Narantungalag “Tungaa” Jadambaa had to make a change to revive his career.
In fact, the bout ended in the same way as their first meeting – a rear naked choke submission.
It was a sobering experience that made Jadambaa realize he had to take a step back and evolve to continue in mixed martial arts.
“After competing against Marat Gafurov, I thought that I needed to improve my wrestling and grappling skills, and my physical strength,” the 42-year-old says. “Now, I think that I have improved myself even more than before.”
He is about to put that to the test.
On Saturday, 23 June, Jadambaa will make his long-awaited return. He is scheduled to take on Filipino striker Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER, which takes place at the Studio City Event Center in Macau.
Though he has not competed for the past year and a half, the Mongolian has been actively training alongside his Team Tungaa stablemates, and patiently waiting for the right time to return.
Now, with a date firmly set, he promises to display the new and improved skills he has developed, and do something special in the ONE ring.
“I have been ready to fight anytime,” the judo and karate black belt claims.
“I am in good shape, and I am happy to fight again. My heart is driven to fight. I have been preparing new techniques, and I will show something new in my next fight. You can believe it.”
Kelly may have something to say about that, however.
Over the past two years, “The Ferocious” has ascended up the ranks. He has won four of his last five bouts, all by stoppage. In January, he even set the record for the fastest finish in ONE featherweight history by knocking out Meas Meul in 21 seconds.
The 34-year-old from Baguio City, Philippines, will face the biggest challenge of his career, as he faces a man he has long admired.
Jadambaa knows about the danger his adversary from Team Lakay poses with his wushu ability. He also recognizes he is entering this bout as the older man. However, the veteran does not think age will be an issue.
“I think he is strong, a good fighter,” the stoic Mongolian acknowledges.
“I always think that I am 10 years younger than my actual age, so age will not play a factor at all.”
A win would not only provide Jadambaa with an encouraging career boost, it would also re-enter his name into the ONE Featherweight World Title picture.
Jadambaa has long been considered one of the best competitors in the weight class, thanks to his spells as the Legend FC and ONE Featherweight World Champion, as well as victories over the likes of Adrian Pang, Kotetsu Boku, Honorio Banario, Koji Oishi, and even Kelly’s older brother, Eric.
With Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen reigning at the top of the division, the Mongolian could present a fresh match-up for the Vietnamese-Australian somewhere down the road.
However, “Tungaa” is not looking too far into the future. He is concentrating on the man that is right in front of him, and giving his mixed martial arts career a shot in the arm.
“I am only thinking about the fight with Edward Kelly now,” he says. “If I beat him, I think it would be right to continue to fight, and it will motivate me to train more as a result.”
Macau | 23 June | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast