Jonathon Haggerty stamped his mark on ONE Championship’s featherweight division defeating Joseph Lasiri by unanimous decision. Whilst it was not the cleanest win the 21-year-old has on his record, it demonstrated his skill on the international stage and ended a drought of victories which UK fighters have so far experienced in ONE.
Coming into the bout Laisiri was the more experienced having fought twice for ONE Championship already. Whereas this was the first time Haggerty was competing in ONE, as well as the first time fighting on the 4oz gloves. These unknowns made for an interesting first match up for the Englishman.
From the outset Haggerty was using his distinctive light lead leg approach. Teeping Lasiri as he attempted to close the distance and using the switch kick to score. As we mentioned in the prefight analysis, we expected this to be the case as it allowed Haggerty to prevent the Italian from drawing him into an in-fighting situation. Haggerty scored a particularly good switch kick as the Italian moved in, sliding back and throwing the left kick so it landed under the arm of the Italian.
After establishing this base, Haggerty began to open up more, following up his kicks with elbows as Lasiri shelled to defend himself. Midway through the Lasiri raised his leg as if to check a kick, Haggerty pushed the Italians knee turning him to the left and at the same time skipped to the right. This gave Haggerty the optimal angle to use his left kick without fear of retaliation from the Italian.
The highlight everyone will recognise came toward the end of the round with Haggerty scoring a downward (or 12:30) elbow on the top of Lasiri, crumpling him. This was somewhat reminiscent of the downward elbows Damien Trainor used frequently during his career. Interestingly this particular strike would have been strictly illegal under the unified rules of MMA. This calls into question the reasoning ability of those who create such rules if the strike itself is effective but is no more damaging than a well-placed high kick.
The second round began as the fist had with Haggerty using his light lead leg to teep and attempting to step back into a left kick. Lasiri appeared to have more urgency about him after conceding the first round and attempted a jumping knee. The knee clipped Haggerty causing a nosebleed which appeared to temporarily distract him. Sensing a change in the momentum Lasiri kept up the pressure, trying to wade in with elbows and initiate a clinch.
Initially Haggerty tried to fight fire with fire, coming back with swinging 1-2s to back the advancing Italian up. Whilst perhaps not the cleanest round it did give Haggerty the space he needed to re-establish his range with the teep and left kick. One of the issues Haggerty had in the bought against Ja Kiatphontip was the Thai’s constant pressure we left him no room or time to establish his rhythm with the teep and left kick. Backing Lasiri up with the punches gave Haggerty that time.
Haggerty began racking up as many left kicks as he could, trying to outscore the damage Lasiri had done throughout the round. This desperation to rack up as many points as possible left Haggerty vulnerable as he was backed onto the edge of the cage. Lasiri swung with a left hook and caught Haggerty momentarily stunning him. Lasiri swarmed the Englishman trying to get the small gloves to slip through his opponent’s guard as he sat along the fence. Thankfully the round ended before two much damage could be reeked.
As with the previous two rounds, Haggerty started off cleanly with a light lead leg and peppering the Italian with left kicks. Haggerty also began consistently chaining the left kick off the right hand or right elbow as Lasiri moved back to avoid the initial strike. Haggerty scored two right hands in a row which caught the Italian cleanly on the jaw. It was a testament to the Lasiri’s toughness however as it did not prevent the Italian from advancing for much the round.
Lasiri worked well to cut the cage off Haggerty rather than following or chasing him. In a circular cage that is no easy tasks due to the lack of acute angles to corner people like in a typical ring. Despite this skilled ringcraft, Lasiri for the most part struggled to get past the left kick of Haggerty. This culminated in the unanimous decision for Haggerty after the three rounds.
The next step
Having taken his first successful steps in ONE Championship Haggerty will no doubt be looking forward to his next bout for the promotion. Although there have been no details or suggested matches as of yet, there is an ever-growing talent pool under ONE for him to test himself. This includes Sam-A Gaiyanghadao (who beat Lasiri in ONE’s first ever Muay Thai bout) who is widely regarded as one of the best Thai boxers in recent times.
Regardless of who Haggerty faces next its plain to see that he is maturing as a fighter. Whilst this bout could have been cleaner he none the less managed to secure a convincing victory over a dangerous and experienced opponent. Haggerty was also a lot better at weathering the constant pressure and countering which was an issue he had in his first professional loss against Ja Kiatphontip. This is in addition of course, to consideration that Haggerty is only 21 and hopefully has many more years of competing and improvement. The future certainly looks interesting for the Englishman.