‘Powerful But Also Smart’ – After First MMA Loss, Garry Tonon Aims To Balance Offense And Defense In Return

MMA stars Garry Tonon and Koyomi Matsushima fight at ONE: BIG BANG

Garry Tonon is confident that he can bounce back from his first career MMA defeat and cement his position as a top featherweight contender this Friday, January 13.

The BJJ superstar will face wrestler Johnny Nunez at ONE Fight Night 6: Superbon vs. Allazov on Prime Video, and he feels like he has more tools to get the win than his fellow American.

That’s not to say “Johnny Boy” won’t present some challenges when they face off at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.

More specifically, #2-ranked Tonon thinks his rival will look to impose his strength and turn their matchup into a slow grind from bell to bell.

“The Lion Killer” said:

“Primarily wrestling is the way that he gets the job done. He rushes forward, swinging, shifting, and trying to tackle the guy into the fence to get him to the ground. I think he’s looking for as much control time as he possibly can on the ground, and he looks to win decisions that way.

“I see the predominant danger of this fight being me getting taken down, held down, and controlled, without finding enough opportunity to attack him from the bottom or an opportunity to get up.”

Still, with a world-class ground game of his own and an ever-improving striking arsenal, Tonon sees multiple routes to victory this Friday.

He can always rely on his elite submission grappling skills, but the 31-year-old also believes he’s found some weaknesses in Nunez’s armor.

With these in mind, he plans to employ some of his tried-and-tested formulas – but he thinks there will be openings to score his first stand-up knockout in mixed martial arts.

Tonon explained:

“[Nunez is] a little haphazard in a standing position. Head down, swinging for the fences. I think there’s an opportunity there to land some strikes defensively as he’s coming forward.

“I think there are three strong ways that I have to win the fight. One is I do a great job of taking him down, staying on top, and TKOing him. Two is that I have a good chance of taking him down and getting him to turn his back and strangling him with a rear-naked choke. 

“Three would be I have a pretty good chance – and since I’ve never knocked anybody out, I’m not going to say I’m definitely going to do it – but I think I also have a good chance of countering him as he comes forward with his head down.”

Garry Tonon Promises ‘Aggressive And Skillful Show’ On Prime Video

Garry Tonon’s submission grappling resume and impressive run in MMA have made him a popular figure in his United States homeland, but this will be his first time competing live in North American primetime since entering ONE Championship.

Known as a high-octane competitor, “The Lion Killer” sees it as his duty to deliver a typically exciting fight against Johnny Nunez this Friday on Prime Video.

Tonon said:

“Maybe there are more eyes from the U.S. audience watching now than there would have been in some of our previous events, but it doesn’t change much for me because a part of what I believe is important as a professional is putting on exciting fights. 

“So, I want to showcase my skills. I want to try to outclass my opponent technically and aggressively. I want to put on an aggressive and skillful show for the fans. I don’t want to make a boring fight that nobody wants to watch.”

But while he wants to once again thrill audiences around the world, Tonon knows he must use his brain to secure the victory – and he won’t be forgetting that element.

After suffering a knockout at the hands of Thanh Le in his ONE Featherweight World Title shot, “The Lion Killer” regretted attacking Le’s legs so recklessly, leading to the ground-and-pound finish.

This time, Tonon plans on using both guile and patience to make sure he can attack safely, and he’s looking to one of the most electrifying names in combat sports history for inspiration. 

He added:

“I also don’t want to be an idiot. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t have an exciting fight. There are people who have exciting fights that have safe fights for themselves. As safe as they can manage.

“Even a guy like Mike Tyson, for example. I’m not Mike Tyson. But you’re looking at a guy like him. He was a very, very exciting fighter, but ironically, also a very safe fighter. He was swinging hard, but every time that dude swung, he moved his head, and then he swung again and moved his head. 

“He was a very defensively sound fighter, so that’s the kind of fighter that I aspire to be – powerful, but also smart. Powerful, After First MMA Loss, Tonon Aims To Balance Thrills And Smarts In Return.”

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