‘I Lost And I Learned’ – Eko Roni Saputra Eager To Resume World Title Chase Against Hu Yong

Eko Roni Saputra stands in the Circle

Eko Roni Saputra is aiming to resume his charge toward the flyweight MMA division’s upper echelon with a pivotal win at ONE Fight Night 15 on Prime Video.

The Indonesian star will face “Wolf Warrior” Hu Yong in U.S. primetime this Friday, October 6, and after snapping his dominant seven-fight winning streak last time out, he knows a return to the winning track is imperative.

However, Saputra doesn’t think it will come easy against the surging Hu when they meet at the famed Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

Instead, he expects his opponent to enter the ring with a never-say-die approach to battle:

“I think this will be a very interesting fight for me. I have faced a Chinese fighter before, and they are relentless. They don’t want to lose. He has to win at any cost. If he can’t score a KO, he will keep on fighting, fighting, and fighting. It is who they are.”

Both competitors are on the cusp of the flyweight MMA top five, but setbacks against highly ranked opponents have kept them just outside the fold.

For Saputra, his most recent matchup with #2-ranked Danny Kingad in February could have propelled him up the ladder, but he lost a tough unanimous decision to the Filipino veteran.

After earning seven first-round finishes in a row, it was a tough blow to the Evolve MMA representative – but it also gave him a chance to understand where he must improve and what is needed to beat the best.

The 32-year-old explained:

“I will try to fight calmer and more focused [against Hu], as there was lots of energy wasted when I fought Kingad. There were many mistakes I made when I fought him.

“First, my emotions were too explosive, and the game plan wasn’t applied perfectly. So, from then on, everything did not go as planned. I lost and I learned. I watched the video of the match and learned where I am lacking and what I am good at.

“When we lose, we must not stay down. We have to learn to rise again and become so much better. That’s why, from my previous loss, I have corrected many things.”

‘He Has A Bad Ground Game’ – Saputra Plans To Expose Hu’s Grappling

Hungrier than ever and with a fresh perspective on his journey as a martial artist, Eko Roni Saputra is ready for the immense challenge that Hu Yong poses. 

Hu posted a 4-0 slate in ONE Hero Series to earn his spot on the global stage of ONE Championship, and he’s gone 3-1 since then, only losing to #4 flyweight MMA contender Yuya Wakamatsu.

The 27-year-old Chinese striker rebounded with a pair of victories over Geje Eustaquio and Woo Sung Hoon, but Saputra still sees weaknesses that he will look to exploit this Friday.

He explained:

“I studied his fight with Yuya Wakamatsu. I think he has a bad ground game, not good at all, as Yuya managed to pull several takedowns on him. I could see that his stand-up game was so good, but again, he was lacking on the ground.

“I will look to compete more on the ground with him. We do not know how he has developed his ground game since, but if I can secure a takedown, I will lean more into controlling the fight and being calmer to seek ground-and-pound or submissions.”

While he respects the concussive kickboxing of his upcoming opponent, Saputra has also leveled up his own striking repertoire. 

The former Indonesian Wrestling Champion will always rely on his elite grappling, but ever since knocking out Liu Peng Shuai in 2021, he’s found the confidence in his fists to round out his MMA arsenal.

With that in mind, Saputra thinks he can hold his own in the stand-up exchanges, especially if his shots start to land on Hu’s chin. 

He added:

“From what I have seen, Hu can’t be hit hard. If he is struck hard, his game will instantly crumble. This is what we saw when he fought Yuya.

“Hopefully his game has not changed, as I also have a strong punch, and I really hope it lands perfectly. If he’s off-guard, I’ll aim for another KO. I am expecting a brawl.”

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