Miss Universe

Fil-Aussie McLaren battles undefeated prospect at ONE FC Manila

Nissi Icasiano
Fil-Aussie McLaren battles undefeated prospect at ONE FC Manila
Reece McLaren will face highly-touted prospect Muin 'Tajik' Gafurov on April 15

MANILA, Philippines – After pulling off a successful ONE Championship debut last December, Filipino-Australian fighter Reece McLaren returns to action as he is slated to face highly-touted prospect Muin “Tajik” Gafurov on the “Global Rivals” undercard on April 15. 

McLaren (8-3), who replaced an injured Jordan Lucas in two weeks notice, scored a major upset over Mark Streigl by submitting the Filipino-American sensation with a third-round rear-naked choke in the co-headliner of “ONE: Spirit of Champions” 3 months ago.

The 24-year-old native of Toowoomba, Queensland overcame a series of takedowns and a second-round knockdown against the highly-favored Striegl, but he methodically chipped away at his opponent with stinging leg kicks. 

As his cage counterpart appeared to lose steam in the final frame, McLaren countered a weary takedown attempt in the third round with solid elbows before he advanced to Striegl’s back to latch on the fight-ending choke at the 3:33 mark of the third round. 

Since dropping a unanimous decision to current UFC competitor Ben Nguyen in October 2014, McLaren has been riding high on a 3-fight winning streak, securing all of his victories by submission. 

Gafurov, meanwhile, is undefeated in 10 professional bouts since he started his prizefighting run in November 2013.

The 19-year-old combatant from Dushanbe, Tajikistan has never gone the distance in his young career, hauling 6 submission triumphs and 4 knockout wins.

Gafurov attained a statement-making victory over one-time bantamweight title challenger Toni Tauru in his first ONE Championship appearance last January by disposing the Finnish stalwart in the third round. 

“ONE: Global Rivals,” which takes place at Pasay City’s SM Mall of Asia Arena, is headlined by a welterweight championship clash between reigning titleholder Ben Askren and Nikolay Aleksakhin.

Geje Eustaquio battles Malaysia’s Gianni Subba in the co-main event, while Eric Kelly locks horns with Russian featherweight Timofey Nastyukhin. – Rappler.com

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