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Pretty Boy” Troy Worthen believes he needs just one more challenge to earn a rightful shot at Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes’ ONE Bantamweight World Championship. 

The Evolve representative extended his winning run to 7-0 courtesy of a unanimous decision win against Mark “Tyson” Fairtex Abelardo at ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE last Friday, 28 February, in Singapore.

The NCWA Conference Champion mixed his unique wrestling skills and improved striking arsenal to outclass his New Zealand-Filipino opponent in the Singapore Indoor Stadium. 

“I’m really happy that I got to showcase my striking. In my other bouts, I didn’t get too many chances to show what I’ve been working on,” the 26-year-old said. 

“I was not going to just go into takedowns, I was going to push him and test him in striking, so I was super happy that I had the time to show people that even with a guy that is considered a Muay Thai fighter who trains at one of the biggest Muay Thai gyms, I can still strike with him.” 

After the bout, Worthen had a lot of respect for his opponent who pushed him over three rounds. Abelardo pushed through every attack with heart and resilience and countered whenever he found an opening.

“He has an iron chin. I was swinging those kicks as hard as I could,” Worthen said.

“Some of them were connecting on his chin, but he just kept getting back up and walking through them.”

With his third consecutive win in seven months in The Home Of Martial Arts, “Pretty Boy” knows he is climbing up the bantamweight division at a rapid pace.

However, he believes he will need another three-round war to prove he is a worthy to challenge for the bantamweight gold. 

“I think I need one more, maybe a very top-tier opponent, and then I could definitely get that title shot,” he said.

“I’m not the type of person that’s going to keep asking for the same thing, but I think Yusup Saadulaev would be a perfect fight for me. He’s 5-0 in the division in his last five fights.

“He’s on a big winning streak. He’s a grappler which I haven’t yet faced at that level yet, and I think it could answer a lot of questions on how I would perform against Bibiano.”

In the meantime, ONE Championship travels to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for ONE: HEART OF HEROES on 20 March.