The ONE Championship debut of Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam, 27, of Sweden was a successful one. His first bout in the promotion was on May 26, 2017 at “ONE: Dynasty of Heroes” at the Singapore Indoor Stadium where he knocked out Luis “Sapo” Santos, 38, of Brazil.
“I do not think I have ever fought like that before,” Kadestam recalled. “I was waiting and waiting because I could feel his power, especially in the first two minutes.”
“He had power in everything,” the Swedish MMA fighter said of Santos. “He was fast in his hands and knees. My plan was to attack a lot more, but I could also see him gas early.”
Kadestam became the hottest property in ONE Championship’s growing welterweight division after his astonishing promotional debut. It was a daunting task for him as he accepted a three-round welterweight encounter against a former world title contender on just two weeks’ notice.
In the opening two rounds of the contest at “ONE: Dynasty of Heroes,” Kadestam was completely dominated, but in the final stanza, he pulled off a miraculous knockout. Midway of the third round, he sprawled a sluggish takedown attempt from the Brazilian and reversed position.
The Swedish fighter hammered his Brazilian opponent with strikes from side control. A pair of hard knees put the finishing touches as the referee stepped in to call a halt to the contest at 2:18 of the third and final frame.
By defeating Santos, Kadestam earned a shot at the ONE Welterweight World Championship and challenged Ben “Funky” Askren, 33, of the United States at “ONE Championship: Shanghai” on September 2, 2017. At 4:09 of the second round, the American champ knocked out his Swedish challenger.
Now, Kadestam is eager to erase the memory of the his to Askren by putting himself back on the winning track. The Swedish fighter will return to the cage on July 13, 2018 at “ONE: Pursuit of Power” at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In the main event of “ONE: Pursuit of Power,” Kadestam will face in Agilan “The Alligator” Thani, 22, of Malaysia. The latter challenged Askren at “ONE: Dynasty of Heroes” on May 26, 2017 but also failed.
Santos is also competing at “ONE: Pursuit of Power.” He will face Tyler McGuire, 32, of the United States in the welterweight division.
Meanwhile, watch the bout between Kadestam and Santos here: