Prior to RUFF 11, China’s MMA prospect Wang Guan was on a roll. He hadn’t lost for over seven years, was unbeaten, and it looked to be all Jekyll and no Hyde for the 28-year-old heading into his eighth appearance under the RUFF banner against Russia’s Bekbukat Magomedov.
But it all went wrong on fight night.
Guan’s striking credentials often took the plaudits and his Sanda style brought him a flamboyant approach to his striking skills which opponents in the past found difficult to fight against. Magomedov, however, pounced on Guan’s glaring weakness – his wrestling. Magomedov’s takedown prowess forced the Chinese fighter to be tentative with his strikes throughout, which eventually led him to lose a lopsided decision.
“My last opponent indeed, fought well. But I was injured before the fight and to some intent, that affected my performance,” Guan said through a translator, in an exclusive interview with MMASucka.com. “And I have failed to cheer myself up (after the loss). Although I did not do well in my wrestling abilities, I thought it was a positive thing that I realized wrestling was my weakness during the fight.”
Since the heartbreaking defeat, the Chinese fighter conceded the need to improve in his grappling in order to develop in his career as a Mixed Martial Artist. And, for his fight against Estoro, he says he’s specifically worked hard to brush up his ground skills.
“First, you must fight everything in your power irrespective of victory or defeat. And I concluded I needed to improve in my skills of wrestling on the ground,” Guan continued. “I am sparing no efforts to prepare for this fight. Personally, I feel each and every opponent of mine is very powerful. But I will try my best to fight against their weaknesses for the victory.”
“Based on my knowledge of him (Estoro), he does well in the stand-up department since he started off as a Muay Thai fighter. I am fond of it too, so it is bound to be an exciting fight.”
While some may argue that Wang Guan is still yet to hit the prime of his career, the Xian Sports University native, however, feels the pressure is mounting that much more with each passing fight. He is, after all, dubbed as one of the country’s most talented fighters today.
He knows he hasn’t quite gotten used to the tension yet, but admits he’ll be able to deal with the reality of his position with experience.
“I keep telling myself that there’s a large room for improvement in fighting skills. And although I am not the most powerful, I always try to do better,” he concluded. “My win-streak record gave me so much pressure in fights that I failed to get rid of it appropriately. But with maturity, I know I’ll pluck enough courage to face fighters who are better than me.”
Wang Guan battles promotional newcomer Jerson Estoro (5-2) on the main card of Saturday’s RUFF 12 event in Shanghai, China. The headlining bout of the line-up sees former UFC vet Azamat Gashimov (7-3) return to MMA action in a match-up opposite Lu ZhenHong (7-2).
Click here to check out the full fight card for RUFF 12.