With seven stoppages, there was plenty of action at the recent ONE FC: Honor & Glory event, but the most memorable moment of the night came when Singaporean Radeem Rahman scored a dramatic second-round comeback win over Raymond Tan.
Having already seen one local fighter lose, the crowd feared the worst when Tan dominated the opening round, using his superior reach to keep Rahman at bay and rocking him with an uppercut and a head kick.
The Malaysian appeared to be on the verge of securing what would have been a very unpopular victory, but Rahman came out for the second round like a man possessed and immediately took Tan down and finished him with strikes to send the Singapore Indoor Stadium into a frenzy.
No one was more delighted than Rahman, who was fighting for the first time in nearly three years after suffering a series of injury problems. The Singaporean was delighted to claim a second win and prove his critics wrong by beating a bigger and more experienced opponent.
“After my first fight, some people said it was an easy fight and I got some criticism because of that, but Raymond is tough and if anyone doubted me before I think I proved them wrong,” he said.
Rahman did well to survive the first five minutes of the fight with Tan picking him apart, but says some words of wisdom in the corner completely changed the outcome.
“I have Heath Sims in my corner, who is one of the best coaches in the world, and he was very calm and just told me that I was still in the fight and that Raymond was standing tall and leaving himself open for the takedown,” he said.
With the words of the MMA veteran and former U.S. Olympian ringing in his ears, Rahman came out for the second round and executed Sims’ instructions to perfection, taking Tan down and stopping him with a barrage of ground and pound.
It was a remarkable comeback and Rahman believes his ability to recover from the torrid opening round and take on board his coaches’ instructions was down to the rigorous preparation he underwent in training.
“My coaches at Evolve MMA are world champion and they really help me to prepare. Even though I didn’t use the gameplan they set out for me in the opening round, I think having trained and sparred with Lumpinee champions and BJJ black belts every day made me more confident and that is why I didn’t panic even though I was losing the fight,” he said.
Rahman thinks it was this composure that enabled him to take the tactics with which his opponent had enjoyed so much success in the first round and use them against him.
“He was throwing everything 100 percent, trying to finish the fight, and I knew if I waited I could time him and take him down. The first round was tough because I was having problems with his range, but I had a very good training camp and I always believed I could win the fight,” he said.
The level of expectation surrounding Rahman after his first fight was intense because interest in MMA in Singapore was exploding, but at the time there were no other fighters for the local fans to cheer for.
Three years on and there are a handful of Singaporean fighters, but Rahman remains a popular figure, and having put his injury issues behind him he is hoping to compete more regularly.
“My body feels fine, I have no injury issues, and I plan to take a week off and then get back to training again. I leave it up to my Evolve MMA coaches to decide when I am ready to fight, but hopefully I will be back in the cage again soon.”
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