Keanu Subba is riding a wave of momentum. Two months following his most recent victory, the Malaysian sensation will return to the cage on Friday Night, 21 April, to battle Christian “The Warrior” Lee in a featherweight showdown at ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY. The event broadcasts live from the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
Although it is a quick turnaround for Subba, he feels strong, and believes he can defeat his Singaporean rival in every area of the game.
“I feel confident, and I believe I will beat him,” the 22-year-old Malaysian says. “I will strike with him, catch him standing up, and I will be faster than him on the ground. I just feel like I will be one step ahead of him.”
Subba is a former MIMMA Featherweight Champion who splits his time training at Bali MMA and Monarchy MMA. He holds a professional record of 5-2, with three victories coming by first-round TKO and another two by submission.
Following his loss to Chinese dynamo Li Kai Wen at ONE: DYNASTY OF CHAMPIONS in July 2016, the well-rounded Malaysian strung together two wins over a pair of talented Pakistani MMA prospects. Most recently, he submitted the previously-undefeated Ahmed Mujtaba with a brilliant guillotine choke at ONE: THRONE OF TIGERS in February.
In Lee, he will be fighting someone who is eager to get back in the win column.
“The Warrior,” who trains at Evolve MMA and United MMA, holds a stellar 5-1 record. Since making his professional debut in ONE Championship back in December 2015, the 18-year-old Singaporean prospect similarly racked up five straight victories — three by TKO and two by submission — all in the first round.
That hot streak turned cold last August, however, when Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen put him to sleep with a modified guillotine choke at ONE: HEROES OF THE WORLD.
For Subba, he sees a younger version of himself in Lee.
“What I see in Christian was ‘me’ when I was 18. It was the same ‘me’ — young, aggressive, and going for the finish fight away. You can see that in his last fight,” he says.
“I had the same mentality. When you fight someone who has been fighting for a while, it is different, and I learned that the hard way to when I lost my fight against Li Kai Wen, but I grew from that. Right now, I am smarter and more intelligent about fighting. I feel I have the experience.”
This is pivotal matchup in the featherweight division, as a victory could elevate the winner to the upper echelon of the weight class, while a loss will push the other further down the ladder.
However, Subba is not worried. In fact, he is duly motivated by progressing forward in his career, and silencing critics who bet against him.
“It is just about improving in every fight,” he says. “When people doubt me, it makes me stronger. I just keep growing, improve in every single fight, and prove [people wrong] all the time.”