Zebaztian Kadestam Credits International Exposure to Four-Year Stint in PH

ONE Championship welterweight contender Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam might have been born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden, but he found his second home 5,792 miles away from his birthplace.
With a professional record of nine wins and three losses, Kadestam believes that the well-established mixed martial arts scene in the Philippines played a pivotal role in his career and to where he is presently.
Kadestam is one of the few foreign nationals who opted to make a run for the money and compete professionally in the country, joining the industry’s household names such as Pete Brooks, Hideo Morikawa, Nicholas Mann, and fellow ONE Championship competitor Igor Subora.
The 26-year-old Swedish striker raised his stock as a cage combatant in the Philippines, training out of Legacy Gym in Boracay, Aklan under the tutelage of decorated kickboxer Ole Laursen since 2012.
Kadestam had four exciting bouts in the Philippines, including an 11-second stoppage of Finnish rival Glenn Sparv in April 2016 to capture the welterweight championship of a regional promotion.
Kadestam’s impressive run in the local mixed martial arts circuit served as his footstool to be noticed by ONE Championship, which is widely regarded as the premier organization of the sport in Asia.
When asked if the Philippines had a big contribution to his success, Kadestam simply replied, “Definitely, I would not have come to this country if I were not certain of having a career here.”
“The Philippines is my home away from home. It’s a beautiful country. My stay in the Philippines for four years sparkplugged my professional career in the sport. I am grateful for everything that this country has given me,” he added.
A late withdrawal opened up an opportunity for Kadestam to jump to the upper echelon of ONE Championship’s welterweight division.
After Vuyisile Colossa was forced to withdraw from his bout, Kadestam agreed to replace him on two weeks notice and test his mettle with former ONE Welterweight World Title challenger Luis “Sapo” Santos on the undercard of ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES last May.
Kadestam made headlines when he defeated Santos as the little-known Swede had been completely dominated in the opening two rounds of the contest before pulling off a miraculous knockout in the final stanza.
“The Bandit” turned the tide midway of the third round by sprawling a sluggish takedown attempt from the Brazilian, then reversed position, and hammered his opponent with strikes from side control.
A pair of hard knees put the finishing touches as the referee stepped in to call a halt to the match at 2:18 of the third and final frame.
Kadestam’s astounding victory over Santos swiftly earned him a world title opportunity as he is set to lock horns with the toughest opponent of his professional career in Ben “Funky” Askren.
Both men are set to face each other in the main event of ONE CHAMPIONSHIP: SHANGHAI, which happens at the 15,000-capacity Shanghai Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai, China on Saturday, 2 September.
With a few days to go before the biggest bout in his prizefighting stint, Kadestam vows to shock the world once more as he shares the ONE Championship cage with Askren, who is universally recognized as one of the best welterweights in the world today with an immaculate record of 16-0.
“I am no pushover. I am not someone’s footstool. On September 2nd, I will once again shock the world. Ben Askren is only a man, and he is beatable. The belt will soon be mine,” he declared
Askren is highly regarded for his outstanding wrestling background that earned him two NCAA Division I national championship trophies and the privilege to represent the United States at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Known by the moniker “Funky,” Askren made an impact in his first two assignments in ONE Championship, submitting Bakhtiyar Abbasov with an arm-triangle choke in his May 2014 promotional debut before thwarting Nobutatsu Suzuki in the first round to claim the organization’s coveted welterweight crown three months later.
Askren is coming off a spectacular first-round submission triumph over Malaysia’s Agilan “The Alligator” Thani this past May, keeping his unbeaten standing intact and the ONE Welterweight World Championship belt around his waist.
Despite the uphill task of defeating Askren, there is not an ounce of doubt in Kadestam’s mind.
“I wish I could sit there with some popcorn and watch this fight myself,” he stressed. “It is going to be a war!”

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Kadestam Reveals Being an Underdog Only Gives Extra Drive to Win in Clash Against Askren

​​Kadestam relishes underdog role against Askren, looks to shock the world again

While many cageside observers are counting out Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam in his ONE Welterweight World Championship clash against longtime division kingpin Ben “Funky” Askren, the Swedish standout revealed that his underdog role gives him the extra drive to have his hand raised in triumph.
Kadestam faces Askren in the main event of ONE CHAMPIONSHIP: SHANGHAI, which takes place at the 15,000-capacity Shanghai Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai, China on 2 September.
Competing for the first time in a world title contest, the 26-year-old native of Stockholm, Sweden stressed that being an underdog in the five-round welterweight championship encounter with Askren heightens his hunger to walk away with the gold-plated strap around his waist.

“It’s good to be an underdog because it boosts my motivation to win. When you’re an underdog, others believe that you have a small chance to win. But in some instances, some competitors use it as an extra drive in their fights,” Kadestam said.

For the second-straight time under the ONE Championship banner, Kadestam will be sitting in the blue corner, where underdogs or challengers are designated in a match.
Although Kadestam was representing the blue corner, he won his last cage outing, making a successful promotional debut last May when he defeated top welterweight contender Luis “Sapo” Santos of Brazil by way of third-round knockout.

“Blue is a lucky color for me this year. I have no problem if I will be in the blue or red corner. What matters right now is that I’m vying for the world title, and I am going to give everything to capture the belt,” Kadestam stated.

Kadestam’s astounding victory over Santos swiftly earned him a world title opportunity as he is set to lock horns with the toughest opponent of his professional career in Askren.
Kadestam made headlines when he defeated Santos at ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES in Singapore nearly four months ago.
The incredible feat was especially impressive because the little-known Swede had been completely dominated in the opening two rounds of the contest before pulling off a miraculous knockout in the final stanza.
Kadestam turned the tide midway of the third round by sprawling a sluggish takedown attempt from the Brazilian, then reversed position, and hammered his opponent with strikes from side control.
A pair of hard knees put the finishing touches as the referee stepped in to call a halt to the contest at 2:18 of the third and final frame.

“I do not think I have ever fought like that before. I was waiting and waiting because I could feel his power, especially in the first two minutes. He had power in everything. He was fast in his hands and knees. My plan was to attack a lot more, but I could also see him gas early,” Kadestam shared.

Following his scintillating performance against Santos, Kadestam vows to shock the world once more as he shares the ONE Championship cage with Askren, who is universally recognized as one of the best welterweights in the world today with an immaculate record of 16-0.

“I am no pushover. I am not someone’s footstool. On September 2nd, I will once again shock the world. Ben Askren is only a man, and he is beatable. The belt will soon be mine,” he declared.

With less than two week to go before the biggest bout in his prizefighting stint, Kadestam did not mince words about his excitement as his dream to become a world champion is within his reach.


“The bigger the obstacle, the greater the glory. He is at the top. I want in. I am here to fulfill my destiny,” he concluded.

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