Amir Aliakbari lost his first two ONE Championship fights by first round stoppage. The Iranian could not have got off to a worst start but he is back on track now.

Aliakbari comes into this weekend’s match with Dustin Joynson having won his last two fights. He is already talking about title shots and knows exactly what he wants to do after beating the Canadian,

“After my big loss to him, Anatoly Malykhin became stronger and prouder of himself. It’s my job now to break (him).”

Three finishes

Aliakbari has no chance of challenging for the title if he doesn’t beat Joynson. The two will face off at ONE Fight Night 12 which is set for Saturday morning (local time) in Bangkok.

Joynson has a win and a loss from his two previous ONE Championship fights. Neither performance was particularly impressive and Aliakbari is very confident he will be able to make it three finishes in a row,

“Dustin is a good fighter. He has a strong chin and stamina, but his weak points are my strong points. This fight will be over before we reach a decision.”

Impressive turnaround

It has been an impressive turnaround for Aliakbari. He hinted that some issues with his training camp might have been behind the two losses,

“In the beginning when I began my career in ONE Championship, conditions were very difficult for me and that’s why I failed in my first two fights. But after that the changes I made in my team and the camps that we had in Russia (helped me) correct the mistakes I had made in earlier fights.”

At ONE 164 he faced former heavyweight champion Brandon Vera. Aliakbari sent the UFC veteran into retirement with a first round stoppage win and feels he has ‘regained his confidence’,

“I loved the fight against Brandon because he is a fighter with a lot of experience. When I defeated him, I regained my confidence. I was
very happy and proud.”

Rematch reality

Should Aliakbari prevail this weekend he is tipped to compete on ONE Championship’s upcoming Qatar card. The Iranian has made it clear that his dream fight is a rematch with Malykhin in the Middle East,

“I would really like that to happen. I hope it happens.”

Having easily overcome former champion Arjan Bhullar at ONE Fight Night 22 last month the Russian is in need of a new challenger. Should Aliakbari win this weekend he will surely be the #1 contender and that rematch in Qatar could become a reality.