Gurdarshan “Saint Lion” Mangat showed why he is considered India’s best pound-for-pound mixed martial artist with an extraordinary debut performance in ONE Championship on Friday, 8 March.
Indian hero Gurdarshan Gary "Saint Lion" Mangat lives up to the hype in his ONE debut, knocking out former World Title challenger Toni Tauru at 1:23 of Round 3! Watch the full event on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, March 8, 2019
Mangat did not experience any nerves in his first promotional appearance. Or, if “Saint Lion” did, he certainly did not show it.
In the opening stanza, the Indian flyweight quickly made his presence felt by peppering Tauru’s legs and body with a series of kicks.
He constantly switched stances and rarely left himself open to be attacked by Tauru, who struggled to find a home for his punches despite having the reach advantage.
With just over a minute to go in the frame, the debutant hit a takedown, but the action soon moved back to the feet where “Saint Lion” was timing his Finnish adversary’s punches and countering with two or three strikes in succession.
The second round saw Mangat turn up his volume while sticking with a southpaw attack.
He hammered away at Tauru with a series of kicks that continued to reverberate throughout the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium.
It was a tactical game plan from the Indian newcomer, who punished “Dynamite” with kicks that chipped away at the former ONE Bantamweight World Title challenger’s foundation.
The damage ultimately forced Tauru to change his stance.
Mangat attacked his flyweight rival with even more striking combinations in the third round, and his confidence grew with every shot he landed.
Although Tauru tried to defend from the onslaught, Mangat found an opening for a perfectly-timed left hook, which sent his European foe staggering backward.
With an opportunity to finish, “Saint Lion” poured on the pressure before landing a crushing knee strike against the cage.
That strike put “Dynamite” down for good, and referee Olivier Coste made the save at the 1:23 mark of round three.
Mangat had a lot riding on this debut, but he delivered in spectacular fashion.
The knockout victory elevated his record to 14-2 and let the division know there is a new contender in The Home Of Martial Arts.