Amir Khan is facing a renowned Sanda champion at ONE: Ascent to Power on Friday night (local time). The Singaporean is hoping for a striking battle because he wants to showcase his Muay Thai skills against Zhang Jing Xiong,
“I’ve been working on my Muay thai with Lumpinee champion Saketdao Petpayathai at Evolve MMA and you guys are gonna be surprised with my striking game as it is up by a whole new level,” he told MMA Weekly.
It won’t be the first time that Xiong has fought in Singapore. The Taiwanese lightweight competed on one of the first cards ever held in the country back in 2010, putting on a memorable war with current ONE Championship commentator Mitch Chilson.
Khan would have been just 15 years old at the time and although the fight made a few waves in the local scene he says he didn’t watch it until recently.
“I was aware of MMA back then, but I was not aware of Martial Combat and I only recently watched the fight on YouTube. He has won three fights in a row and has definitely improved a lot, but he better bring his ‘A’ game, if not it’s going to be an early night for him.”
Of Khan’s five ONE Championship fights to date only one has gone the distance, with him registering four stoppage wins and a solitary split decision defeat. The 21-year-old seems to be better at finishing opponents than outpointing them and he says he’s also been working on his submission game.
“All the BJJ black belt world champions on the Evolve team have been helping me to add more weapons in my grappling arsenal and I am dangerous on the ground. I’ve also been working with Heath Sims for my wrestling and I often drill MMA with ONE Championship fighters Eddie Ng and Benedict Ang.”
ONE championship recently introduced regulations to prevent fighters from dehydrating themselves to make weight. This will be Khan’s first time fighting under the new system and he’s happy that spending the last few hours of fight week in the sauna is now a thing of the past.
“I think ONE championship has made a great move in this new weight cut regulation because it is more healthy for the fighters in the long term and it will bring the best performance of the athletes on fight night.”
In response to the new regulations, Khan has decided to move up a division and this will be his lightweight debut. It’s a move that he confirms will be permanent and the Singaporean says it will allow him to perform to an even higher level on fight night.
“I plan on staying at this weight long term, as I feel healthier, stronger, and faster. My energy efficiency will be better and I will put on a great show for the fans.”
Before the Singaporean turned his attention to MMA, he was a very competitive Muay Thai fighter, who competed several times in Thailand. ONE Championship’s inaugural Bangkok card is coming up at the end of the month and Khan confirms he would love to be on it.
“Everyone has been talking about it at the gym and the Thai trainers are all hoping to fight in Bangkok, too. I train with Yodsanan daily and I’m very excited to see him back in action. I feel he will get the knockout and if everything goes well this week, I would love to be on that card myself.”
Khan was competing in professional Muay Thai at the age of 14, which means he has much more competitive experience than most MMA fighters of his age. He’s one of Singapore’s most exciting prospects and will be looking to put in a performance this Friday to make ONE Championship’s existing lightweights stand up and take notice.
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