Indonesian star Stefer “The Lion” Rahardian has scored a host of important and impressive wins in his ONE Championship career, but in his own mind one win stands out.
Back in January 2017, Rahardian faced off agianst Jerome S. Paye at ONE: QUEST FOR POWER in Jakarta. It was a bout that forced “The Lion” to overcome adversity, both inside and outside the cage.
In the lead-up to the bout, Rahardian fell ill as he was completing his training camp.
“I practiced very hard to win the match, but I was struck with a fever just a week before I had to fight,” he confesses to ONE Championship.
“Luckily, it only lasted for a couple of days.”
Sufficiently recovered to compete, Rahardian stepped into the cage with a firm gameplan ahead of his bout with Paye. With his opponent almost certain to expect the Indonesian to go to his impressive grappling techniques in search of victory, Rahardian planned to instead switch styles and employ his striking skills instead.
“In every bout, I have always sought measures to use my Brazilian jiu-jitsu and grappling techniques. But in this case, I decided to use my strikes,” Rahardian remembers.
“My coach told me to hit Paye with strikes, and to seek submission opportunities if he goes down.”
The bout proved to be a hard-fought battle, with both men trading strikes and testing each other’s will in a gripping contest.
Despite not getting the finish he had hoped for in the first two rounds, Rahardian remained composed going into the third and final round.
“Throughout the fight, I did not do anything else but to listen to the instructions from my coach and teammates,” he explains.
“I have always believed in my team to create the best winning strategy.”
Rahardian went on to drop Paye early in the third round and go on to claim a unanimous decision victory. Rahardian had been tested, both physically and mentally, and he came through with flying colours as he proved he could stick to his gameplan despite the pressure of a tightly-contested bout.
“My most memorable victory was when I defeated Paye, because it took me to the next level in ONE Championship,” the Indonesian says.
“It is by far my best victory, as it gave me more confidence to fight better. My only goal was to train harder to face my next opponents.”
The win proved to Rahardian that he deserved to be in ONE Championship, and spurred him on to more successes as he became a legitimate contender in the organisation’s strawweight division.
“The Lion” will return to ONE Championship action on Saturday 22 September in Jakarta when he takes on Chinese wrestler Peng Xue Wen at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES.
Another disciplined performance – and victory – could well see him right back at the sharp end of the strawweight division once again.
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