Stefer Rahardian has taken ONE Championship by storm.
Upon making his promotional debut in August 2016, the Jakarta native captured the 2016 ONE Indonesia Flyweight Tournament Championship, and then continued to dominate the opposition all throughout 2017.
The 31-year-old Carlson Gracie brown belt, who competes out of Bali MMA and Jakarta Muay Thai & MMA, has been growing in front of our very eyes. As the level of his opponents go up, his skill set rises even further.
Rahardian (7-0) will get his next challenge in the form of Pakistan’s Muhammad “The Spider” Imran (5-1). The bout will serve as the co-main event of ONE: KINGS OF COURAGE, which broadcasts live from the Jakarta Convention Center on Saturday, 20 January.
With a shot at the ONE Flyweight World Title on the line, we recap just why Rahardian is the real deal in the cage.
He Outclassed Jerome S. Paye In A Strategic Battle
After winning the ONE Indonesia Flyweight Tournament Championship with two submission victories on the same night in August of 2016, Rahardian started 2017 with all eyes on him at ONE: QUEST FOR POWER.
Again, the Jakarta fans were expecting big things, but Indonesia-based Liberian Jerome S. Paye was there to try and spoil the party.
What was intriguing about this battle was that Paye’s strength and balance meant Rahardian’s BJJ skills were not able to come into play, and thus most of the bout was contested in the clinch and on the feet.
It allowed Rahardian to showcase other elements of his game, not just his vaunted grappling skills.
Rahardian showed some solid striking, mostly scoring with his hands against the taekwondo specialist, and also in close quarters as he pressured on the fence and landed well with dirty boxing on the inside.
Paye’s toughness and tenacity kept him in the running, which meant the Indonesian was forced to go hard for the full fifteen minutes to reap his rewards — a unanimous decision victory.
When He Took Out Top Filipino Eugene Toquero
When Rahardian met battle-hardened Filipino striker Eugene Toquero at ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY in April 2017, it was always going to be a real litmus test for his progression, and where he stood in the flyweight division.
Toquero had faced the likes of ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano Moraes and top contender Danny Kingad already, so he was operating at the highest level. And with seven knockouts from his eight victories, he was certainly dangerous.
The most impressive aspect of this performance was that the Bali MMA product dominated throughout the course of three rounds against an athlete as dynamic as Toquero.
He used his takedowns and BJJ to great effect, controlling almost every second of the bout, and nearly sealing the deal with a rear-naked choke.
Rahardian’s heart and chin were both tested, and he passed with flying colors in what was a clear-cut unanimous decision victory for the Indonesian.
The 67-Second Destruction Of Sim Bunsrun
Cambodia’s Sim Bunsrun was riding high when he met Rahardian at ONE: TOTAL VICTORY, in front of the Indonesian’s home crowd in Jakarta. He was riding a three-bout win streak, had won both his previous matches in ONE, and was full of confidence.
When the match against Rahardian started, however, Bunsrun was never allowed to get out of first gear, as the submission ace swiftly tripped him to the mat and went to work for a finish on the ground.
Rahardian had previously earned himself back-to-back decision victories, and was determined to end things quickly to really make a statement in front of the partisan audience. He ferociously attacked with ground and pound, and then took Bunsrun’s back.
From there, he locked-in a tight rear-naked choke to get the tap at just 1:07 of the first stanza, delighting the fans and moving on to 7-0 in emphatic fashion.