Leandro Ataides has won every single fight he has ever taken, but the last six victories have all come courtesy of a stoppage. It is a streak he is determined to extend when he faces Igor Svirid in a 185-pound title match at ONE FC: Battle of Lions.
Ataides went the distance in his first two professional fights, but he’s finished every opponent he has faced ever since and earned a shot at the inaugural ONE FC middleweight title on the back of two first-round knockout wins.
He knocked out Brayan Rafiq with a single punch in his ONE FC debut and then repeated the trick against Dream veteran Tatsuya Mizuno to move into pole position to contend for the belt in a bout that was initially scheduled for August.
ONE FC pushed the date back to early November because Ataides had to travel back to Brazil to see his sister, who is seriously ill, but he says he is determined to make up for lost time at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday night.
“I did not fight in Dubai because my sister is very sick and I went back to Brazil to see her, but I have been training for this fight for a long time already and I am hungry to win the ONE FC title.”
Ataides will be fighting in Singapore for the first time, but he has lived there for the last 18 months and is a member of the Evolve MMA Fight Team, so expects to get good support from the crowd.
“Evolve MMA is like family and many of my students tell me they are buying tickets to see me fight. It is my first time fighting in Singapore, so I want to perform very well.”
Svirid’s name might be a new one to many Asian MMA fans, but the Kazakh has won nine straight fights, and Ataides is adamant he will not be underestimating the ONE FC newcomer.
“For sure he is a strong fighter or he would not be fighting for the belt, but the Muay Thai trainers and BJJ black belts and Olympic wrestlers at Evolve MMA push me hard every day and I get the best training in the world, so I am not scared about what might happen in the cage because there is nothing an opponent can do that my teammates cannot.”
The last time Ataides went the distance was in his second fight back in 2009, when he won a decision over a more experienced Brazilian opponent. Since then, it has been stoppages all the way, with his two recent ONE FC wins both coming courtesy of first-round knockouts.
Ataides would like nothing more than to win the belt with a seventh straight stoppage win and he says that once the fight starts he simply flicks a switch and the gameplan goes out of the window.
“My coaches know I am aggressive fighter. They always come up with a good strategy for my fights, but if I can finish the fight quickly then why not? A knockout is better than a takedown.”