Hiroyuki Tetsuka returned to winning ways as he outstruck Agilan Thani in a savage battle at ONE: ‘NextGen’ Part II. The former Pancrase champion dropped a unanimous decision to Murad Ramazanov a year ago but got back in the win column here in impressive fashion.
Thani had also not competed for almost a year having lost to Tyler McGuire in December. Both fighters showed plenty of heart in the contest, but it was the superior power from Tetsuka that shone through in the end.
Thani moved in and tagged Tetsuka with a right hand early on. Tetsuka capitalized on a sloppy body kick from Thani before wrapping up the 26 year old and bringing him to the canvas.
Transitioning from half guard, the Japanese fighter moved to take Thani’s back. ‘The Alligator’ defended well as both fighters soon found their way back to their feet. Thani landed a solid cross on the inside.
But as the Thani threw another body kick – Tetsuka saw it coming and was able to complete the takedown. The Japanese fighter began dropping bombs from the top position as he cracked Thani with the right hand before moving to full mount.
He was soon at Thani’s back and about to get the rear naked choke locked in but once more the Malaysian escaped. When the pair got back up the former welterweight title challenger used the opportunity to wrap Tetsuka up from behind before completing a lovely body slam.
Showing good improvisation, Thani then saw another body kick caught by Tetsuka but this time he followed up with a spinning back elbow. The Malaysian landed with a trio of right uppercuts at the start of the second round.
He completed a takedown up against the fence as he used his weight well to land on top of Tetsuka. When they returned to the center of the circle, Tetsuka utilized his range to land a slick body shot with each hand.
With both fighters trading some solid punches, Thani looked light on his feet and began to unleash some low kicks. Tetsuka sought to add more power to his shots as the round drew to a close as he pushed Thani to the canvas.
The 31-year-old tagged his opponent with some ground and pound with Thani’s left eye left visibly cut as he made his way to the stool. Thani opened up with a one-two combination at the start of the third and followed up with an uppercut.
The younger fighter produced his best sequence of the fight with around two minutes left in the contest. Having landed with a left-right combo, he clipped the top of Tetsuka’s head with the high kick.
He then let his hands fly and tagged his opponent with a flurry of clean shots. The fight had evolved into a real war, but it was Tetsuka came back into it with a vengeance to take the victory.
The Tochigi-born fighter smashed Thani with a right hand and a left hook. The left hooks to the body over the course of the fight may have taken their toll on the Malaysian as he began to move gingerly.
Another left hook came flying before Tetsuka cracked his opponent with another right. Sensing the finish, Tetsuka then unleashed a barrage of monster left-right combinations as the referee called a stop to the contest at 3.45 in round three.
The win extends Tetsuka’s record to 10-4 while Thani slips to 10-6. With the contest taking place at a catchweight it will be interesting to see which division the Japanese fighter chooses in future.
Best of the rest
Tang Kai (13-2) knocked out Yoon Chang Min (5-2) out in the opening round of their featherweight fight. A left hook from the Chinese fighter did the damage and this should be enough to earn him a spot in the top five.