UNDEFEATED Russian prospect Kharun Atlangeriev is taking the most extreme gamble of his budding professional mixed martial arts career.
Atlangeriev is slated to lock horns with former lightweight titleholder Eduard Folayang on the undercard of ONE Championship’s: Unstoppable Dreams which takes place at the state-of-the-art Singapore Indoor Stadium on May 18.
Despite the seemingly insurmountable odds, Atlangeriev believes that great risks result to greater rewards as he has an opportunity to establish himself as one of the premier lightweights in ONE Championship.
The 25-year-old native of Dagestan, Russia is set make his promotional debut squaring off with a prominent name in the organization’s 77.1-kilogram weight class.
“I am super excited to visit Singapore and put on a show,” he said. “I know that he is a former champion and an experienced competitor, but I have no pressure on me. The pressure is on him. It is going to be a wild night.”
A mere glance at both men’s records shows a sizeable gap in experience between the two as Folayang once held the prestigious ONE Lightweight World Championship and has shared the stage with the promotion’s notable figures such as Kotetsu Boku, Adrian Pang, Shinya Aoki and Ev Ting.
Moreover, Folayang is raring to put himself back into the world title picture after losing his lightweight crown to Martin Nguyen by way of second-round knockout in November 2017.
Although he praised the impressive background and the world-class talent of Folayang, Atlangeriev is confident in his own skillset as he steps into the ONE Championship cage for the very first time against the beloved Filipino superstar on Friday.
“To the common eye, it may be a mismatch on paper due to records and experience, but I am confident in my skills. I feel like this is my time to make myself known around the globe. Anything can happen, and I have the skills to finish him,” he stated.
Atlangeriev has an immaculate record in his mixed martial arts run, acing his 11 professional bouts with flying colors.
Known by the moniker as “The Predator” due to his intense demeanor inside the cage, Atlangeriev has gone the distance just once in his prizefighting stint as ten of his 11 career wins have come by way of finish.
“I have fought some crazy people in my career. I know what Eduard Folayang offers, and I know how he fights, and to be honest, I am not really afraid of anything. The only thing I am afraid of is me not giving my 100 percent, and that is pretty much it,” he warned.
Folayang earlier vowed for an improved skill set as he returns to Singapore almost two years after winning the title against legend Shinya Aoki.
“Singapore is where I won the title. I was the underdog in that title bout against Shinya Aoki, but I managed to pull off the upset win. It was so memorable. The country will always be dear to my heart,” he said.
Going back to the Singapore Indoor Stadium where he won the ONE Lightweight World Championship belt, Folayang feels elated to strut his wares in Singapore again.
“Singapore is an awesome country. The venue is so awesome. It’s truly world-class. The energy is palpable. I won’t say it’s my home court, but it gives me the motivation and inspiration because it is the place where I became the champion,” he stated. (Roderick Osis)