Jonathan Haggerty will be defending his bantamweight Muay Thai belt for the first time at ONE Fight Night 19. He faces Felipe Lobo and the two men have already had an altercation in the Lumpinee Stadium ring.

There is clearly no love lost between them but Haggerty acknowledges that the Brazilian deserves the title shot,

“Lobo deserves it. He stopped Saemapetch. He’s a great fighter. There’s respect there in the fighter sense. I just feel like we’re going to jell well. His style is perfect for me. He’s a perfect target for me, and I just can’t wait to throw down with him.”

Haggerty clearly wants the fight but he is not convinced that Lobo does. The champion feels that the challenger has been a bit quiet and wonders whether he might be having second thoughts,

“When he defeated Saemapetch (Fairtex) he was calling my name in the ring, and then he was in the back room after the fight calling my name, but I think his adrenaline must have died down because I didn’t hear anything from him since.”

Not biting

It sounds like Haggerty was on a mission to try and get under Lobo’s skin. But the Brazilian did not bite and stoically ignored the two sport chapion,

“I was sending him messages telling him, ‘Come on, let’s have it’. I was commenting on social media trying to get him to bite, and he wasn’t coming back with anything, so I thought he must have lost his pen!” Haggerty explained.

It was Haggerty who decided to confront Lobo after stopping his teammate Fabricio Andrade at ONE Fight Night 16,

“After I beat Andrade he was in the corner and I just told him straight, ‘you don’t want it’. It’s not every day the champion is calling out a top contender. It should be the other way around.”

Heart and determination

Lobo was stopped in the third round by Nong-O Gaiyanghadao at ONE: ‘X’. That was back in 2022 when the Thai fighter looked unbeatable but Haggerty believes the Brazilian will also crumble under his pressure,

“If you put it on him, he doesn’t like it, and he’s going to crumble. I bring that style where I’m going to put it on you until the bell goes, so I’m just wondering how he’s going to cope with my pressure and my strikes.

Lobo earned the title shot after getting up off the canvass to beat Saemapetch Fairtex at ONE Fight Night 9. Haggerty admires his ‘heart and determination’ but warns that he hits a bit harder than the Thai veteran,

“He did great against Saemapetch. He came back from a knockdown and showed great heart and great determination, so this will be a great fight. But he won’t be getting back up after I hit him. That’s the difference.”

Slow starter

With the bantamweight Muay Thai title on the line both men will be wearing MMA gloves. Haggerty warns Lobo that he will be made to pay for making a slow start,

“I feel like Felipe starts very slow and he’s got a very Thai boxing style but you can’t relax like that against me.”

After back to back title wins at Lumpinee Stadium in 2023 confidence is clearly coursing through Haggerty’s veins. He returns to the scene of his greatest triumphs on February 17th and plans to put ‘a beating’ on Lobo,

“I just can’t wait to give him a beating. That’s all.”