Sichan shines, Saroth succumbs

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Khon Sichan earned a huge victory inside the cage on Friday. Supplied

Team Phnom Penh MMA and PROKOUT Top Team prospect Khon Sichan earned a huge victory inside the cage on Friday, as the Cambodian bested Indonesia’s Riski “King Kong” Umar in a catchweight showdown to kick off ONE Championship’s Kuala Lumpur event ONE: Visions of Victory.

What was billed as a battle between two elite strikers soon turned into submissions being traded on the mat, with both Umar and Sichan nearly finishing the contest in the first and second rounds.

Umar got the first near finish when he locked up a triangle choke in the opening round. It looked as if it might put the Cambodian away, but to his credit, he toughed it out before finally wiggling free. Then, it was a reversal of fortunes in the second frame. Sichan took the action to the mat, where he then fished for a rear-naked choke to put Umar away.

The back-and-forth action continued into the final round, with Sichan landing another takedown before moving into the mount. It led to “King Kong” reversing positions just before the match came to an end.

The judges did not have an easy job after such a close affair, but ultimately the nod went to Sichan by split decision. The Cambodian earned his first victory inside the cage, handing Umar his first professional defeat.

Kru Alan Mccune, head coach at Team Phnom Penh MMA and who has led Sichan as coach for the last four years, said a solid gameplan and training regime going into the fight helped capture victory.

“First of all, we are grateful that ONE Championship called Khon Sichan to match up against the Indonesian Riski Umar, said Kru Mccune. He [Umar] won his first two bouts within the first round and seemed to be on his way to stardom, “But we studied Umar’s style and saw that he was flat footed and only really threatened on his left kicks.”

“Sichan trained three weeks for the bout at Banteay Athletics Center under David Yim and Prokout Fight Gym under Chann Seyha. Also we had the luck to train with Kru Lach Vuty from the National Judo team and nutritional advice from Fredrik Carlsward and Andy Kent, a black belt in Goju Karate.

Kru Mccune also revealed that Sichan fought through the pain of a fractured hand.

“Sichan fractured his hand in the second round and didn’t tell me until the fight was over, that showed me his true warrior heart to go until the end. In the third round he couldn’t strike with his right, so we used elbows in the clinch which were effective.”

Looking forward, Kru Mccune said he hoped Sichan – and other fighters in the Team Phnom Penh MMA stable – would get the chance to fight internationally.

“Phnom Penh MMA will have more fighters selected in the coming months to take to the international stage and I have been asked to train some Indian fighters here in Phnom Penh, said Mccune.

“Sichan will rest two or three months, then we will see who is up next.”

Meanwhile, Cambodian Top Team talent Rin Saroth was unable to get past Malaysia’s own “Jungle Cat” Muhammad Aiman.

Aiman, who trains out of Bali MMA, has been working hard on improving his wrestling and overall ground repertoire. While he is always happy to stand and trade with an opponent, his vast improvements showed, and that led to a unanimous decision victory.

The hometown hero was fast and explosive from the start, as he brought Saroth to the mat several times over the course of the contest. He even closed out the second round with a gigantic slam.

“Jungle Cat” remained in control for the majority of the bout by using his superior grappling, and he nearly earned a finish in the final stanza when he put the Cambodian down and fished for a rear-naked choke submission.

Saroth survived, but that is all he did, as the unanimous decision went to Aiman. He moves his professional record to 4-2 overall, and finds himself on a two-bout win streak.

In the main event of the evening, Reece “Lightning” McLaren of Gold Coast, Australia turned in a spectacular performance by routing Malaysian hometown hero Gianni Subba, solidifying his position as a top contender in ONE Championship’s stacked flyweight division.

McLaren flaunted his fluid striking, repeatedly hammering Subba with stinging punches and lashing leg kicks. In the end, McLaren’s impeccable ground game secured the finish for “Lightning” as he forced Subba to wave the white flag with an arm triangle submission in the second round to win in a ONE Flyweight World Championship title eliminator.

In the co-main event, 22-year-old Agilan Thani authored another awe-inspiring performance, overwhelming ONE newcomer Amitesh Chaubey with his thunderous slams and powerful ground-and-pound.

The action began with strikes at the centre of the cage as Chaubey goaded Thani into a striking exchange. Once Thani was able to close the distance however, the Malaysian wrestler dumped Chaubey onto the mat and easily transitioned into full mount. From top position, Thani blasted Chaubey with ground strikes to finish the round. The second round saw much of the same from Thani, but after another overhead slam that ended in side control, Thani immediately locked in an Americana to force the tap.

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