Eko Roni Saputra‘s five ONE Championship fights have all finished in the first round. The Indonesian might seem like a man in a hurry but he is actually looking to take a more cerebral approach.

Saputra faces Liu Peng Shuai at ONE: ‘Battleground’ Part II which will be broadcast on Friday. He thinks composure will be a decisive factor in this flyweight fight,

“I feel that I am more relaxed and focused than before. I am focused on sharpening myself, how to be calmer, and how to control the match.”

He is a wrestler but feels that this contest could be decided in a different area,

“I have been sharpening my striking and learning more about the techniques in that department. Going against Liu Peng Shuai, since he will focus on striking, it will come down to me trying to use my training to match or even surpass him in that area.”

Progressing well

Saputra says he will not necessarily be playing to his strengths when he takes on the Chinese flyweight

“I see this as a challenge for me to focus on striking because, in some of my previous fights I have been more focused on the ground game, one punch and aiming for a takedown. That is why I would like to combine my attacks with more striking than grappling.”

He is aware that competing as a mixed martial artist is not the same as preparing for a wrestling competition and Saputra has been working on the elements of the sport which might not come so naturally,

“This is MMA, so we definitely have to master not only the ground game, but also the striking game so I am more challenged by perfecting my striking. So far, I feel that it is progressing well and hopefully I will get a good result.”

ONE Championship

Staying cautious

But it sounds like Saputra does want to get the fight to the ground. But he is wary of the threat Shuai will pose when he shoots,

“I predict that he will throw his knee whenever I shoot. Most strikers will wait for the right moment, when fighting a grappler, to counter the takedown attempt. But I will not let loose and be caught by his strikes. I will stay cautious and have prepared several strategies to win against him.”

Interestingly Saputra says he already had some boxing experience before joining Evolve MMA in Singapore,

“I am grateful that I experienced some boxing training with my father. Right now, I feel that I actually have good power in my punches, so I guess my training back then did not go to waste, although he was only an amateur trainer, which was quite different from my professional coaches at the moment.”

Calm and focused

It sounds like he is very confident in his striking. Saputra says he will take things slowly against Shuai and promises to showcase his new stand up skills,

“I don’t want to be too ambitious, I don’t want to rush. I will be calmer and more focused, and I will definitely play my striking game.”