‘It Was For My Legacy’ – Marat Grigorian Thrilled With Knockout Of Longtime Rival Sitthichai At ONE 165
The Armenian kickboxing superstar knocked out longtime rival Sitthichai “Killer Kid” Sitsongpeenong at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, earning his second win over the Thai legend in their storied six-match series.
After losing four razor-close decisions to Sitthichai between 2015 and 2018, Grigorian has now won their last two meetings – but this third-round stoppage was the most emphatic of all.
The #2-ranked featherweight kickboxer was thrilled with the result against the tough #3 contender, and he still won’t write out any potential further chapters.
Grigorian told onefc.com afterward:
“This fight was very important for me. It was for my legacy. Fight number six – we’ve come a long way [from where we started]. We’ve already been fighting at the top for eight years, and we are still here trying to do our best. So, I’m happy that I won again. But who knows, maybe number seven will come.”
It took six matches for either man to claim a finish, and Grigorian did it in style with a crushing knee to the body. The powerful strike put “Killer Kid” down for the count in the final frame and earned a $US50,000 performance bonus.
Making it even more satisfying, the Hemmers Gym representative delivered the knockout in front of a familiar audience. He originally made a name for himself by winning the K-1 World Grand Prix with three KOs in one night back in 2015, and the fans in Japan have supported him ever since.
Now associating Tokyo with success, Grigorian explained:
“My legacy started in Japan in 2015. I have a lot of Japanese fans that always support me. I really love the mentality and the people here. And Japan is the home of kickboxing, so I’m really happy to be back.
“Whenever I come to Japan, good things happen to me. I’m glad I won a big fight against Sitthichai and I won a big bonus, but the important thing is that I won the fight. For me, that’s everything. Money comes and goes, but legacy stays forever.”
Marat Grigorian Reflects On ‘Everything Or Nothing’ Third Round
Although Marat Grigorian left the Ariake Arena with a convincing knockout win, the fight didn’t go all his way. Sitthichai looked strong in the first frame, peppering his foe with sharp punches and kicks to get ahead.
The Armenian roared back with intense pressure in round two, and with things appearing level coming into the last stanza, he knew it was time to go for broke:
“In the first round, I was a bit slow. I was watching too much. I was waiting for the power shot, but it wasn’t [finding the target]. It was bad. But in the second round, I won, and I was glad. I thought I’d given him an eight-count, but the referee didn’t count it because he said I was holding him, so it was 1-1.
“The last round was the decider. Whoever won the round would get the win. For me, it was everything or nothing.”
Grigorian ultimately left the ring with the “everything” option – taking the win, the bonus money, and the next step toward another shot at the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Title.
At 32, he feels like he is still developing his game as he aims for a rematch with reigning divisional king Chingiz Allazov. And with Sitthichai the same age, Grigorian also thinks his rival remains truly elite.
“Every time we get a little bit older, we also get stronger, we get more experience, we see more, we are sharper. But we still have time.
“Sitthichai is also one of the best fighters, he was performing very well, but the knee was just on point.”