Lion Fight Lightweight World Champion Ognjen Topic (32-20-2) knew he was going to win his ONE Super Series debut. There was not even a shred of doubt in his mind.
From start to finish, Topic delivered a shutout performance, as he methodically attacked his rival with an assortment of punches, kicks, and knees in the clinch to get a clear-cut unanimous decision victory.
However, as confident as he was in victory, the 32-year-old was not breaking his arm to give himself a pat on the back.
“It was a dominant performance,” he begins. “There were some things I could have done better. I stuck to my game plan, and that was it. There was nothing difficult about it.”
Still, the win was a terrific introduction for Topic to ONE Super Series, and he is about to get a more difficult challenge in his second appearance.
On Saturday, 8 September, he will square off against two-time Muay Thai World Champion Tukkatatong Petpayathai (241-33-2) at ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON, which emanates from the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai, China.
Tukkatatong, who represents Evolve MMA, has been training in the sport for more than two decades. He claimed a pair of Channel 7 Stadium World Titles during that time, and also earned a reputation as one of the best Muay Thai practitioners in the world.
For Topic, getting to test his skills against such a world-class opponent is a huge motivation, and an honor within itself.
“That is exactly what we were hoping for,” Topic says.
“Me and my team, we are always looking for the biggest challenge. So, when I hear a Thai fighter’s name, that is when I am most excited to fight, because I know that it is going to be the toughest challenge for me.
“He is an elite fighter, and he has a lot of experience. Plus, he has been a World Champion before. I am very happy to fight him.”
In order to defeat the 30-year-old Muay Thai legend in their ONE Super Series Muay Thai bantamweight tilt, Topic knows he must perform at the top of his game.
Tukkatatong is a striking wizard with the kind of style that can break an adversary’s will over the course of a contest, because he is not only technically sound, but also incredibly powerful.
The Serbian is deep into his training camp at North Jersey Muay Thai in the United States, and he and his team are searching for holes in the legend’s armor that he may be able to exploit on event night.
“He is a technical fighter, he is smart, and he is not going to just rush in and do what Stergos did. He is going to take his time, and look for a way to score points. We are going to be prepared for that,” Topic explains.
“He has a similar style to Yodsanklai [Fairtex], so we are just going to have to work on some of those attributes that he has, and negate them.
“Technical fighters are much harder to fight than a brawler. Brawlers just move straight forward, looking for the big shot. A technical fighter can move forward, he can go backwards, and he can counter you, so it is more difficult.”
Although he is not giving away his strategy, he feels there is one major asset he possesses that could potentially give Tukkatatong headaches once they meet in the center of the ONE cage.
“I think it is my speed,” Topic says about his biggest advantage. “I will be a lot faster than him.”
Should the Serbian defeat the Thai legend at ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON, it would be a milestone in his 12-year career.
A victory would undoubtedly propel him towards even bigger opportunities, but he hopes it eventually leads to a chance at a ONE Super Series World Championship.
“Hopefully by early next year, I will be able to get a shot at the title,” he adds. “Winning is just going to keep bringing me forward.”
Shanghai | 8 September | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast