Shamil Gasanov
Shamil Gasanov is known for his moniker "Cobrar," an homage to his constricting ground game. ONE Championship


  • Shamil Gasanov faces Garry Tonon at ONE Fight Night 12
  • A victory over Tonon will help Gasanov's case to get a title shot
  • Gasanov feels he stands a chance against Tonon's grappling

Shamil Gasanov finds himself in an enviable position as he faces a former world title contender in his next assignment under the ONE Championship banner.

The 27-year-old undefeated mixed martial artist from Makhachkala, Russia is penciled to lock horns with No. 2-ranked featherweight contender Garry Tonon in the co-headliner of ONE Fight Night 12, which takes place at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand on Saturday, July 15 (Friday, July 14 in the United States).

"Cobra" acknowledges that his upcoming bout represents an opportunity to accelerate his journey toward the ultimate goal of vying for the prestigious ONE featherweight championship, which is currently in the possession of rising Chinese star Tang Kai.

"If I defeat Garry Tonon, I am confident that a title shot will be in my near future," Gasanov said.

Gasanov initially put the 155-pound bracket on notice when he made his scintillating promotional debut in October 2022, defeating then-rated featherweight Kim Jae Woong by way of first-round submission.

That victory earned him the No. 5 seat in the division's rankings, as well as the International Business Times' recognition as ONE Championship's 2022 Male Prospect of the Year.

The highly-touted Peresvet Fight Team member was supposed to make his return to action this past February against former two-division ONE world champion Martin Nguyen, but he was forced to withdraw from the matchup due to an "infection" that stemmed from an injury he sustained in training.

Now back in peak and healthy condition, Gasanov has made it known that he plans to seize the moment by taking out another big name in his weight class.

In fact, Gasanov has admittedly been eyeing a date with the accomplished American grappler for quite some time.

"I have been closely following my division in ONE for a long time, even when I was competing in another promotion. Fighting Tonon has been a dream of mine for a while," he shared.

"I have watched his fights in ADCC, and I consider him the most dangerous opponent in my division. I never look for shortcuts in my career, so I am fully prepared to face Garry."

While it cannot be denied that Tonon poses a real threat in the grappling department thanks to his extensive Brazilian jiu-jitsu pedigree, Gasanov remains optimistic that he will be able to hold his own.

"I have more experience in MMA than Garry. I've also competed in BJJ, grappling, and freestyle wrestling, so I believe we have an equal chance on the ground," he stated.

Despite his belief in what he brings to the table, he is aware that Tonon should not be taken lightly, underscoring his opponent's signature leglocks.

"Tonon should not be underestimated. Both of us are skilled grapplers, and we pose a threat until the final second of the fight," Gasanov mentioned.

"Maintaining focus is crucial as a single mistake can cost [someone] the victory. He is particularly dangerous with his leglocks."

Tonon may be an exceptional submission specialist who puts his opponents on the defensive, but Gasanov aims to stop him in his tracks by mounting a substantial offense of his own.

"I do a lot of grappling with black belts and leglock specialists. I also have extensive wrestling sessions with freestyle wrestlers. I never approach a fight with just a defensive strategy. I'll be launching my attacks from the opening seconds of our bout," he declared.

Shamil Gasanov
Shamil Gasanov plans to move up the featherweight rankings by beating Garry Tonon at ONE Fight Night 12. ONE Championship