Adrian “Papua Badboy” Mattheis has been a fan favourite in ONE Championship since debuting with two knockouts in one night in 2016.
The 25-year-old will return for his ninth appearance in the world’s biggest martial arts organization against Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan at ONE: BATTLE FOR THE HEAVENS in Guangzhou, China on 7 July.
He will enter the Guangzhou Tianhe Gymnasium riding a huge wave of momentum thanks to a three-bout win streak, which was capped by a victory over Lan Ming Qiang in April.
The Indonesian is renowned for his intensity, his heart, and exciting bouts, but he emerged from that match-up with credit for the most mature performance of his career.
“Papua Badboy” is a man who prefers to stand and trade, but a disciplined and tactical approach enabled him to get a unanimous verdict after 15 minutes. It was the first time the judges had been required in any of his bouts.
“Lan was very tough,” he says. “I hit him a lot, and he did not fall. He was a very tough opponent, but the fight was very important to me because I showed the world I can last three rounds.
“My striking is quite good. I like to stand and trade, but sometimes, I have to take my opponents down, like Lan. Striking is his speciality.”
That third consecutive win was all down to following a game plan. The Jakarta native’s coach, Zuli “The Shark” Silawanta, was pleased with the way his athlete stuck to the script and continued his run of success.
He admits they will have to tweak their tactics in China to have the best chance of improving the streak to four, but they will favour Mattheis strength in the striking realm.
“The game plan used to be up and down – stand up and take down,” the coach says. “With Catalan, it will be stand up and stay up.”
Catalan is an opponent who has proven himself to be adept in every aspect of mixed martial arts. He is an IFMA World Muay Thai Champion, but he has also showcased his explosive wrestling and technical submission repertoire.
Mattheis and his team have done their homework on “The Ilonggo” at Tigershark Academy, and have taken lessons from his bout against Catalan’s older brother and teammate, Rene, last January.
The Indonesian has proved he has made huge improvements in the cage since then. Though his next test is likely to be the toughest of his career, he will approach it with sharper skills, more confidence, and in better physical condition than ever.
“My body feels stronger, and I have more muscle. I have a lot of technique, and I have had fights with good fighters,” he says.
That self-belief will be allied with the fact that his strategy will be to stay away from the ground game and focus on landing with punches, kicks, and knees.
Mattheis’ appearance in Guangzhou will come before he has completed two years on the ONE roster, but a fourth straight triumph will send a notice to the division’s upper echelon that he is already ready to compete alongside them.