Combat Sports

Garry Tonon vs Koyomi Matsushima: Fight Breakdown and Prediction

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ONE: Big Bang brings us a monumental co-main event fight. #5 ranked ONE featherweight contender Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon gets his career’s biggest test as he takes on the #3 ranked ONE featherweight contender Koyomi “Moushigo” Matsushima. This featherweight showdown may be a title-eliminator match, supposing the current champion Thanh Le’s next match will be defending his belt not against former champion, Martin Nguyen.

Garry Tonon is undefeated in his MMA journey, finishing all five of his opponents in spectacular fashion. Tonon will have his first taste of a ranked opponent in the ever-dangerous, Koyomi Matushima. The impressive Matsushima earned a title shot after his shocking knockout win over former champion Marat Gafurov. He may have come up short in achieving gold, but he showed that he isn’t someone whom anyone can take lightly.

This fight is a guaranteed entertainer. Let’s get into it and take a look at the matchup and clash of styles!

Intriguing Standup

Intriguing, that’s the word that best describes how the standup match between Tonon and Matsushima will go. On paper, it is clear that Matushima has the edge, given the Karate background that he has. Matushima is excellent in setting up his kicks, especially that lead leg roundhouse kick. It is lovely how creative he is in his striking. However, even though Tonon doesn’t have a solid striking foundation, he has shown that impressive improvement in this area of the game. Tonon has shared the stage with formidable strikers in his past fights and was not in any way owned in the standup game.

Garry Tonon is a hard man to catch. So far in his early career, he has built an impression of being a shifty and very mobile striker. His constant head movement and stance shifting give confusion to his opponents. The beauty of Tonon employing a shoot-boxing style is that whenever his opponents focus too much on reading his movements, he then shoots for a takedown.

In terms of power, Matushima sure does have the edge. He carries power in both of his hands, but as his presented fighting style, Matsushima is more kick-oriented. He prefers to touch his opponents through kicks. One of Matsushima’s most lethal weapons is his vicious leg kicks. It is his setup for his biggest blows and fight-ending strikes.

It is interesting how both men will approach the standup game. Matushima will come into this fight knowing that he has the advantage on the striking, but he won’t get too aggressive as that will present some openings for a takedown. Matsushima will definitely chop down on Tonon’s legs to slow his movements down, as he has always done in his previous fights. On the contrary, it is hard to see that Tonon knocks Matsushima out with a single punch. Tonon will have to work and accumulate strikes in order to do damage but Matsushima has proved to have a strong chin.

Garry Tonon has got what it takes to keep up with Matsushima in the standup. Tonon’s head movement helped him not absorb a very significant strike to the face in his 5-fight career. But he shouldn’t hang in there for the rest of the fight. The biggest factor that plays in this aspect is Matushima’s experience. As much as how Tonon has developed into a striker, Matsushima is far superior.

The Deep Waters of Submissions

Multi-time BJJ World Champion Garry Tonon is arguably one of the best BJJ specialists to ever transition into MMA. His ground game is very hard to deal with, and when he ever takes an opponent down and secures hooks and positions, it’s pretty much over from there.

Koyomi Matsushima isn’t a slouch in the ground game either. He came from a Judo background and has developed his wrestling well. He has great control in the top position and loves to work ground and pound. In the Martin Nguyen fight, he showed quickness and technique in setting up his takedowns. However, Matushima might opt not to bring the fight to the ground.

Koyomi Matsushima won’t be too easy to take down, but again it only takes one mistake for Garry Tonon to capitalize. It is expected that Tonon will eventually look and shoot for the takedown, as much as he said that he is comfortable in the standup, it is a no-brainer that he brings the fight to where he has a great advantage.

There is little to analyze when this fight comes to the ground. Garry Tonon owns this area, Matsushima cannot let Tonon bring him to the ground because there is no way that he can survive being taken down and getting caught up in his back. Garry Tonon grappling superiority second to none. His creativeness and massive understanding of Jiu-Jitsu always brings danger to anyone.

Garry Tonon is excellently comfortable off his back, and much more when he controls the top position. Tonon has the crystal clear advantage in grappling. Should the fight go here, we might see another Garry Tonon highlight submission.

The Prediction

As exciting the buildup of this fight is, the prediction is that it won’t be a back-and-forth battle. This fight can only go either Garry Tonon dominating in the ground and eventually winning via TKO/submission, or Matsushima defending takedowns and picking Garry Tonon up with strikes.

Garry Tonon can standup with Matsushima but there is no way that he can constantly land significant strikes without receiving some in return. As much as Garry Tonon has improved, he still has more work to do and we do not know how much he has come in terms of striking. The goal is to not get hurt and inflict as much damage to win the fight. That is exactly what Garry Tonon will do, he will use his shoot-boxing as a setup for his takedowns.

Koyomi Matsushima hasn’t fought anyone with the degree of expertise that Tonon has in BJJ. The clash of styles, the explosive striking of Matushima versus the unique skillset of Garry Tonon, is a fight that is tailor-made for a finish.

For Koyomi Matsushima, winning this fight will set him apart, that he belongs to the elite. For Garry Tonon, this is where champions are molded. Taking on the biggest fight of his career and winning it will not only grant him a possible title shot, but it will be a statement that he is the next big thing.

Featured Image Credits to ONE Championship

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