Debuting South Korean “Mighty Warrior” Kang Ji Won walked into the Singapore Indoor Stadium with a 100 percent finishing rate, and by the time he walked out, fans around the world knew exactly why.
The heavyweight mixed martial artist showed tremendous heart as he overcame an early attack from Mehdi Barghi and scored a first-round TKO win at ONE: UNBREAKABLE III, which aired on Friday, 5 February.
In the opening moments of the match, Barghi sent a loopy overhand right careening into the chin of Kang and then immediately shot for a single-leg takedown.
After dragging his disheveled opponent to the canvas, the Iranian Freestyle Wrestling Champion moved from side control to half guard. Kang was able to pull guard, though, and he used his feet to keep Barghi just far enough away so that his punches sliced the air between them.
Barghi made his way back to half guard and started smothering “Mighty Warrior” with his right hand. Kang flailed, and when he did, the Iranian collapsed his arm and sent elbow after elbow onto the South Korean. Barghi then mounted Kang, where he continued to rain down damaging shots.
Kang eventually bucked Barghi off, scrambled to his feet, and sent a dart of a left hand at the Iranian, who – apparently not wanting to trade strikes – shot for another single-leg takedown. Kang sprawled, pushed off, took a deep breath, and marched forward. Barghi backpedaled, huffing and puffing while swinging wildly toward “Mighty Warrior.”
After failing to connect, Barghi shot for another single-leg takedown and tried to scoop the South Korean to the canvas. Kang balanced his torso over one bouncing leg for as long as he could before Barghi dragged him down. Once they landed, however, Barghi found himself in a guillotine choke attempt, but he squeezed his head out before Kang could tighten the lock.
When Barghi escaped the submission, he moved into side control and then mount, where he attempted to dump another bucketload of elbows over Kang’s head. The South Korean bucked again and created just enough space to sweep his rival, ultimately finding himself on top of the Iranian in the half guard position.
Kang then moved to mount, postured up, and began to offload his own elbow attack, which caused Barghi to roll onto his stomach and absorb walloping punches from “Mighty Warrior.”
Having seen enough, the referee stepped in at the 4:50 mark to save Barghi from any further damage.
The first-round TKO kept Kang’s blemish-free record intact and made him yet another dangerous heavyweight in one of the promotion’s fastest-growing divisions.
On 5 March, the South Korean will bring his perfect slate into a main event clash with Barghi’s compatriot, Amir Aliakbari, at ONE: FISTS OF FURY II, where he will try to go 2-0 against Iranian mixed martial artists.