Victory has been elusive in the ONE Championship Circle for Filipino flyweight Kaji “Alpha” Ebin, but he is not one to be discouraged.
Ebin is set to face hometown hero Eko Roni Saputra at ONE: DAWN OF VALOR in Jakarta on Friday and he sees this as the light at the end of the tunnel.
“I’m really excited to get back in the Circle, and at the same time there are nerves. I’m happy for another opportunity to show my skills, and to show that I am training really hard to get better,” Ebin said.
“This is my first match this year, and I want to showcase everything that I worked hard for and sacrificed for throughout the years.”
A decorated taekwondo star back in college, the 27-year-old failed to carry his collegiate success into The Home Of Martial Arts as he dropped his first two matches.
In his debut at ONE: HEROES OF HONOR in Manila last April 2018, Ebin suffered a shoulder injury and gave the TKO win to Akihiro “Superjap” Fujisawa.
The pride of Santa Maria, Bulacan then dropped his second-straight bout after he got submitted by Rudy “The Golden Boy” Agustian of Indonesia at ONE: PURSUIT OF GREATNESS in Yangon, Myanmar.
“I’m really hungry for a win since joining ONE. I was given multiple chances before, but I wasn’t fortunate to get a win. Now I’ll do everything to finally get that breakthrough,” Ebin said.
“I have learned a lot in those two losses. I know I have to work extra hard, especially in my overall game and conditioning. This Friday, I’ll show all those improvements inside the Circle.”
The man standing in his path is Saputra, who like “Alpha,” also seeks his first victory in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
Saputra is a multiple-time Indonesian National Wrestling Champion who captured silver and bronze medals at the Southeast Asian Games. He also trains with multiple World Champions at the famed Evolve Fight Team and will carry a massive hometown advantage into his match-up with Ebin this coming Friday.
The Filipino is wary of the danger that Saputra presents, but he is confident he can overcome the Indonesian juggernaut.
“Eko Roni Saputra is a big man. On top of his wrestling game he also has good striking, and at the same time he’s very agile. That’s why I’m really working hard for this, because I know this won’t be easy,” Ebin said.
“But for me, I’m the faster athlete, especially in striking. We have an excellent game plan this Friday and if my plan succeeds, I believe that I can knock him out in the first or second round.”
Knowing what is at stake for him and his career, expect “Alpha” to treat this match as if it is his last.
“I’ll give everything because this is for all the people who believe in me, particularly my family and my UGB MMA family. I want to show that I deserve my spot here in ONE and that I improve every time,” he said.
“I want to end the year strong and I have no plans to lose again. I will do everything to get that win in Jakarta.”
ONE Championship returns in less than two weeks with ONE: DAWN OF VALOR on 25 October at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The main card will air live on ABS-CBN S+A at 9:30 p.m.
The Home Of Martial Arts then returns to the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines for ONE: MASTERS OF FATE on 8 November.
Get your tickets here and use the code ‘onewarrior’ for 20% discount.
Watch both shows for free by downloading the ONE Super App.
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