Aleksi Toivonen will make his ONE Championship debut next week. The Finnish fighter made a name for himself competing in his homeland and will be looking to take his career to the next level after relocating to Singapore.

Toivonen was selected to join the Evolve MMA fight team after a recent tryout. A contract offer from the biggest promotion in the region soon followed and the 27 year old faces Akihiro Fujisawa at ONE: ‘Masters of Destiny’ in Kuala Lumpur.

So far his professional bouts have all taken place in Finland where the flyweight has run up a respectable 6-1-0-1 record. Toivonen is not short on confidence as he prepares for the biggest fight of his life,

“I feel like ONE has the best flyweight division in the world. There’s a lot of talent on the roster, and it is the most talented division at the moment. I believe I have all the necessary attributes to become the champion.”

Overseas experience

The Finnish flyweight has competed overseas before. In 2014 he went to the IMMAF finals in Las Vegas but was beaten by Jose Torres, who is possibly the greatest amateur fighter in the history of the sport.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. Toivonen has built a successful career as a pro but says the self confidence has always been there,

“The biggest aspect I bring to the cage or ring is that I truly feel I was born to do this, I was made to do this. It’s just the great self-confidence I have.”

Toivonen has never been the distance, either as a pro or an amateur. He takes an aggressive approach to fights and always looks to finish,

“If you watch my previous fights, you will know I don’t play for points. I’m a lifelong martial artist, but in the most basic sense I’m also a fighter and I will always go for it.”

Big trip

The opportunity to compete at ONE: ‘Masters of Destiny’ would never have come about if Toivonen has not made the decision to travel halfway around the world and try his luck at the fight team auditions organized by Evolve MMA earlier this year.

The competition was intense, with several existing ONE Championship and ONE Warrior Series fighters hoping for a spot on the team. Toivonen would ultimately prevail and he thinks living and fighting in Asia will give him the platform to take his career to the next level,

“The Evolve tryouts (were) huge for me  and I’m really grateful for the opportunity to compete in ONE. It feels like the natural step forward,” he said.

Natural finishers

Fujisawa has a 5-1 record but is coming off a submission loss at ONE: ‘Roots of Honor’. Toivonen has been studying some of his opponent’s previous fights and the footage hasn’t exactly dented his confidence,

“Fujisawa is an excellent opponent, but every fight is a fight and everybody always brings their A game. So, I’m not going to give any specific predictions, but I can tell you that I’m going to do everything to get my hand raised in Malaysia.”

The last time Fujisawa went the distance was an amateur fight in 2008. Like Toivonen he almost always finished opponents and the Finnish flyweight doesn’t expect the judges will have a job to do during next week’s contest,

“Neither of us is a decision fighter. You have a clash of two guys that you more or less know will either end up finishing or be finished so how do you think that is going to go?”