MMA: Adiwang relishes 23-second win in comeback fight


Posted at Sep 25 2023 07:51 PM

Lito Adiwang needed just 23 seconds to return to the win column. Handout/ONE Championship.
Lito Adiwang needed just 23 seconds to return to the win column. Handout/ONE Championship.

MANILA — Lito Adiwang made a huge statement during his comeback fight at ONE Friday Fights 34.

The ‘Thunder Kid’ defeated Adrian "Papua Badboy" Mattheis via technical knockout in just 23 seconds. More than this emphatic victory, it was about overcoming his inner demons which came from a series of unfortunate events for Adiwang. 

“Before going to the fight, aaminin ko na this is the most nervous I’ve entered a fight in, Maraming pressure at alam natin lahat ng nangyari,” he said, speaking about his loss against a then-debuting Jarred “The Monkey God” Brooks at ONE NextGen III, and the ACL tear that he suffered during his defeat against Jeremy “The Jaguar” Miado at ONE X.

These series of setbacks, alongside the injury, led to him sitting out for 18 months, and it was the sole reason why he was nervous during his return to the ring.

“Natalo tayo and it hurts so much nung natalo ako kasi doble yung impact: natalo ako kahit na I believe I can beat that opponent at natalo ako na pilay ako, na I needed to do surgery, operations, rehab, and everything. Lahat na natalo,” he said.

But the Igorot rising star, who is now under Indonesia’s Hiit Studio, overcame the odds as he successfully torched his opponent in less than 30 seconds, and motivating him were the events that he said he never wants to experience ever again.

“Ayokong mabalik sa ganyan. So I really had to think positive, believe in myself, and pull the trigger, and do my best,” said Adiwang. 

“Lahat ng nangyari sa akin ang nakapag-boost ng confidence ko para di na ulit yun mangyari. Kaya talagang pinush ako na once mag-comeback ako, walang rason na matatalo tayo.”

With the newfound confidence, he then announced that he was back in the hunt for the ONE Strawweight MMA World Championship. But more than that, his recent win is proof of how his sacrifices and efforts were all worth the risk. 

“Leaving your comfort zone, making big sacrifices, it’s all gonna be worth it in the end,” he said. “Naipakita natin and na-prove natin, and I did my part. Mahirap man physically, emotionally, and mentally, but I did it and I really believe that I showed it with the result.”