Eddie "Silk E Smooth" Abasolo is more than ready to bring his unique brand of striking to the ONE circle.
In the opening bout of ONE on Prime Video 4 on November 18, the California native and promotional newcomer will square off with British star Liam "Lethal" Nolan in a lightweight muay Thai contest.
For the 36-year-old Abasolo, his arrival in ONE marks the pinnacle of his career thus far.
In many ways, that career started when he was just a kid looking up to his father – a kajukenbo karate black belt and one of the Bay Area's toughest competitors.
"My dad was pretty well known as a fighter in Vallejo. He had a lot of respect. So I remember when I was a kid, he told me, he said, 'Son, the day you can beat me, is the day.' So my goal wasn't to learn how to fight to beat him. But that was just always something that inspired me. Just seeing that your dad is the man and I just want to be just like him. Not just as a fighter, but as a father as well."
A bloody nose every day
The oldest of five siblings, Abasolo dabbled in karate at an early age but spent most of his childhood playing other sports like baseball and basketball.
Still, his father's influence stayed strong, and shortly after high school, he started training in muay Thai.
But although fighting runs in his family, "Silk E Smooth" began just like any other person – a total beginner.
"I remember I was the guy that walked into the gym and hit the bag as hard as I can with zero technique. I looked around and see if anyone's seen how hard I was hitting the bag."
Despite starting from scratch, the aspiring athlete soon moved from bag work to sparring. And he was willing to stand toe-to-toe with far more experienced strikers.
It certainly wasn't easy, but Abosolo's passion for "the art of eight limbs" allowed him to overcome the difficult early days.
"Then the people who are actual fighters there, when I would spar with them every day, it was a bloody nose. And then my interest just grew more and more, I wanted to learn more and more, and I wanted to be better than those fighters, eventually. So I took training seriously."
'A blessing in disguise'
Before long, Abasolo became known as one of the Bay Area's brightest up-and-coming fighters.
Always the showman, he loved – and still does – entertaining the crowds, drawing upwards of 300 people to each of his local bouts.
His early career wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, though. In the lone blemish on his amateur record, "Silk E Smooth" lost his amateur muay Thai world title, and as a result, he also lost a key relationship.
"I had a fallout with my coach. It's weird, I mean, I know, we all know how it goes from time to time, when you're winning, everyone loves you. When you lose, it's kind of like you get thrown under the bus, which is a blessing in disguise because it shows you who's really there for you."
To make matters even worse, Abasolo suffered a major knee injury during the fight:
"When I lost my fight, I tore my PCL," he said. "So it was like after I had to fall out, I was injured, and I didn't have a gym. But something was still pulling me, and I just continued to train."
For weeks, the young fighter trained in parks and backyards with his brother-in-law, hitting pads whenever they could.
Staying in shape would pay off, as Abasolo was invited to train at Combat Sports Academy alongside legendary American muay Thai stylist Kevin Ross.
"So that's where I was for the past, I would say nine years, where I got to train with Kevin Ross. I would say Kevin Ross contributed a lot to my growth and development as a professional fighter. I can't thank that man enough."
'Win the heart of the crowd'
"Silk E Smooth" is excited to showcase his fast-paced style of muay Thai on the global stage of martial arts. Fans should be excited, too.
Because while Abasolo represents a wave of American strikers currently making a splash at the highest level, he assures us that he'll bring something entirely his own into the Circle.
The Californian said:
"Whenever I fight, I always tell myself, 'Fight beautiful muay Thai, and win the heart of the crowd.' That's the main thing. I want to be an entertaining fighter.
"I don't know too many Americans that have the style that I do, not to say that I'm better or worse than any other Americans. But there's no other American that fights like me, I can honestly say that."
Entertainment aside, when he battles Nolan on November 18, Abasolo will have his hands full. The hard-charging Brit is a veteran of five wars inside the Circle and has won two of his last three.
"Silk E Smooth" respects what his foe brings to the table, but he's also ready to adapt on the fly.
"His strengths are, he has very good basics. He's very good, very strong Muay Thai. As far as his weaknesses, I don't know. It's hard to point out someone's weakness until you stand in front of them. Because no matter how many times I watch an opponent, every time I watch them, I'm watching a different version of them based on who's standing in front of them."
Abasolo says that he's "obviously" predicting a win, but he's not ready to plan out a precise plan to victory.
Instead, he's sticking by one simple rule:
"I'm just going there, do my thing, and win the heart of the crowd."
This story first published at ONEFC.com.