Lightweight kickboxing ace Amir Khan flipped the script and relied on his grappling ability to beat Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion Vaughn Donayre on Friday, 11 November, in his native Singapore at ONE: DEFENDING HONOR.
Khan used takedowns, submission defense, and his own ground attack to take the lead, survive, and then finish Donayre in the third round.
The end came via rear-naked choke submission for Khan at 2:38 of the third round inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium. To get to that spot, however, Khan had to survive his own submission scare in the second round at the hands of Donayre, who fought on just two weeks’ notice in replacement of Samir Mrabet.
“Almost all of my training partners are [BJJ] black belts, so I’ve been grappling with them two or three times a day,” said Khan of pulling off the victory against a BJJ champion. I’ve trained with Shinya Aoki, so I was not worried about his grappling capability.
“But in the first round, I looked for that choke too hard, and kind of burned out my arm. I had to dig deep and just push through it and managed to get a finish.
In the first, Khan worked the fight to the ground and took Donayre’s back, threatening with choke attempts. Donayre defended well and was saved by the bell to close the period.
In the second, Khan caught a right kick from Donayre, scored a takedown and once more took the back-mount.
Donayre defended, and the two men traded takedowns and top positions before Donayre locked in a Kimura shoulder lock from the side-mount and then from the I-position.
The painful hold was in deep, with Khan’s head boxed-in by Donayre’s kneeling legs and his arm torqued behind his own back. Still, Khan refused to submit, even after Donayre switched to a straight arm lock, and eventually reversed positions and ended the round on top.
In the third, Khan once more worked to top position on the ground, forcing Donayre to his full-guard against the fence. Donayre angled-off the fence and began to unload with punches and elbows from his back.
Khan absorbed some shots, but used the opportunity to advance, first to half-guard, and then to the back-mount once more. This time, the Singaporean was able to finish the job, locking in a rear-naked choke and forcing the tap-out submission from Donayre.
Afterwards, Khan recounted his thoughts while trapped in Donayre’s deep shoulder lock during the second round, and explained why he did not submit.
“I said to myself, I’d rather die than submit on my home soil,” the proud Evolve MMA product declared.
With the win, Khan improves his record to 6-2. Donayre’s defeat drops his to 8-6. When asked about his future plans, Khan already had a possible opponent in mind.
“I always want to fight better opponents. This time, I stepped up my game and fought someone with much more experience,” said Khan. “He fought Honorio Banario, a former title holder.
“I don’t know. Maybe I fight Honorio Banario [too]. Whoever it is, I want to fight top contenders, rest up, feel well, train smart again, and be ready to go.”