit lighter with the heavier ones because there are risks involved and Brown, obviously, is a high-level kickboxer. 

But yes, Paul did train with Brown. In terms of sparring, they don’t train as much because it doesn’t make sense since Brown is around 10 kilos heavier than Paul at the moment.

ONE: Paul is well-known as a striker in Indonesia, and he’s won by knockouts in the past. That said, how have you been able to improve his striking?

GS: You can see when we watch Paul fights, he’s a very dynamic striker – he throws jumping knees, he throws spinning kicks. But for us, it is going back to basics. 

He actually has a lot of power for a bantamweight, so we want to make sure that he throws his punches a little bit more accurately.

We still want him to be a little bit busier and still use his dynamic striking, but first, it is going back to basics – good jabs, good crosses, move, and don’t stay too heavy forward because Jhanlo’s going to look for a takedown, probably.

MMA fighters Tial Thang and Paul Lumihi fight at ONE: UNBREAKABLE III on 5 February 2021

ONE: As far as his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training with Justin Sidelle, what is the main focus? Is it for submission or to defend against Jhanlo’s takedowns?

GS: I think it is a combination of those things. We want to work on [making] Paul’s sprawling a little bit better, work to get him to stay on top when he gets the takedown, work on top position with some ground-and-pound, and when we get to a bad position, we want Paul to be able to scramble and get on top.

ONE: Paul will be the first athlete to represent Soma Fight Club in ONE Championship. What is the importance of this fight for the gym?

GS: I think every fight is important, especially as a new gym, where we are still establishing ourselves. Being on the world stage of martial arts that is ONE Championship is a big opportunity for the gym, but more than anything, it is an opportunity for us to help athletes in Indonesia reach their potential.

Our biggest mission when we opened this place was to cater to the locals. We want to grow the community, we want to grow the scene of combat sports, martial arts, mixed martial arts, jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, everything here in Indonesia. We want to be a part of that, and I think it is a good start by helping Paul – one of the athletes representing Indonesia to fight on the world stage. I think it is a good start for us.

Jhanlo Sangiao vs. Paul Lumihi at ONE: WINTER WARRIORS II

Read more: Lumihi Hopes Fresh Start Will Lead To Win Over Teen Phenom Sangiao

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