SPORTS – MMA – Before his foe could even complete his first combination, Mario Satya Wirawan of Bogor, Indonesia, had completely knocked opponent Chan Heng out, leaving the Cambodian Khun Khmer specialist senseless on the mat.
The spectacular finish earned Wirawan the record for the fastest stoppage in ONE Championship history, and if people did not know who he was before, they certainly do now. Wirawan not only shone on the big stage, he took the spotlight by its reins and put the world on notice.
“Somehow, I was expecting a one-round fight,” said Wirawan, who admitted his desire to end the fight early. “I had visualized the whole thing but it did not exactly end the same way in my head.”
Wirawan, who prior to the bout with Heng was largely unknown, became an overnight sensation. Clips of his highlight reel finish flooded social media the next day, and those who did not catch the action live were in awe at what had transpired.
“It feels magical to win in that fashion,” said Wirawan, admiring his body of work.
Indeed, it was brilliant how Wirawan uncorked that monstrous counter right hand as he exchanged strikes with Heng at the center of the cage. The blow immediately dumped Heng to the canvas, as Wirawan followed up with a technical ground kick. The rest was history.
Since then, Wirawan has returned to his training roots at Bali Muay Thai & MMA. He’s currently hard at work for his next appearance inside the ONE Cage, which comes in just a few days in Jakarta’s Istora Senayan on 20 Feb.
Though he lost his promotional debut, dropping a three-round unanimous decision to countryman Sunoto last September, Wirawan says a lot has changed since then.
“The first thing I learned from my ONE Championship debut is how much a fighter has to put in to get the victory,” said Wirawan.
“At first, I did not know the level of the athletes I was competing against. Now that I know firsthand the skill level of ONE Championship athletes, I know the kind of effort I have to put in to be successful in this sport.”
Of course, training alongside world-class teammates like Gianni and Keanu Subba, Andrew and Anthony Leone—themselves ONE Championship athletes—doesn’t hurt. As a result of this, Wirawan is constantly on the lookout for new things and improving his overall game, like a true martial artist.
“I feel like right now I’m more open to new things and I don’t limit myself as a grappler or striker,” said Wirawan. “I feel a like a thicker book now with more blank pages ready to be filled with new things.”
This Saturday 20 Feb at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wirawan (5-2-0) returns to the cage at ONE: TRIBE OF WARRIORS, against fellow Indonesian fighter Yohan Mulia Legowo (7-4-0) in a three round featherweight bout.
It’s one that’s highly anticipated due to how Wirawan’s last fight ended, and there’s an underlying sense that he could probably do it again.
In spite of this, Wirawan doesn’t let his past success get to his head. He understands that to maintain his form and stay on the right track, he has to keep a level head and keep doing what he is doing.
“I do not feel like much has changed at all,” said Wirawan. “I still hang out with the same group of friends that I’ve had since day one, train with the same bunch of guys, and people still treat me the same. Nothing has changed.”
When Wirawan steps inside the cage this Saturday, fans will take a short look back at his record-breaking finish, and then it’s back to business.
Time to fill in the blank pages.
“[Legowo] has been here for a while. It is my time now,” said Wirawan.