Throughout the years, the mixed martial arts scene in India has faced countless challenges. But recently, the country has produced promising MMA fighters including Rahul “The Kerala Krusher” Raju, 27, who hails from Kerala, India and is competing in the featherweight division of ONE Championship.
“I always try to put the pressure on my opponents (and) literally crush them,” Raju shared. “So my head coach Arvind Lalwani gave me the name Kerala Krusher.”
Raju started competing in the amateur ranks in 2014 and turned professional in 2016. His unforgiving offense helped him finish off four of his first six opponents in the cage and while earning himself an intimidating nickname.
From late 2014 to early 2017, Raju was an undefeated fighter. On January 28, 2017, he faced two Filipino opponents in the Philippines at “URCC: BETS” consecutively.
At “URCC: BETS,” Raju defeated Andrew Benibe via unanimous decision. After the victory, the Indian MMA fighter faced his first loss in the cage as he lost to Reydon “Red” Romero via unanimous decision.
Earlier this year, Raju made his ONE Championship debut, joining arguably the most stacked division in the promotion. To date, five different people have laid claim to the world title, the most in any division in the promotion’s history.
Unfortunately, it has not been a dream start for Raju. He was knocked out by Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai, 29, of Thailand at “ONE: Iron Will” on March 24, 2018 and was submitted by Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon, 27, of the United States at “ONE: Reign of Kings” on July 27, 2018.
But like a true warrior, Raju takes his twin defeats as learning opportunities and is now raring to get back in the cage as soon as possible. When asked when he would be ready to compete in the cage again, he said, “As soon as possible, November or December at the most. I want to end this year with a good finish (by taking a) victory.”
Currently, Raju holds a professional MMA record of 5 wins and 3 losses. Watch the bout between him and Tonon here: