Grappling superstar Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon looks every bit as dangerous in the cage as he was on the mats.
The American, who captured a host of BJJ world titles in his dazzling grappling career, transitioned to the next part of his martial arts career at ONE: IRON WILL at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
He made his debut under ONE’s Global Rule Set on Saturday, 24 March, and showed he is more than just a grappler.
The 26-year-old New Yorker showcased his previously-unseen striking talent to finish Filipino striker Richard “Notorious” Corminal via TKO in the second round of their lightweight bout.
Corminal unsurprisingly started the bout looking to engage in the stand-up, but Tonon surprised the crowd – and his opponent – by returning in kind. He threw a spectacular head kick and a flying knee in the opening exchanges, and showed he was equally happy to stand and trade early on.
Tonon’s confidence in his striking grew as the round progressed. He started to find a home for his hands, landing a slick one-two combination, and successfully evaded most of Corminal’s big shots.
Gasps filled the Impact Arena when a huge right hand from the American dropped Corminal with 30 seconds to go. Tonon looked to close out his debut with a first-round stoppage win.
To his great credit, “Notorious” showed great heart to survive the round, as he was saved by the bell.
In the second frame, it looked like Tonon was going back to his bread and butter — his grappling — as he took Corminal to the ground early on.
However, “The Lion Killer” appeared uninterested in claiming a submission victory in his ONE debut. He seemed to pass up a number of potential submission openings, instead looking to secure a finish via strikes.
Once he transitioned to the mount position for the second time in the round, a powerful salvo of punches and elbows eventually forced referee Olivier Coste to halt the bout at the 3:40 mark of the second stanza, awarding the TKO victory to Tonon.
It was a hugely impressive display from the American, who will definitely be one to watch in 2018 as he looks to move up the ranks, and continue to test his skills under ONE’s Global Rule Set.
With an impressive debut victory now under his belt, all eyes will be on Tonon the next time he sets foot inside the ONE cage.