Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ki Chong Tran wins in Phuket

Ki Chong Tran wins in Phuket

Ki Chong Tran wins in Phuket

Cambodian mixed martial arts fans had some early reasons to rejoice ahead of next month’s epic ONE FC fight night at Koh Pich Theatre, with A Fighter club’s Ki Chong Tran emerging victorious from his battle in the cage on Saturday at Full Metal Dojo in Phuket.

Ki Chong Tran (centre) stands with his A Fighter trainer Chan Reach (right) and Thai opponent Kritsada ‘Dream Man’ Konsrichai after their Full Metal Dojo bout
Ki Chong Tran (centre) stands with his A Fighter trainer Chan Reach (right) and Thai opponent Kritsada ‘Dream Man’ Konsrichai after their Full Metal Dojo bout. Photo Supplied

American-born Tran had been slated to face Muay Thai expert Siwa “Mike” Kontieng in a featherweight contest at the Seduction nightclub, but the Thai striker had contracted conjunctivitis in his eyes and was forced to make a last-minute withdraw.

Fortunately, Mike’s compatriot Kritsada “Dream Man” Konsrichai agreed to stand in, despite giving up a full six kilograms in weight to his Cambodian opponent.

“[Dream Man is] a judo practitioner/wrestler, so even though it was the opposite of what we trained for, a lot of respect to Dream Man for stepping up and taking the fight,” Tran told the Post.

Some rapid clashes of punches and kicks were followed up with acrobatic takedowns, much to the approval of the crowd. Tran appeared to hold the edge on the ground, isolating Dream Man’s limbs to land some vicious looking elbows to his head.

In the second round, Dream Man exposed his back to Tran as they grappled, which signaled the beginning of the end for the home fighter.

Tran maneuvered around to have his opponent lying prone to fists to the side of the head, and it was just a matter of time before the Cambodian executed a fine rear naked choke that had Dream Man tapping out in seconds.

“After I secured dominant position [taking the back], I felt I would be able to finish the fight and the choke I used was my favourite choke,” said Tran.

“My opponent was very tough and stronger than I expected, with great throws and a great wrestling base.

“[It] feels good to help Cambodian MMA outside the country and get the win. [It] sets up A Fighter gym’s momentum for the ONE FC event in Cambodia [on September 12].”

In Saturday’s headlining bout, Jason Ponet of France moved to a pro MMA record of 10-8 with victory over American Dylan “The Muscle” Fussell, who was also a late replacement.

An elbow to Fussell’s forehead in the first round made a deep gash which bled profusely, leaving referee no choice but to call the fight with the result marked down as a doctor’s stoppage.

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