BJJ World Champion Garry Tonon Returns To The Cage With New Tools At ONE: A New Era

BJJ World Champion Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon from the Evolve Fight Team is looking for the fourth victory in his young mixed martial arts career. This time, the 27-year-old from New Jersey takes on a bonafide knockout artist in Dutch-Indonesian featherweight Anthony “The Archangel” Engelen.

The two fighters meet at the center of the ONE Championship cage on the preliminary card of ONE: A New Era, which is set for Sunday, 31 March at the iconic Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.

Having transitioned to MMA last year from his time as a World Champion grappler, Tonon has steadily progressed, honing his skills with the World Champions from Evolve MMA. Although the American prodigy has improved quite a bit, he believes that what he has learned so far is just the tip of the iceberg.

“The biggest discovery that I’ve made in the last year or so is just how far I have to go. The more I learn, the more I train, the more I spar with different people, the more I realize how much ground there really is to cover in terms of mastering mixed martial arts,” said Tonon.

“There’s just so many different facets, so many different styles, skills and habits to get under control. There’s so much more I need to learn, but I’m excited about it. This fight camp has really brought that out of me.”

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Known for his ability to pull out quick submissions and make guys tap, Tonon has been consistently working on improving his stand up game in particular. Through careful sparring sessions, Tonon has been able to fast track his striking development. Tonon keeps getting better and better with each performance. In his next fight, “The Lion Killer” says he just might surprise the fans with a few new tricks.

“I watch tape of elite strikers, World Champions in their disciplines, people who are much better than me and even better than people in the MMA world,” said Tonon.

“When it comes to getting better at striking, that’s done by watching the best boxers of all time, the best Muay Thai fighters of all time, the greatest kickboxers of all time. You get a lot more out of that in the striking aspect. This way, I can visualize what excellence looks like so that I can pursue it.”

Tonon’s opponent is certainly no walk in the park. Engelen is a ONE Championship veteran. He is perhaps best known for his stoppage victories over Malaysia’s AJ Lias Mansor and Cambodia’s Meas Meul, whom he finished via first-round head kick.

Whereas in his previous outings, Tonon would take a few calculated risks to test his striking, he feels that could prove unwise this time around given how dangerous Engelen is with his knockout power.

Tonon knows exactly what he’s getting into when he steps into the cage across Engelen, and the 27-year-old says it is imperative for him to come in with an intelligent game plan.

“Anthony Engelen is easily the toughest opponent I will face so far. He has real knockout power and he’s able to end fights in a single blow,” said Tonon.

“As far as if I’m going to test my stand up, I don’t know right now. I’m much more likely to try to put him away earlier. I’m going to be smarter overall. In my previous fights, I definitely played around a lot in the standing position, and I may do that this fight too. We’ll see.”

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ONE: A New Era is ONE Championship’s first ever live event in Japan. With four World Titles on the line, the evening should be nothing short of spectacular. As such, Tonon knows the significance of the event and is excited to showcase his talents on the biggest stage of global martial arts competition.

“Performing in Japan, on so many levels, this is just going to be a crazy experience,” Tonon concluded.

“I’ve worked so much harder to prepare for this event than I ever have. Whatever the result is, I became a much better fighter preparing for this fight. I really stepped my game up quite a bit leading into this fight.”

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