That evening, he’ll meet former ONE World Title challenger and #5-ranked featherweight contender Amir Khan at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and the Kuala Lumpur native firmly believes that he holds the keys to victory.
Khan may have more achievements, a spot in the division’s top-five rankings, and home-field advantage, but Subba thinks his well-rounded skill set and grappling prowess will be too much for the Singaporean knockout artist.
The Malaysian said:
“I think he’s very basic. Like his whole game is just basic, and the way he approaches ground fighting is very one-dimensional. But don’t get me wrong. He is a great fighter when it comes to the stand-up department.
“If you let him play that game, anyone is going to be in for a long, grueling night against him or get finished before the final bell. So, I have to find ways to exploit his weaknesses. With the right strategy, I will certainly show all his weaknesses when we meet.”
Subba, who’s coming off an impressive win over Demetrious Johnson’s protege James Yang at ONE 156: Eersel vs. Sadikovic, claimed that he feels comfortable standing and trading with Khan. However, he said it’s on the mat where he can pull the fight into his domain.
The man from Malaysia has eight professional victories to his name, with four coming via submission and three coming via ground-and-pound. But while the 28-year-old would like to get another highlight-reel victory, he will exercise patience and be very methodical.
“I’m confident on the feet, just as I am confident on the ground. Amir is a veteran, man. He knows what he is doing. If I want to exploit his weaknesses, I need to take my time and approach it with a good plan.
“I cannot just rush for the finish against a guy like Amir because I know he can reverse things in plenty of situations. I want to get the finish and the US$50,000, but I refuse to rush myself inside the Circle. I want to slowly work my way toward the win before I entirely focus just on finishing him.”
Keanu Subba Thinks He Could Finish Amir Khan Quickly
Amir Khan is one of the most dangerous MMA strikers in ONE Championship, and that is reflected by his entries in the promotion’s record books.
The Evolve MMA representative has the second-most wins (14), second-most finishes (11), and second-most KOs (9) in ONE Championship history. Moreover, the former ONE Lightweight World Title challenger recently enjoyed a return to the featherweight division, where he earned a crucial victory over former Shooto Champion Ryogo Takahashi at ONE X this past March.
Despite Khan’s extensive list of accomplishments and newfound momentum, Keanu Subba is confident that he can finish his rival early.
In fact, Subba thinks he could even beat the Singaporean knockout artist at his own game.
“Taking him down won’t be the only way that I will bring him down. I feel like I’ve got better hands and better striking than him too. But if I do take him to the ground, it’ll be over real fast. If it comes in the first round, it’ll be even faster. But I know I can knock him out too, for sure.”
Subba and Khan joined the world’s largest martial arts organization around the same time and went from talented prospects to bona fide stars in a matter of years.
It’s this proximity with each other that made the Malaysian believe he’d have a match with his Singaporean rival at some point in their MMA journeys. Even though it has come later in their careers, the Kuala Lumpur grappler feels he could still reap the benefits with a victory on August 26.
“I knew, for sure, that one day I was going to compete against Amir. I honestly thought it would have come earlier on in our careers, but it’s even better that we’ve matched up now because he has all the credentials. He’s got a good finishing rate and he was a former contender, so now’s the best time to beat him instead of before, when he wasn’t famous or that hyped yet.”