Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam stole the show at ONE: PURSUIT OF POWER.
On Friday, 13 July, the Swedish striker made his promotional return following a 10-month break from competition.
He faced Malaysian superhero Agilan “Alligator” Thani in his rival’s hometown of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and became the first person ever to score a knockout against the 22-year-old.
It was a captivating three-round battle between former ONE Welterweight World Title challengers, and both athletes had their moments in what was a closely-competitive affair.
The first round began with Kadestam aggressively pushing forward, and backing his young Malaysian foe towards the cage fence with a series of well-placed strikes. Thani, however, countered with some combinations of his own. He even went for some takedowns, but the Swedish man saw them coming and avoided them.
A lashing kick swept Thani’s legs out from underneath him, as the Swede made his power known early on. Kadestam circled away from his opponent’s favored right side and continued to connect with his vast array of strikes, which forced the Kuala Lumpur native to re-evaluate his plan of attack.
“The Bandit” punctuated the opening stanza by landing a spinning back kick and a volley of elbows.
In the second round, Thani came alive, and he forced the 27-year-old on the back foot by unleashing a good mix of punches and kicks. The cautious Swede used his footwork to stay largely out of range and away from the Malaysian’s forward advances.
Kadestam landed a straight punch, however, and put “Alligator” back on the defensive. Thani recovered well and responded with a head kick right to Kadestam’s jaw, which drew a nod and a smile from his European adversary.
That smile would get even bigger soon enough.
Kadestam’s attitude shifted to an entirely new level in the third and final round. He opened up the frame by firing a few jab-cross combos straight down the pipe, and then he began to pile on the pressure. The Swede threw head kicks, flying knees, and spinning back fists.
Beaming with confidence, “The Bandit” continued his offensive showcase. He lit the young Malaysian up at seemingly every single turn.
The finishing sequence came when a devastating left hook dropped Thani. “Alligator” reacted by reaching for a single-leg takedown, but he was easily shrugged off and forced to return to his feet. Kadestam walked him down with a knee, a downward elbow, a cross elbow, and then shoved his tired rival to the canvas.
That prompted referee Olivier Coste to call a halt to the contest at 1:56 of the third round, awarding Kadestam the victory by TKO.
“Agilan is tough. He is really tough. I hurt my hand in the first round, and I tried not to think about it. His wrestling was good, and he is a tough kid,” Kadestam told Mitch Chilson in the cage following his victory.
“In the third round, I went back to my hand and it was good, so I said let’s go. I’ve been training hard for a long time, and this was just me flowing. Thank you to the fans in Kuala Lumpur for showing the support.”
With the win, Kadestam becomes the first to knock out Thani, and the first person to defeat “Alligator” in his hometown of Kuala Lumpur.
In the process, the Swede elevates his record to 10-4, while the courageous Malaysian falls to 9-2.