Boracay-based Swede fighter credits stay in PH for MMA success

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Kadestam predicts upset vs Askren

Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam has been training in Boracay for 5 years. Handout photo

ONE championship welterweight contender Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam, a native of Stockholm, Sweden, has been training in the Philippines since 2012.

With a professional record of nine wins and three losses, Kadestam believes that the well-established mixed martial arts scene in the Philippines has played a pivotal role in his career.

Kadestam is one of the few foreign nationals who opted to compete professionally in the country, joining the likes of Pete Brooks, Hideo Morikawa, Nicholas Mann, and fellow ONE championship competitor Igor Subora.

The 26-year-old Swedish striker raised his stock as a cage combatant in the Philippines, training out of Legacy Gym in Boracay, Aklan under the tutelage of decorated kickboxer Ole Laursen.

Kadestam had four exciting bouts in the Philippines, including an 11-second stoppage of Finnish rival Glenn Sparv in April 2016 to capture the welterweight championship of a regional promotion.

ONE Championship took notice and pitted him against former welterweight title contender Luis “Sapo” Santos last May. The unheralded Swede got completely dominated in the first two rounds before pulling off a miraculous knockout.

Kadestam’s stunning victory over Santos swiftly earned him a world title opportunity as he is set to lock horns with the toughest opponent of his professional career in Ben “Funky” Askren.

When asked if the Philippines had a big contribution to his success, Kadestam responded, “Definitely, I would not have come to this country if I were not certain of having a career here.”

“The Philippines is my home away from home. It’s a beautiful country. My stay in the Philippines for four years spark-plugged my professional career in the sport. I am grateful for everything that this country has given me,” he said.

Kadestam is set to tangle with Askren in the main event of ONE: Shanghai at Shanghai Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai, China this Saturday.

The Swede is again predicted to pull off an upset against Askren, who is recognized as one of the world’s best welterweights with a clean record of 16-0.

“I am no pushover. I am not someone’s footstool. On September 2nd, I will once again shock the world. Ben Askren is only a man, and he is beatable. The belt will soon be mine,” he said.

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)



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