The ONE Championship debut of Croatian MMA star Roberto Soldic came on Saturday night in Manila, Phillipines against Murad Ramazanov.
It did not play out how anyone had expected, or hoped.
The southpaw striking specialist Soldic has been called the heir apparent to the legendary Mirko Cro-Cop and the former KSW double champion was coming off of a big knockout win over Polish MMA royalty in Mamed Khalidov last year before entering free agency. His first fight in the leader in Asian mixed martial arts was not to be an easy one, as Ramazanov came in on the back of an undefeated record, three straight wins in the promotion, and a vaunted Dagestani wrestling background.
The winner of this bout could potentially look forward to a welterweight title shot against newly crowned champion — double champion, in fact — Christian Lee.
Unfortunately, the fight ended early. And painfully.
Soldic, in his Croatian flag trunks, came out in his usual southpaw stance and landed a few low kicks while staying aware of the feinted level changes of Ramazanov. After one minute the Dagestani changed levels, got a single leg and transitioned to the double to put Soldic down against the fence.
Although not all the way down at first, Ramazanov was able to pull him off of the fence somewhat, though after that Roberto got to a knee and then to his feet in the clinch. A low blow from Ramazanov which could be heard on the broadcast made Soldic wince and drop to his knees in pain.
It was clearly a bad groin strike as such strikes go. While Soldic tried to recover, Ramazanov stood in his corner screaming, “Let’s go, let’s go!” However, Herb Dean called the fight off as Roberto Soldić seemed unable to recover at all as the minutes ticked by. It was an extremely disappointing debut for Soldic in such a highly anticipated fight, but he will surely be back.
Official Result: Roberto Soldic vs. Murad Ramazanov ends in a No Contest