Jaroslav Jartim may have only been given two weeks to prepare for the biggest fight of his young mixed martial arts career, but he plans to make an impact, and derail a former champion’s momentum.
The Czech lightweight will step in for “Ruthless” Rob Lisita, and make his ONE Championship debut on Friday Night, 21 April, against former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario at ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY. The event takes place in the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
“My opponent is handy. He has good standup,” Jartim acknowledges. “But I go like a machine. I am in the best shape [of my life]. I will be dominant.”
Lately, Jartim has indeed been dominant in Central Europe’s MMA scene. Considered one of the top lightweight competitors in the Czech Republic, the 24-year-old trains out of Penta Gym Prague and holds an 8-5-1 professional record. Three of those victories came via TKO and another three via submission.
What’s more, the Czech is riding a three-fight winning streak. His most recent win happened on Friday Night, 7 April, when he defeated Marek Kozeluh via unanimous decision at a regional show in Slovakia.
The very next day, Jartim received an offer to replace Lisita and duel Banario at ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY. He immediately accepted and returned to fight camp with his team, which includes head coach Daniel Bartak, two-time National Combat Sambo Champion Richard Andrš, and WKF European Kickboxing Champion Honza Homolka.
“Penta gym is the best gym in the Czech Republic,” the Czech states. “The atmosphere is good, and everyone has congratulated me [on my upcoming fight in ONE Championship].”
Jartim returns to Manila for the first time since winning the UGB Super Fight Championship in March 2016. This time around, his rival’s skills are a little more advanced. After all, Banario is a former ONE Featherweight World Champion who is currently experiencing a career resurgence.
“The Rock” is a Team Lakay veteran who holds an 11-6 record, with six wins coming via submission and three more via TKO. Ever since Banario transformed himself into a lightweight a year ago, he has been unstoppable, chalking up three consecutive victories against quality opposition. Most recently, in December, the Filipino hero defeated Rajinder Singh Meena at ONE: AGE OF DOMINATION via armbar in the first round.
Banario will feel at home entering the Mall Of Asia Arena on Friday Night, 21 April, and will undoubtedly be the favorite in this forthcoming three-round affair with his Czech nemesis.
For Jartim, the odds are firmly stacked against him. He just competed for a grueling 15 minutes at a European show, and is now returning to the cage within two weeks, fighting in enemy territory, and debuting in Asia’s largest MMA organization. Despite all of that, he is not stressed at all.
“I do not feel any pressure,” Jartim says, quite comfortably. “I do not mind it.”
Perhaps that is because he is in the best shape of his life, confident in his skill set, and finally receiving the opportunity to achieve his career goals on the global stage. This upcoming tilt at ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY is a culmination of his seven-year martial arts journey, and Jartim plans to relish every punch, every kick, and every moment inside the cage.
“Be happy, be satisfied, believe in your dream and go for it,” Jartim says of his motto in life. “Enjoy it all and show what you can do.”
On Friday Night, 21 April, he will live out his dreams, and attempt to show all of Asia just who Jaroslav Jartim is.