[EXCLUSIVE] Sweden’s Zebaztian Kadestam: I love how ONE Championship promotes martial arts

Zebaztian Kadestam, Matt Hume, Luis Santos (©ONE Championship)

Zebaztian Kadestam, Matt Hume, Luis Santos (©ONE Championship)

Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam made his successful ONE Championship debut on May 26, 2017 in Kallang, Singapore. He defeated Luis “Sapo” Santos in the welterweight division at “ONE: Dynasty of Heroes” via knockout at 2:18 minutes of Round 3.

In 2015, Santos faced ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben “Funky” Askren during the main event of “ONE: Valor of Champions” in the Philippines but it ended in a no-contest after an eye poke in the first round. In the same year, they were supposed to have a rematch at “ONE: Pride of Lions” in Singapore but Santos missed weight.


At “ONE: Dynasty of Heroes,” both Askren and ONE Atomweight World Champion Angela “Unstoppable” Lee successfully defended their titles from their respective opponents, Agilan “Alligator” Thani and two-time Muay Thai world champion Istela Nunes. Thani and Nunes lost via arm triangle choke submission at 2:20 minutes of Round 1 and anaconda choke submission at 2:18 minutes of Round 2, respectively.

In Askren’s post-fight interview at “ONE Championship: Dynasty of Heroes,” he said if ONE Middleweight World Champion Vitaly Bigdash still would not fight him, he would like to have Kadestam as his next challenger. Here is a short interview I had with the Philippines-based Swedish MMA fighter two days after his victory over Santos:


CONAN ALTATIS: Was joining ONE Championship part of the plan when you were still starting as an MMA fighter?

ZEBAZTIAN KADESTAM: I’ve always had my eyes on ONE. I love the rule set and their way of promoting martial arts instead of trash talk and that sort of things like other promotions. So I’m very happy things went how it went and that I was able to do this on short notice.

CA: Give me three ONE fighters that you want to fight after Luis Santos.

ZK: To be honest, I want to fight Ben Askren three times.

CA: Who are the people who significantly contributed to your recent win?

ZK: There are so many people that have helped me over the years. I couldn’t have done this without any of them, the people who have been with me in ups and downs no matter what. I also want to thank Pancrase Gym and Legacy gym.


Currently, Kadestam has a record of 9 wins and 3 losses. He defeated Santos, Glenn Sparv, Han Seul Kim, Josh Calvo, Ross Ebanez, Ronald Jhun, Patrick Manicad, Isamu Himura and Seok Mo Kim but lost to Silas Maynard, Hakon Foss and Juho Valamaa.

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