Ahead of the first UFC PPV card in South East Asia – UFC 275 this weekend, the promotion held a tournament called Road to UFC. The tournament aims to look for regional talent in order to sign them to the UFC.
While the bulk of the participants come from countries with a well-established MMA presence like Japan, China, and South Korea, some are coming from countries with developing MMA scenes.
One of those participants in the Indonesian lightweight Jeka Saragih. Coming from a small regency of Simalungun in North Sumatera, he delivered a highlight-reel knockout that delighted the viewership of the tournament.
Saragih joined the tournament as a last-minute participant after knocking out Hatoropan Simbolon to snatch the vacant OnePride MMA interim lightweight championship on May 21. Nicknamed ‘Si Tendangan Maut’ (The Deadly Kick), he was known for his sharp and powerful kicks.
Saragih was fighting the Indian Pawan Maan on the lightweight bracket of the tournament. Weighing 153 pounds, he looks significantly trimmer than his opponent come fight night.
But despite the slimmer frame, when the bell rang, he dominated Maan from the start. He also showcased his wrestling prowess by slamming the bigger Maan and outgrappling him on the ground.
Early in the third round, Saragih successfully dropped his Indian counterpart with a leg and body kick combination. But Maan rose to his feet quickly and refuses to surrender.
However, his resistance ended as Saragih landed a devastating spinning back fist that left Maan bloodied. That prompted the referee Steve Perceval to stop the contest.
HOLY S**T JEKA SARAGIH 🤯
— UFC (@ufc) June 9, 2022
With the victory over Pawan Maan, Saragih advances to the semifinal of the tournament. He will face the Korean WonBin Ki next up.
The Indonesian contingent previously must accept a defeat after the Korean Seungguk Choi outpointed their first fighter, Rama Supandhi.
Besides Saragih and Supandhi, there will be other three Indonesians competing in the tournament. There are Gugun Gusman at bantamweight, Angga Hans at featherweight, and Jeremia Siregar at flyweight.