4-0, and a shot at the belt!
Napuri wins fight of the night
Variety. Variety is perhaps the source of interest responsible for mixed martial art’s meteoric rise in popularity beyond traditional modes of combat sport such as boxing or wrestling. While the results of each of Marino Napuri’s first four fights were the same, victory by TKO, the maneuvers to achieve them paint a varied picture:
Fight 1: victory by ground and pound
Fight 2: patiently timed counter punch
Fight 3: barrage of Muay Thai knees to the body
Fight 4: devastating right hook
On paper, Napuri’s final stamp on his fourth consecutive victory, a right handed knockout punch, belies the complexity of his preparation leading up to the memorable moment. Napuri is now known for remarkably crisp and effective striking, which he credits to years of training with his head coach, Joseph Del Real. The question going into this last fight was how would Napuri respond to a gifted takedown artist, or grappler? The opponent came from a wrestling background, and was a nationally ranked amateur at that. So to train for this known obstacle, Napuri worked tirelessly on takedown defense and grappling with sparring partners ranging from black belts in jiujitsu to a former Division 1 wrestler with the UFC on his resumé.
The fruits of Strikers, Inc and Napuri’s combined labor was a fight fought on their own terms. They dictated which dimension of the multifaceted sport the contest would be decided in. Napuri defended multiple takedowns and fluidly thwarted submission attempts in the little time that was spent on the ground. This brought the fight to a striking match, wherein Napuri’s exciting artistry shines. Nonetheless, his opponent was so highly ranked for a reason, and the fight that ensued was a barnburner that brought the crowd to their feet. Having received visible damage from multiple strikes while cornered in the second round, Napuri mustered up an inspirational second wind from god knows where, ultimately turning the tides of the fight, landing a perfect hook, and bringing the unforgettable fight to a dramatic and cinematic conclusion.
Napuri’s achievement has already earned him a shot at an amateur belt and his first MMA championship in June.
An energized (and unfiltered) Napuri reflects on his impressive win in the the post-fight media interview below: