By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Sometimes, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) got some of the biggest ironies in the world of sports.
In the case of the returning Lito Adiwang, he took an 18-month absence, only to finish his Indonesian opponent Adrian Mattheis in just 23 seconds.
Welcome back to the ONE Fighting Championship stage, Thunder Kid!
In a highly-anticipated comeback after taking a break from professional MMA to recover from all of his injuries, the Filipino striker just pulled off one of the most devastating first-round knockouts in the history of ONE last September 22, 2023, held at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
Adiwang wasted no time in the first round and found a little opening in the 23rd second that ended Mattheis’ hopes of stealing a win from the Pinoy pug.
As Mattheis leaned in to throw a left hook, the clever Adiwang read the sequence very well and already prepared an incoming right punch counter that floored the Indonesian.
After that one punch that sent Mattheis to the canvas, Adiwang rushed in to throw heavy ground and pound strikes which forced the match referee to jump in and stop the fight, rewarding the Thunder Kid with a technical knockout victory.
It was a successful mission for Adiwang as he was seeking to end his two-fight losing streak last year and returned to the ONE stage with a bang.
The power was still there. Despite the long pause from MMA, Adiwang showed no signs of ring rust and showed flashes of his 2019 version where he tallied an impressive seven-fight winning streak.
This is also a positive start to Adiwang’s quest for redemption as he lost his spot for a title bid in the men’s flyweight division.
After his loss to Jarred Brooks two years ago, Adiwang was relegated to a lower rank in the division and got worse after suffering a disappointing defeat at the hands of his kababayan, Jeremy Miado.
Now that he’s back at a 100%, expect the solid power puncher to climb back into the ranks of the flyweight division and dominate his opponents once again.