Keanu Subba made his pro MMA debut in Kuala Lumpur in 2011, just a few months before the inaugural ONE Championship card. Four year’s later he was picked up by the promotion and the 28 year old has been on the roster ever since.

He has 13 fights as a professional and five as an amateur and has been on the scene for over a decade. Later this month he will be taking on an opponent who also got an early start and has been on the ONE Championship roster for even longer.

Amir Khan made his pro debut in 2014 and was signed by ONE Championship the same year. He faces Subba at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on August 26th but the Malaysian doesn’t sound too impressed by the skillset of his Singaporean opponent,

“I think he’s very basic. Like his whole game is just basic, and the way he approaches ground fighting is very one-dimensional. But don’t get me wrong. He is a great fighter when it comes to the stand-up department,” Subba said.


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Right strategy

While Subba feels his opponent’s only threat comes on the feet he still has plenty of respect for Khan’s striking game,

“If you let him play that game, anyone is going to be in for a long, grueling night against him or get finished before the final bell. So, I have to find ways to exploit his weaknesses. With the right strategy, I will certainly show all his weaknesses when we meet.”

Reading between the lines it sounds like Subba believes his opponent’s weakness is his ground game. But he knows that finding a way to exploit that weakness will not be easy,

“Amir is a veteran, man. He knows what he is doing. If I want to exploit his weaknesses, I need to take my time and approach it with a good plan.”


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Path to victory

While Subba believes making it a striking match is his opponent’s only path to victory he feels there are many ways he can win the fight at ONE 160,

“I’m confident on the feet, just as I am confident on the ground. Taking him down won’t be the only way that I will bring him down (because) I feel like I’ve got better hands and better striking than him too.”

Khan is hoping to finish the Malaysian with strikes. But Subba is so confident in his grappling that he believes one takedown could be all it takes,

“If I do take him to the ground it’ll be over real fast. If it comes in the first round, it’ll be even faster. But I know I can knock him out too, for sure.”


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Supremely confident

While he sounds supremely confident Subba knows that a patient approach will be required. His won’t make the mistake of rushing in and leaving himself open to Khan’s counters,

“I cannot just rush for the finish against a guy like Amir because I know he can reverse things in plenty of situations. I want to get the finish and the $50,000 USD but I refuse to rush myself inside the circle. I want to slowly work my way toward the win before I entirely focus just on finishing him.”

Both men were born in 2014, are competing in the same division and have been on the ONE Championship roster for a similar amount of time. Subba says he has had his sights on Khan for several years and is surprised the matchup didn’t materialize sooner,

“I knew, for sure, that one day I was going to compete against Amir. I honestly thought it would have come earlier on in our careers but it’s even better that we’ve matched up now because he has all the credentials. He’s got a good finishing rate and he was a former contender, so now’s the best time to beat him instead of before when he wasn’t famous or that hyped yet.”