All eyes are on Indian mixed martial arts following the historic ONE: DANGAL, and ONE Championship newcomer Kantharaj Agasa “Kannadiga” wants to keep the country’s momentum going in his promotional debut.
The Bangalore native will have an extremely tough first assignment in the Circle when he faces “The Hunter” Xie Wei in a flyweight mixed martial arts clash at ONE: FULL BLAST, which airs on Friday, 28 May.
However, he’s determined to take advantage of his monumental opportunity and start life in The Home Of Martial Arts on the right foot.
“ONE Championship is a huge organization – it’s globally recognized, it’s really famous,” Agasa says.
“I always dreamed of competing in the world’s best organization. It’s a dream-come-true moment for me. Hopefully, I will start with a win in my debut.
“My preparation has been really great and I feel confident about the fight.”
Like his compatriot and recently crowned ONE Heavyweight World Champion Arjan “Singh” Bhullar, Agasa is a wrestling specialist — as well as a black belt in judo — who’s earned five submission wins in his career.
Meanwhile, Xie is a fierce striker who’s scored six knockouts in six victories on his journey through ONE Hero Series, ONE Warrior Series, and now, ONE Championship.
That means this will be a battle between opposing styles, but the Indian Combat Sports Academy representative is confident that his forte will prevail.
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“From what I have seen, my opponent focuses on his striking. He is good, too, but in grappling, he is no match for me. My game plan is to play to my strengths,” Agasa offers.
“I think his weakness is his ground game. Since I am a grappler, he will definitely work on it before the match, but his preparation won’t matter because I am better than him.
“Xie Wei is a really good opponent, but I trust my hard work and grappling. I am a born grappler, so I think the fight will be over on the ground. I always try to take the fight to the canvas and finish it there.”
After tearing up the national scene in India with 10 straight victories — including two over ONE flyweight Roshan Mainam — “Kannadiga” has paid his dues on the regional circuit and proved that he’s ready for the big leagues.
With Bhullar leading the way, Indian stars are starting to show that they’re on the same level as the best mixed martial artists on the planet. For his part, Agasa wants to hammer home that point and prove that he has the skill set to reach the top.
First, he will need to get past a durable contender at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. And if things go his way, the 29-year-old hopes to join the new heavyweight kingpin at the top of the sport.
“If everything goes according to my plan, I will finish Xie in the first round by submission,” Agasa says.
“I am hoping to take part in at least three fights this year and win them all. By the end of next year, I would like to beat all my opponents in this division and hopefully get a World Title shot.
“I want to pave the way for any youngsters who dream of joining the biggest martial arts organizations in the world.”