Gadzhimurad Abdulaev is set for the biggest fight of his career at ONE: ‘Unbreakable’. The Russian faces former welterweight champion Zebaztian Kadestam.

He is coming off a decision win over Brazilian Muay Thai specialist Carlos Prates at ONE Warrior Series 6. Abdulaev thinks that should stand him in good stead ahead of Friday’s fight,

“I‘ll tell you, that fight was the hardest fight in my career. My fight was on Thursday, I flew from Moscow on Sunday night and I caught the flu, so I was sick for that period of preparation. Then during fight day, I was also sick. I didn’t try to show this to the doctors because I wanted to fight. Mentally, it made me so strong, so I think I learned a lot of things from it,” he recalls.

No pressure

That was Abdulaev’ first fight in Singapore. His second takes place this week and the Russian says he doesn’t feel any extra pressure as he prepares to face a former champion,

“It’s not really pressuring me. I’m training twice every single day, so mentally and physically, I am ready,”  he said.

Kadestam has a background in Muay Thai and is known for his striking but Abdulaev says he is working on becoming more well rounded,

“I think my physical strength, my conditioning, and wrestling are my biggest strengths. Of course, grappling and wrestling are the best words to describe me, but I am trying to develop myself in every aspect. I am working hard on my boxing skills, as well as improving my legs.”

Straightforward strategy

He admits that the game plan will not be complicated. Abdulaev plans to put Kadestam in his back and keep him there,

“The plan is just hands up, wait for my chance to put him down to the ground, and do my job there.”

Abdulaev has spent the majority of his career competing in Asia and has registered wins over two Brazilian opponents. He is confident that Kadestam will suffer the same fate that Prates and Alisson Barbosa did,

“I will do the same thing. I will go and show what I am capable of,” he said.

He has to go the full 15 minutes with Prates and is not expecting an early finish this week either,

“Zebaztian is a very patient fighter, and I have to expect a long-haul, all-round fight. I have to be ready to be patient and fight for all the rounds.”

Big message

The ONE Championship welterweight belt has changed hands frequently. There have been seven title fights so far and four men have succeeded in claiming the strap.

Kiamrian Abbasov is the latest incumbent and Abdulaev wants to send a message to him, and the rest of the welterweight division, with a win over his predecessor this week,

“Definitely there will be a big message for the other fighters, too. My goal is to get the belt and if I beat Zebaztian, it will definitely show how eager I am to get it.”