Tyler McGuire made a huge splash in his ONE Championship debut with a dominant performance against an experienced cage veteran at ONE: PURSUIT OF POWER.
On Friday, 13 July, the undefeated American protected his streak by claiming a unanimous decision victory over Luis “Sapo” Santos inside the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The 32-year-old American showed he was not afraid to go toe-to-toe with the Brazilian, who had 76 bouts to his name. The Extreme Challenge and Excite Fight Welterweight Champion opened the contest with spinning kicks before going for a takedown.
“Sapo” tried to turn the tide by going for a leg lock, but McGuire defended well and returned to his feet.
Another takedown by McGuire resulted in a scramble that saw Santos slam his opponent, but that was countered by a masterful roll that put the American into a dominant position to throw knees to his opponent’s head – though he was able to block most strikes with his forearm.
The Washington-based contender used his weight to keep “Sapo” on the ground, but he stood up to finish the round with strikes.
In the second stanza, McGuire moved with the same swagger and aggression as he controlled most of the exchanges and attempted an acrobatic punch off the cage.
The Brazilian put an end to his opponent’s antics when he nearly connected with a spinning back elbow and went for a successful takedown, but he could not capitalise on his position.
McGuire popped back up and made his wrestling count by keeping Santos on the mat when he brought him down, but the Brazilian’s jiu-jitsu skill helped him maintain a tight defence.
Towards the end of the round, “Sapo” rolled to try and take McGuire’s leg once again, but the American got clear of danger again.
As the final round began, Santos increased his activity to make up for his lack of success in the opening rounds. However, McGuire neutralised his offence with a takedown and controlled him on the ground.
Sensing his time was running out, the Brazilian got back to his feet with less than a minute remaining, but his efforts to finish the bout were unsuccessful as McGuire frustrated him by creating distance until the final bell sounded.
The judges awarded the unanimous victory to McGuire, who improved his perfect record to 11-0.