If Toni Tauru can get a new submission streak going, he may have to change his fight nickname from “Dynamite” to “Team Lakay Slayer.”
Tauru, who owns eight professional submissions in 11 wins, is set to lock horns with wushu master and Team Lakay veteran Kevin Belingon at ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY on 21 April, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
In “The Silencer,” Tauru will have the quintessential striker versus grappler contest. With five of his 14 professional wins coming by way of knockout, Belingon’s hands pack a mighty wallop. Record aside, Tauru has no doubts that if, or when, the fight hits the mat, there’s only one way things will end.
“I do not mind facing hard hitters,” the 32-year-old Finn says. “I have great respect for Team Lakay. They have been doing great work and have a number of great warriors. The fight goes how it goes, but in the end, I will find that submission.”
The former CWFC Bantamweight champion and ex-challenger for ONE’s bantamweight crown, Tauru holds an impressive record and training regimen himself. In addition to his string of submission wins, he’s become a globetrotter of sorts, traveling the world to find the best training partners to hone his skills.
“My home gym is GB Kouvola, where MMA Utti works,” Tauru explains. “Overall, we have great opportunities to train jiu-jitsu, wrestling, and MMA in Kouvola. I also find time to travel for training. I have always felt like it is part of my routine to go to new gyms and find new training partners around Finland, and sometimes other countries.”
Tauru will bring all that knowledge to the cage on fight night. Additionally, he holds a win against another member of Belingon’s camp. Last December at ONE: AGE OF DOMINATION, “Dynamite” snapped a three-fight losing streak with a rear-naked choke victory over Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio.
A win over Belingon will move Tauru to 2-0 against Team Lakay fighters, and with the reputation that camp holds in the MMA world, that would be quite the feather in the 32-year-old’s cap.
Tauru is ready for Belingon wherever the fight goes, but fully expects “The Silencer” to want to contest the bout on the feet — far away from Tauru’s grappling strengths.
“If he wants to make it grappling contest, well thank you, but I do not see that coming,” Tauru says. “Kevin is good on his feet, and that is where he wants to stay. Of course it would be sweet for him to get revenge, but that is also something that’s not going to happen.”
As for fight night, Tauru is once again walking into hostile territory facing a Filipino fighter. That’s not a problem for a man who has no problem playing the bad guy en route to putting on a show for the fans.
“I know that my fans will be watching,” Tauru says. “Kevin (Belingon) and I are going to give you a fight. With our ability to end fights, you will want to see this one. I know that I am stepping once again in enemy territory, and I dare all in Manila to come and make some noise at the event.”