Garry Tonon is one of the most decorated grapplers in the featherweight division. The BJJ black belt has won the World Championships twice and the Pan Asian Championships five times.

But Shamil Gasanov is clearly not intimidated by the American’s grappling credentials. The two men face off at ONE Fight Night 12 next week and the Russian believes he can hang with Tonon on the ground,

“I have more experience in MMA than Garry. I’ve also competed in BJJ, grappling, and freestyle wrestling, so I believe we have an equal chance on the ground.”

Only defeat

Tonon suffered the first and only defeat of his MMA career in a featherweight title fight at ONE: ‘Lights Out’ last year. He could not cope with the aggression of champion Thanh Le who finished the fight in under a minute.

It is the sole blemish on the American’s record and he has won his other seven ONE Championship fights. But it sounds like Gasanov will look to emulate Le by taking an aggressive approach at Lumpinee Stadium next week,

“I do a lot of grappling with black belts and leglock specialists. I also have extensive wrestling sessions with freestyle wrestlers. I never approach a fight with just a defensive strategy. I’ll be launching my attacks from the opening seconds of our bout,” he said.

The Russian is undefeated and holds a 13-0 record. But Gasanov’s first five wins all came at the expense of debutants so there were question marks hanging over the Russian ahead of his ONE Championship debut.


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Different threat

Gasanov silenced the doubters with a first round submission win over Kim Jae Woong. Tonon possesses a very different threat but it sounds like the Russian has been doing his homework,

“Tonon should not be underestimated. Both of us are skilled grapplers, and we pose a threat until the final second of the fight. Maintaining focus is crucial as a single mistake can cost the victory. He is particularly dangerous with his leglocks.”

The 27 year old earned the #5 spot after his win over the hard hitting Korean. With Tonon at #2 he knows that a title shot could well be on the line for the winner of next week’s fight.

Gasanov says he has had his sights set on Tonon for a while. He believes that a victory over the BJJ black belt would be enough to earn him a shot at the featherweight title,

“Fighting Tonon has been a dream of mine for a while. I have watched his fights in ADCC, and I consider him the most dangerous opponent in my division. I never look for shortcuts in my career, so I am fully prepared to face Garry. If I defeat Garry Tonon, I am confident that a title shot will be in my near future.”