Marat Gafurov’s lightweight debut did not go according to plan. He was finished in the first round by Iuri Lapicus at ONE: ‘Warrior’s Code’.

The former featherweight champion is not accustomed to losing. He has fought 20 times and had his hand raised on 17 of those occasions.

But Gafurov, who faces Lowen Tynanes in a lightweight fight at ONE: ‘Collision Course’ this Friday, won’t be dwelling on the third loss of his career,

“Honestly I don’t really take it seriously because we are fighters and along the journey we lose and win so mentally it didn’t harm me at all because it’s part of my fight journey,” he said.

Litmus test

Gafurov will be hoping his journey takes an upward trajectory at the Singapore Indoor Stadium this week. Tynanes is undefeated and one of the larger fighters in the lightweight division but the Russian sees the bout as a good litmus test,

“My opponent is physically strong and what I’m planning is if I win this fight it will give me a boost in the rankings and this is what im looking for.”

Gafurov has been doing just fine in the featherweight division, he was the champion for two years. But the 36 year old says making weight was getting more difficult,

“The main reason to change division was because of my age and it’s getting harder to cut weight.”

He also hinted at some extenuating circumstances behind the loss to Lapicus,

“There were circumstances that affected me in my lightweight debut which I won’t go into but in this fight I will show that there’s a reason why I changed division.”

Fit and ready

Fighters with flaws in their game so not go undefeated for as long as Tynanes has. Gafurov knows what his opponents strengths are but doesn’t take any obvious areas of weakness,

“His wrestling is his number one strength, he is good in grappling but his standing is not bad too,” he said.

Gafurov admits he lost a little bit of fitness when Covid-19 restrictions prevented hin from training. But life in Dagestan is more normal now and he has had no issues with his fight preparation,

“It was different in the beginning because the gyms were closed and it was dificult for us but the gyms opened, I got fit and I am ready for this fight.”

Gafurov has a sneaky head kick and he feels his striking will be stronger than Tynanes’,

“The plan is fighting standing and try to avoid the wrestling and grappling but my main gameplan is to (enforce) my own rules and my game during the fight.”

Gafurov was M-1 featherweight champion before winning the same strap with ONE Championship. He is used to success and does not see why his lightweight run should work out any differently,

“In any organization my main objective is to be a champion, so my objective is to be a champion in this division.”