Motamed Ready To Lead Iranian MMA Invasion: ‘We’re Coming’

The latest contract winner from Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series is finally ready to debut in ONE Championship and help lead the Iranian mixed martial arts explosion.

Ali “Moti” Motamed will face “The Ghost” Chen Rui in a bantamweight contest at ONE: BIG BANG II, a previously recorded show that airs this Friday, 11 December.

And after proving his quality against stiff competition in ONE’s developmental league, the 29-year-old from Tehran is prepared for a high-paced bout that promises action from the first bell.

“We both like to keep the fight on the feet,” Motamed says.

“I like to kick and be a stand-up guy, and he likes to punch. It’s going to be back and forth. He’s not the guy to take a step back. He moves forward and so do I.”

“Moti” may be entering the Circle for the first time, but he’s already provided some sensational performances against top-tier opponents.

The Team Envisage representative started his run in OWS with a highlight-reel KO against one of Franklin’s hand-picked contenders, Dawoon Jung.

He later booked his ticket to the global stage with wins against Zechariah Lange and Hikaru “The Painter” Yoshino – two of the most experienced competitors on the roster.

Plus, Motamed’s gone toe-to-toe with fellow OWS graduates Mark “Tyson” Fairtex Abelardo and Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg, so he believes the matchup with “The Ghost” won’t feel like a step up in competition.

In fact, he believes he’ll hold the advantage in every area except boxing.

“The only dangerous thing about him is his hands,” Motamed says.

“I’ve watched all his fights, and I know how he throws them and when he throws them. I’m one step ahead of him. I know everything about him and I have more tools than him.

“He has his hands, but I have my kicks, my wrestling, and my ground-and-pound, so I’m pretty sure if I’m smart and do what I have to, it’s not even going to make it to the second round. I’d like to fight for three rounds because I’ve not fought for a year, but I don’t think it’s going to make it to the second round.”

Motamed’s confidence is a result of the relentless training schedule he set for himself during the past year.

Though his plans to compete were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, he worked around the closure of gyms by building a ring in his basement.

And while the pandemic also meant he could not travel to train at Tiger Muay Thai in Thailand, “Moti” compensated by surrounding himself with a wealth of martial arts talent in his homeland.

“[My training] couldn’t be better. I picked all the best [training partners] in Iran,” he says.

“I trained wrestling with the best wrestlers. I did kickboxing with the national team and World Champions. Everything is good. I feel like I’ve trained at Tiger. I didn’t feel like anything was missing. I feel perfect.

“Once I’m in the Circle and [fans] see how I fight, they will be surprised. We have everything in Iran. Maybe we don’t have the best mixed martial arts, but we have good everything.

“We’re coming. I want to show the world we have the potential to be the best, to beat the best. This is the perfect moment to raise the flag for my country, for my people.”

Indeed, Iran has been a hotbed of grappling talent for generations. And on Friday, Motamed is ready to show what the country’s mixed martial artists are capable of, combining his decisive ground offense with his striking in hopes of marking his debut with a statement win.

“We’re going to keep punching and kicking each other until I take him down and finish him,” he says of Chen.

“His wrestling defense is not good at all. He might have worked on it for the last year, I hope he worked on it, but I’ve worked on my wrestling a lot in Iran. I take people down all day, every day. He’d better be ready because I’m coming to take him down.”

Read more: Haggerty Vs. Naito To Headline ONE: BIG BANG II

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