19-year old Muin “Tajik” Gafurov is unbeaten as a professional mixed martial artist at 10-0, and will face Filipino-Australian Reece “Lightning” McLaren (8-3-0) in a three round bantamweight bout at ONE: GLOBAL RIVALS on April 15 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
Gafurov made his debut at ONE Championship against highly-regarded American standout Casey Suire last September, impressing the crowd with his all-out aggressive style. He defeated Suire by stunning spinning back kick to the body knockout.
Last January, Gafurov trumped Finnish MMA stalwart Toni “Dynamite” Tauru, winning by technical knockout in a tough, three-round battle.
Now, he continues in his quest for the pinnacle of the division by taking on McLaren.
24-year-old McLaren scored the biggest win of his young career in his last bout, a submission victory over Mark “Mugen” Striegl.
McLaren showcased great striking skills paired with a technical ground game which resulted in a spectacular come-from-behind finish.
The Gafurov-McLaren showdown will put two highly skilled fighters against each other. Both men have combined for a total of 18 victories, 17 of which have not heard the final bell. Expect an exciting clash of premiere finishers when Gafurov and McLaren finally meet each other inside the cage.
ONE Championship is currently in Tajikistan holding fighter tryouts at League Combat Sambo and Mixed Martial Arts gym. The organization is looking towards central Asia, scouring the region for talent to expand its growing roster of top caliber athletes.
If Gafurov is a preview of the kind of fighters Tajikistan can produce, then the country is in a great position to quickly become an MMA powerhouse.
Currently, Gafurov is the most talented fighter to come out of the country. The young prospect from Dushanbe also proved that he is a force to be reckoned with in ONE’s bantamweight division.
The reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion is Brazil’s Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes. If Gafurov can keep his winning streak alive against McLaren, he’s in a great position to land a title shot.