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Radeem Rahman vows to learn from bout with idol Imanari

Last Friday, October 26, Singapore’s Radeem Rahman attempted to shock the martial arts world by upsetting Japanese grappling legend Masakazu Imanari.

Unfortunately, the Singapore Muay Thai Champion could not defeat his idol at ONE: PURSUIT OF GREATNESS at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar, and tapped out to an armbar at the 1:23 mark of the first round.

The bout was a late addition to the action-packed card in Yangon, giving Rahman little more than a week to prepare.

“It is tough as I don’t have time to train on various situations that I will be put in, but I tried to make the impossible possible,” the 31-year-old says.

Rahman came into the contest knowing that Imanari, who is notorious for his leg locks and other submissions, would look to take the bout to the ground quickly.

“The game plan was to keep it standing, as I know he wouldn't strike,” he adds. 

“I was always prepared to defend the leg attack, and I had to drag the match to the final round.”

The Neue Fit and Phuket Top Team representative was elusive to start the contest, keeping his distance but dropping fists when the multiple-time BJJ Champion got too close.

It wouldn’t take long before the Japanese icon pulled his famed Imanari roll to close the distance and take the contest to the mat. Although Rahman was ready for it, he could not escape.

“That’s the Imanari roll that he always does. Once you defend the leg, he will pull guard,” Rahman says.

“I made a mistake when I’m in his guard, which led to a chain of submission attempts.”

Ultimately, Imanari was too crafty for Rahman, and the Singaporean soon had to tap out to an armbar.

Instead of being broken by the loss, Rahman says he will be motivated by it, and use the contest as a learning experience. 

“As much as a game plan is important, preparation for a bout against an opponent is too,” he says.

“I had nothing to lose. I fought someone who has way more experience and [is] a legend. I am only disappointed as I couldn’t push him much in the cage. It’s all about learning.”