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Unfamiliar foes Martin Nguyen, Ilya Freymanov ready for anything in key ONE on Prime Video 2 matchup

The former divisional king and the Russian knockout artist will meet on September 30 in U.S. primetime.
martin-nguyen

After a bounce-back win in his last outing, Martin Nguyen (14-5) hopes to continue his journey back toward the top of the featherweight ranks against a tough newcomer on Friday, September 30.

The former divisional king will face Ilya Freymanov (10-2) on the main card of "ONE on Prime Video 2: Xiong vs. Lee III," and he's expecting a stiff test at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Nguyen admits he isn't too familiar with the Russian debutant, who earned a contract with ONE Championship after putting together a 10-1 record on the regional circuit.

But given that Freymanov has scored eight of his wins via knockout, "The Situ-Asian" knows he must be wary of the stand-up exchanges.

"I don't know anything about him," the No. 3-ranked featherweight contender said. "He trains with a very good friend of mine, Rafael Fiziev, a top-level kickboxer.

"And I assume – just going off the words of my coaches and a few videos that I've seen – that he's a top-level kickboxer as well, so I'm just going to be sharp on the day."

Of course, Nguyen dominated the featherweight MMA division for years with his own concussive striking, so he isn't fazed by the prospect of a toe-to-toe battle.

At the same time, he'll be ready to adapt when he meets the Russian inside the ONE circle.

Given Freymanov's reputation as a finisher on the feet, the former world champion doesn't want to let his own ego dictate the proceedings. Instead, he'll be willing to fight in any range in order to earn the pivotal victory.

"Styles make fights, so we'll see what happens," the 33-year-old said. "I'm going to come in there – I might bang, I might come in there with my wrestling. I don't know. 

"I recently got my Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, so if it hits the ground, I'm not sure if he wants to be with me on the floor. I'll make him look like a fish out of water. That's for sure. 

"But yeah, we've got to start on the feet no matter what. It works in his favor as a kickboxer, so we'll put him to the test."

Freymanov hopes to make a name for himself against Nguyen

Freymanov knows he's been handed a massive opportunity to face former two-division ONE world champion and current No. 3-ranked featherweight contender Nguyen.

As a fresh face on the global stage, the 26-year-old Russian could have been given a lower-profile opponent for his debut, but he's not someone who turns down a challenge.

"I'm not surprised (I got a ranked fighter in my debut)," the Kuzyna Fight Club and Tiger Muay Thai representative said. "I believe that the top three, if not all five, have already fought each other, and they need some fresh blood. I'm excited to be that fresh blood, and fighting No. 3 is a great chance to get closer to a title fight. 

"If (ONE CEO) Chatri (Sityodtong) gave me that chance, why should I turn it down? I'm happy with what ONE is offering me right now. Maybe this is luck, but luck comes to the strongest and those who are ready."

Meanwhile, Freymanov's record speaks for itself.

With eight knockouts among his 10 victories – and riding a dominant three-fight winning streak – he's confident in his ability to stand and trade with one of the division's most dangerous punchers.

But just like Nguyen, he thinks his all-around MMA game is strong enough to earn the victory in any area of combat.

That means he'll be prepared for anything on fight night, but above all, he would love to score a highlight-reel finish and prove that he belongs among the best in the weight class.

"I am going to have the advantage in the standup," Freymanov added. "I think that Martin may not want to stand with me for a long time, and he's going to try to bring me to the ground, but he won't last there much longer either. In general, I'm ready for any kind of scenario, on the ground and in the standup.

"My advice to the audience is to not blink and watch the fight carefully so they don't miss my win. I will be looking to deliver a beautiful knockout."

This story first published at ONEFC.com.