Asian MMA

Jonathan Haggerty Planning ‘Explosive’ Title Defense At ONE Fight Night 19

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Jonathan Haggerty ruled the bantamweight division in 2023. After claiming the ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing and Muay Thai World Championships, “The General” is ready to defend those thrones in the new year. First up, Brazilian Felipe Lobo will get his crack with four-ounce gloves at ONE Fight Night 19.

The seed for the battle was planted at ONE Fight Night 9. The “Demolition Man” knocked out Saemapetch Fairtex and called out the newly minted ONE Championship titleholder. But Haggerty felt like his foe’s enthusiasm waned in the following weeks and months.

“When [Lobo] defeated Saemapetch [Fairtex], he was calling my name in the ring, and then he was in the back room after the fight calling my name, but I think his adrenaline must have died down because I didn’t hear anything from him since,” Haggerty told ONE.

The two would come face-to-face at the end of 2023. When Haggerty claimed the kickboxing gold against Fabricio Andrade, Lobo was in his countryman’s corner. Haggerty was not shy in letting him know he had not forgotten the earlier callout.

“After I beat Andrade, he was in the corner, and I just told him straight, ‘You don’t want it.’ It’s not every day the champion is calling out a top contender. It should be the other way around. I just can’t wait to give him a beating. That’s all,” Haggerty recalled.

With the matchup inked, the Brit has taken a closer look at his challenger’s skill set. Needless to say, he has not been impressed. “The General” expects to keep his string of dominant performances rolling in Bangkok on February 16.

“I feel like Felipe starts very slow, and he’s got a very Thai boxing style, but you can’t relax like that against me. If you put it on him, he doesn’t like it, and he’s going to crumble. I bring that style where I’m going to put it on you until the bell goes, so I’m just wondering how he’s going to cope with my pressure and my strikes,” the Brit stated.

After a history-making 2023, the 26-year-old is feeling invincible. Haggerty anticipates another big performance in defense of his Muay Thai crown, but he is also preparing to go all five rounds against Lobo. But he is still eyeing a first-round victory to make an easy night of his first title defense.

“I’m going to come out of the blocks explosive, find the shots early in round one, and hopefully find what I’m looking for to get the job done. I always prepare for a five-round fight, but if you can get it done in round one or round two, then why not? And I feel like I’m in his head. I’m 1-0 up against his training partner. I heard that Andrade gets the better of him in sparring. I’m not too sure how true that is, but if it is, then, well, we’re going for round one,” Haggerty said.

ONE Fight Night 19 airs live on Friday, February 16. The action begins at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST on Prime Video. The event is free for all Amazon Prime subscribers based in the U.S. and Canada.

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Jeremy Brand started up this lovechild called back in 2009. It began as a hobby project and has turned into much more. In his spare time, you can find Jeremy on the mats, as he is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

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