Eko Roni Saputra is coming off back to back ONE Championship wins. The Indonesian has finished his last two opponents in the opening round and had a lot of momentum behind him.

Saputra is set to face Malaysia’s Murugan Silvarajoo  at ONE: ‘Reign of Dynasties’ next Friday and keeping up this momentum is very much on his mind,

“I think it’s essential to keep the momentum going, and this is the step I need to take to earn a title shot eventually,” he said.

Eko Roni Saputra punch 3

ONE Championship

Precarious position

His promotional debut did not go according to plan. Saputra was knocked out by Niko Soe at ONE: ‘Roots of Honor’ last year.

He bounced back to win his next two bouts but knows that debut loss leaves him in a precarious position,

“I’m going step by step. If I was already a top-ranked competitor, then a loss might not be a big problem because I would still be at the top. But for now, what I need to do is improve my rank.”

Saputra represented his country as a wrestler. But he is based full time at Evolve MMA in Singapore and says he has been working on his weaknesses,

“We will start it in a stand-up position, so we’ll strike a lot. Coach Siyar told me that I’d improved my striking capabilities, and maybe I will need to show that.”

Eko Roni Saputra punch

Bread and butter

But wrestling will always be the Indonesian’s bread and butter and he won’t hesitate to take the fight down if a suitable opportunity arises,

“But if it doesn’t work, then I’ll try to take him down because ultimately, I am a wrestler, so I am better at ground fighting. Then again, if I am not careful, I might get punched and knocked out. So, I need to be cautious and read the situation.”

His opponent is something of an unknown quantity. The Malaysian will be making his ONE Championship debut but reportedly has a background in boxing.

If Silvarajoo does find himself getting taken down early than the Malaysian can’t claim he wasn’t warned,

“Wrestling is already in my DNA, so I guess I’ll just focus on what I can do,” Saputra said.

Eko Roni Saputra

Valuable lesson

Saputra said he learned a valuable lesson from that devastating debut defeat,

“I will need to think positively and do my best. I have also learned from my first fight on maintaining control after executing a takedown. I’ve learned from experience to stay calm and read the game.”

However Saputra admits to feeling under pressure from fans to prove that he isn’t totally reliant on his wrestling,

“If I can win in a stand-up fight, then that would be great. My previous win was via submission, and I read some comments on social media that it was expected because the ground game is my expertise. So apparently, just getting a quick win was not enough.”