Skip to main content

ONE 158: 4 things to know about heavyweight kickboxing star Rade Opacic

Serbian star looks to keep win streak intact, earn title shot against Guto Inocente this Friday in Singapore.
rade-opacic

Rade Opacic is looking to keep his hot streak of knockout victories intact at ONE 158 on Friday.

The heavyweight phenom will attempt to grab his fifth consecutive win, as well as line himself up for a crack at the inaugural ONE heavyweight kickboxing world title, when he meets Brazilian slugger Guto Inocente at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Ahead of his next battle, which is all but guaranteed to produce fireworks, learn four things you may not have known about the Serbian wrecking machine.

1. Kickboxing wasn't his first martial art

Opacic may be one of the most destructive kickboxing stars on the ONE Championship roster. But the discipline wasn't his first foray into martial arts. 

Instead, the heavyweight's first step on his combat sports journey came through taekwondo.

"At the age of 10, I started doing a little taekwondo. I was OK. I was learning how to kick. It was good, but again, I didn't find myself in it," he said.

The South Korean martial art, which mainly focuses on a variety of kicks, was something he used to keep him out of trouble on the streets.

But at 14 years old, the Serb discovered kickboxing, and from there, he instantly had his heart set on it.

2. One match that evolved him into star he is today 

Opacic is constantly trying to evolve his game to seal his reputation as the most dangerous man on the planet.

But that grit and determination were only possible due to a stinging defeat.

In June 2019, the kickboxing colossus won a four-man competition in his hometown of Belgrade, Serbia, to quality for the big heavyweight tournament happening at Enfusion 92 later that December. However, when he flew to Abu Dhabi for his semifinal matchup, he fell to Martin Pacas via unanimous decision and was eliminated.

It was tough for Opacic to accept the result. But instead of drowning himself in negativity, he returned to the gym, trained harder, and added more weapons to his already well-equipped arsenal.

"In 2019, I won an Enfusion four-man heavyweight tournament in my city, Belgrade. It was a qualification for the final tournament that happened after, and I got to the final but lost by decision," he shared.

"I got some losses and they were tough times, but from that, you have to get stronger, more serious, and work on your mistakes."

3. The song that fires him up

Like most athletes, Opacic has a playlist that keeps him sharp throughout his training sessions.

The 24-year-old gets into "fight mode" by listening to hip-hop artists like French Montana, Drake, and Lil' Wayne. 

But when it's game time, the 6-foot-7 striker walks out to the ONE circle accompanied by "Hriste Boze," an old Serbian war song that gets his adrenaline pumping.

"I don't listen to it all the time. But when you hear it, it really pumps you up and gives you motivation for training, for fights, for anything," he said.

"It's really pumped up music that (makes you feel like) it doesn't matter who's in front of you, you're going to go and try to hurt him."

4. He shares record for most knockouts in ONE Super Series

The Serbian tank has a knack for knocking his opponents out – and his ONE Championship resume backs that up.

Opacic has amassed a 4-0 slate in the promotion, sending all his foes to sleep inside the second round. 

The phenom shut Errol "The Bonecrusher" Zimmerman's lights out with a spinning heel kick in his promotional debut. And just a month later, he doubled his tally with a delightful combination to oust Portuguese star Bruno Susano.

If that wasn't enough to impress the audience, he demolished Swiss powerhouse Patrick Schmid at the promotion's first all-kickboxing card, "ONE: First Strike."

Opacic's most recent outing against Francesko Xhaja saw him solidify his status as the most dangerous man in the division. He sent his rival to the canvas twice and ruled out any hope of his foe mounting a comeback with a hard right hand to fold Xhaja in half.

That victory tied him with Sam-A Gaiyanghadao, Han Zi Hao, and Petchmorakot Petchyindee for most knockouts in the ONE Super Series history. If he can finish Inocente, he'll pull ahead of the trio and own the most KOs ever in the promotion's all-striking league.