Heading into his ONE FC debut, Fransino Tirta has already crossed one huge hurdle. At the age of 33, he decided to drop down and fight in the bantamweight division, but easily made it, tipping the scale at 134 pounds.
He now steps into the biggest fight of his life, competing in front of 20,000 fans at ONE FC: Era of Champions on Saturday. The 15-0-1 Indonesian’s fight with Sami Amin will be on a completely different scale to anything he has experienced before both in terms of the actual attendance and the TV audience.
It will be Tirta’s first fight in almost exactly three years and there is plenty for him to feel nervous about, but the undefeated Indonesian is just enjoying the moment.
“This will be the biggest show I have ever fought on and I’m excited, I can’t wait to fight in front of my people again,” he told MMAWeekly.com.
Tirta hasn’t fought in his hometown of Jakarta since 2005, unless you count a low-key boxing match, which he took as a tune-up late last year. It’s been a long time, but he couldn’t have chosen a more dramatic moment to make his comeback because ONE FC: Era of Champions is set to be on a completely different scale to any MMA event ever held in the city before.
The Mata Elang International Stadium was opened two years ago and has already played hosts to concerts by the likes of Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift and Jennifer Lopez. There’s never been an MMA promotion in such a prestigious venue in Indonesia before and Tirta says he feels a real sense of occasion that has perhaps been absent from his previous fights.
“For sure there is a lot of buzz because Indonesia’s best MMA fighter are signed with ONE FC and are fighting on the same show, the fans can’t wait to watch it.”
His opponent is unheralded Sami Amin and it’s a match-up Tirta is expected to win, but his last fight was the same year as the Egyptian’s amateur debut. While the Indonesian has sat on the sidelines since 2011, his opponent has fought five times, running up a 4-1 record and winning a title in his homeland.
With such a dearth between the recent experience of these two fighters, a comparison of their overall records could be highly misleading, but Tirta is confident that he is the superior mixed martial artist.
“I know he’s a champion from EFC in Egypt with a kickboxing background, but I saw one of his fights and I believe I’m a much better MMA fighter than him.”
Tirta has experience in Sanda and pro boxing, but is best known for his grappling and was recently awarded his black belt by legendary Indonesian trainer Niko Han. It’s a skill set that should make him a force to be reckoned with in ONE FC’s 135-pound division.
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