Martin Nguyen Wants Gasanov Or Tonon Next After Dominant Win At ONE Fight Night 7
Last Friday, February 24, former two-division MMA king Martin Nguyen picked up a critical victory on his journey back toward a ONE World Title.
Originally slated to square off with undefeated phenom Shamil Gasanov at ONE Fight Night 7: Lineker vs. Andrade II, two last-minute changes left Nguyen to face surging Brazilian Leonardo Casotti on just 48 hours’ notice.
No matter the opponent, “The Situ-Asian” was ready for war at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
Over the course of three intense rounds, the #3-ranked featherweight contender battered his foe, punishing his leg with brutal low kicks before taking him down in the final stanza to seal a dominant unanimous decision victory.
According to Nguyen, he would have preferred an early stoppage, but with so little time to game plan for Casotti, he had to assess any advantages on the fly:
“I want to try to finish my opponents as much as possible and finish fights in general, but I had a tough opponent, and I had to ride it out and figure out his weaknesses as I go because we only had two days to prep for him. In those two days, it was mainly weight-cutting days.”
With nearly a decade of experience fighting the best of the best in ONE Championship, Nguyen leaned on his veteran savvy and all-around skill set to deal with his incredibly durable and deceptively dangerous foe.
And without any time to learn about Casotti, the Vietnamese-American simply trusted in his abilities, knowing that when he competes to his full potential, few – if any – featherweights on the planet can beat him.
He recalled his mindset and lack of knowledge about the Brazilian:
“Zero. Nothing, nothing at all. I know that he was on a nine-fight winning streak…
“But in my head. I was just making sure that mentally I turned up. I’ve said it all week. I just got to make sure I turn up, and make sure I turn up just to keep reminding myself mentally that I have to turn up. Because when I turn up, man, everyone’s in trouble.”
Nguyen: ‘One More’ Impressive Win Needed For World Title Shot
With his lopsided victory over Leonardo Casotti at ONE Fight Night 7, Martin Nguyen is back in the win column – and in his opinion, very close to a ONE Featherweight World Title challenge.
Last September, the 33-year-old suffered a disappointing loss to promotional newcomer Ilya Freymanov, stalling his climb back to the divisional gold.
But Nguyen’s strong showing on Friday night reminded fans and ONE officials just how dangerous he can be. After the fight, “The Situ-Asian” predicted that he’s on the cusp of a huge opportunity:
“I think one more [victory]. One more would solidify my title shot against Tang Kai.”
Nguyen knows that in order to punch his ticket to a World Title challenge, he must take on a highly ranked contender in his next bout.
There’s no shortage of elite fighters in ONE’s featherweight MMA division, but the longtime star has his eyes on two men in particular.
“[#5-ranked] Shamil Gasanov, [#2-ranked] Garry Tonon. They’re my potential next opponents.”