Toni “Dynamite” Tauru is determined to keep his winning momentum going inside the ONE Championship cage as the Finnish fighters aims to claim his second consecutive victory under the umbrella of Asia’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) organization.
The 32-year-old native of Utti, Finland is set to square off with Filipino standout Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon in the co-headliner of ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY, which takes place at the 20,000-seater SM Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines on 21 April.
After falling short in his first two assignments as a ONE Championship athlete, Tauru broke into the promotion’s winning territory for the first time this past December by submitting Belingon’s teammate Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio with a rear-naked choke in the opening salvo.
Tauru wasted no time in the stand-up trade with the Team Lakay representative, shooting immediately for a single-leg takedown and pacifying Eustaquio on the canvas.
From there, Tauru used his size and strength advantage to power through a rear-naked choke to compel Eustaquio to wave the white flag and notch the win in the first round.
Fresh from his spectacular submission triumph over Eustaquio, Tauru sees his three-round bantamweight encounter against Belingon as an opportunity to establish his first winning streak in ONE Championship.
“This is my chance to keep my momentum going in ONE Championship. It’s not impossible. That’s why I am exerting a tremendous amount of effort in training. I want to keep on winning,” he said.
The man standing in Tauru’s goal to make it two in a row in ONE Championship is Belingon, a former bantamweight title challenger who rose to prominence as a fierce cage competitor with the ability to finish opponents in a variety of methods.
Belingon is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Tajik prospect Muin Gafurov, who defeated Tauru by way of third-round stoppage in January 2016.
Although Belingon is the heavy favorite in the marquee match-up versus Tauru on paper, the latter is fervent to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to walk out of the state-of-the-art SM Mall of Asia Arena with his name being announced as the winner.
“Kevin is a good striker. In his last fight, he showed that he now has a good takedown defense. He is also ONE Championship title challenger like me. However, he hasn’t fought a martial artist like me. I am always improving my arsenal and honing my craft,” he stated.
“I am extremely confident for this bout. It’s the perfect match-up to show the whole world my true capabilities as a top-notch competitor in this sport. I am not going to waste this opportunity. I am coming to Manila on April 21st to get my hand raised,” Tauru added.
Tauru looks at his upcoming bout as something more than a climb back up the bantamweight ladder or a chance to erase the memory of bad luck in ONE Championship.
The Finnish submission dynamo views it as an opportunity to visit the Philippines again and win over the passionate Filipino crowd.
“The Philippines is crazy over MMA. They know the sport so well. I know I am fighting their hometown hero. I see it as a challenge to gain their respect. It will be an awesome fight between Kevin and me. Expect that,” Tauru guaranteed.