ONE FC 9: Rise to Power Preview #1: Does Tim Sylvia Still Have What it Takes To Topple Tony Johnson Jr.?

Tim Sylvia’s recent excursions through Heavyweight MMA have not ended well.

At his last ONE FC outing back in August, Sylvia took a brutal headkick from longtime UFC rival Andrei Arlovski. It was a move that caused the fight to end via controversial disqualification, but the The Maine-iac was by no-means dominating the fight up until that point. Sylvia then went on to lose a rather lopsided decision against Satoshi Ishii at IGF: INOKI-BOM-BA-YE 2012 in December. It was a fight where he looked weak and slow compared to the somewhat sloppy, but still terrifying 2006 version of himself when he earned and defended the UFC heavyweight title.

Tim Sylvia is 37 years old. He’s no spring chicken. What has carried him through his past through fights has primarily been his experience, guile, and hulking power. He is hitting the age where most fighters start to retire; when they begin to take unnecessary damage and want to end their careers on a high note. But Sylvia wants to feel the strap around his waist one more time and he wants more than anything to reach that goal through the ONE FC.

Tony Johnson Jr. is a beast. Plan and simple.

He’s the picture of athleticism: A former Iowa State fullback, hulking power, extremely fast, and one of the fastest rising stars in heavyweight MMA in the game. While Johnson is 6-and-1, it’s best to keep in mind that his sole professional loss came at the hands of Daniel Cormier- Strikeforce standout, and potential UFC championship contender. Aside from Cormier, Johnson has demolished his other unfortunate opponents, including multi-time King of the Cage Champion, Tony Lopez. If there is any truth to the mythical “New Breed” hype, Tony Johnson Jr. is one of the strongest candidates for that title.

The upcoming clash between Sylvia and Johnson at ONE FC 9: Rise to Power in Manila is significant in more ways than one. It will tell whether Tim Sylvia still has enough in him for a title run, possibly to challenge Rolles Gracie for the ONE FC belt. It will prove whether or not Tony Johnson Jr. is the real deal. If Johnson can’t convincingly defeat an aging Sylvia, his chances as a potential UFC prospect lower drastically. It will also give us a good barometer as to the current strength of ONE FC’s heavyweight roster. While few people are under the impression Sylvia vs. Johnson will be a technical battle of epic proportions, there’s not we’ll see some big, strong men trying to break each other in half. Hopefully Sylvia comes to the match in shape, because if not, Johnson is going to steamroll him.

Interestingly enough, one of the most important ONE FC heavyweight battles in recent history will be broadcasted live and free as an undercard fight. Pretty awesome huh?

The rest of ONE FC 9: Rise to Power is even more stacked, featuring: Felipe Enomoto vs Lowen Tynanes, Ryan Diaz vs Yusup Saadulaev, Andrew Leone vs Geje Eustaquio, Masakatsu Ueda vs. Kevin Belington, Phil Baroni vs. Nobutatsu Suzuki, and Honorio Banario vs. Koiji Oishi. Look at that card.

Over the next two days we’ll be breaking down all the big fight coming out of Manila, so be sure to stay with FSA for all the breaking Asian MMA coverage.

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Categories: Asian MMA, MMA, ONE FC

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