Dagestani star Marat Gafurov (18-4) faces Ariel Sexton (13-4) in a lightweight contest this coming Friday as part of ONE 159 card which will go down inside Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat Gafurov will continue his journey in the lightweight division as he is set to welcome back the returning Ariel Sexton inside the ONE Circle after a three-year hiatus from action.
Speaking to ONE Championship ahead of the fight, the 37-year-old veteran expressed his excitement to be pitted against a fellow elite grappler and looked forward to an intriguing stylistic match-up that Sexton would bring in the fight.
“I wanted to be matched up with him. Ariel is a great and challenging opponent. We are both grapplers, he likes to attack and move forward, just like me. So, it’s an interesting challenge to check my skills and abilities against his,” Gafurov stated.
“We are similar – two aggressive grapplers. We prefer offense to defense. In a stand-up, we like to push forward. But I am physically stronger, and my control on the ground is better than his. Anything can go during the fight. Let’s see what happens,” he added.
Aside from Sexton, Gafurov is also confident that he is a problem to anyone in the lightweight division because of his unique set of skills that is heavily based on his top-level grappling capabilities, though his vastly improved striking game should not be overlooked as well.
“I am a dangerous fighter not just for Ariel, but for any opponent. It’s a very difficult task to take me down, and even harder to submit me. For a grappler like Ariel, this fight can get really hard if he fails to take me down because he will have to face me on his feet.”
Marat Gafurov Hopes to Get Back in the Win Column at ONE 159
Although he lost his previous outing to now ONE Lightweight World Champion, Ok Rae Yoon in April 2021, the ”Cobra” is eager to bounce back from that setback and vows to display a performance that would produce a spectacular result in his favor.
Gafurov even blurted out his fight plan in this particular match – to get an early victory over his Costa Rican opponent.
“I want to give the audience a spectacle of a fight. I have been away for a long time, so I want it to be a memorable show for them and for myself. I hope we have a chance to fight both in stand-up and on the ground. I am aiming for an early finish via submission or TKO.”
Featured image credits to ONE Championship.