Born on September 12th, 1991 in New Jersey, USA, 30 year-old Garry Tonon (aka “The Lion Killer”), has made a strong impression as one of the most promising stars of ONE Championship with a compact, yet spotless, 6-0 record.
Tonon started wrestling in 5th grade. It wasn’t until he turned 14, when his friend invited him to a Jiu-Jitsu tournament, that he became fascinated with the grappling art, inspiring him to take up BJJ at an MMA gym.
Shortly after, he settled at the Ocean County Jiu-Jitsu academy, where he trained under the teachings of Tom DeBlass and Ricardo Almeida.
In 2008, Tonon participated in the IBJJF, winning his first world title in the blue belt Juvenile Division, and by 2013, Tonon had earned his black belt from his long-time coach.
Although Tonon had made a name for himself in the submission grappling scene, his real test came in the form of former ONE Champion, Shinya Aoki, in 2017, pulling off a stunning upset over “The Grand Master of Flying Submissions” with a remarkable heel hook.
That contest was considered Tonon’s debut for ONE Championship, but he wouldn’t enter an MMA bout until 2018.
Deciding to enter the MMA scene, Tonon worked on his stand-up, with more emphasis on head movement, inspired by “Iron” Mike Tyson.
Four years into his pro MMA career, “The Lion Killer” has quickly risen to the top of the featherweight division, is currently ranked no.3 in ONE Championship, and is set to face kicking legend, Thanh Le this Friday, March 11th for his first world title. With this much momentum, he seems unstoppable!
So…without further ado, let’s shoot straight into Garry Tonon’s Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)
5. Vs. Anthony Engelen — ONE: A New Era (Mar. 31, 2019)
Now in his second year, Tonon continued his momentum by defending his perfect 3-0 record against Anthony “Archangel” Engelen, who held an 8-5 record.
The Lion Killer began round 1 with an aggressive stance change and head movement, before catching an attempted leg kick, taking Engelen down with a single leg into half guard.
Engelen escaped the guard, but The Lion Killer recaptured him back to half guard, and moved swiftly into full mount.
Tonon started to hammer away before mounting onto Archangel’s back. As Engelen struggled to his feet, Tonon greeted him with knee strikes and 12-6 elbows to the head.
Every time Engelen attempted to regain his stance, The Lion Killer would bring the Archangel back down, making quick work of defeating his opponent with a constant barrage of punches, earning a TKO victory at 4:12 at round 1 without hardly even breaking a sweat.
4. Vs. Richard Corminal — ONE: Iron Will (Mar. 24, 2018)
Tonon returned to ONE Championship, this time in his pro MMA debut at lightweight against Richard “Notorious” Corminal, who held a 4-3 record.
Beginning round 1, Tonon had a difficult task finding an opening through Corminal’s reach advantage, yet his competent foot work and calculating head movement helped even up the odds as he flourished with counter strikes.
After landing a left hook and right uppercut, Tonon countered a right hook with the first takedown of the fight. Corminal got back to his feet, whereupon Tonon approached with a barrage of hooks and uppercuts.
Tonon landed a crisp right cross to Corminal’s chin, turning him on his back. Tonon sought the opportunity to lay on the ground-and-pound, before the end of round 1.
Round 2 began with Tonon pushing forward with kicks from all directions.
Corminal defended a takedown attempt, but Tonon swept Notorious’ leg, completing the takedown straight into half guard, then proceeded to land bombshells.
Refusing to let go of his struggling prey, Tonon scored his third takedown, continuing to change guard, and landing more ground-and-pound fury ending with nasty12-6 elbows, forcing the referee to stop the contest at 3:40 at round 2, declaring The Lion Killer the winner by TKO.
3. Vs. Sung Jong Lee — ONE: Heart of the Lion (Nov. 9, 2018)
After a rough start at lightweight, Tonon moved down to featherweight. His first test was against Sung Jong Lee, who was holding a 4-2 record.
Both men began round 1 favouring stand up, with Tonon’s constant head movement proving to be an irritating distraction for Jong Lee.
Tonon countered a right cross with a perfectly timed takedown into full guard. Lee got to his feet, with Tonon proceeding to thrust his knees into his opponent.
Continuing to pursue with constant head movement, Tonon selected his shots with solid precision, yet Jong Lee caught him with a right hand that cut him on the cheek.
After absorbing a few right hands, Tonon resorted back to his strategic pattern of stance changes and head movement, managing to keep the distance and evade Jong Lee’s attempted right overhands.
Before the end of round 1, Tonon pulled off a stunning sweep takedown. Jong Lee rose to his feet only to be greeted by a thunderous flying knee.
Round 2 was underway, as Tonon turned up with an aggressive approach to his movement, with smooth footwork and an improved striking game, including an inside kick temporally disturbing Jong Lee’s balance.
After scoring his third explosive takedown, Tonon locked Jong Lee straight into a guillotine choke.
After intensive struggling, Jong Lee eventually caved in, ending the fight at 2:04 at round 2, earning The Lion Killer the victory via guillotine choke submission.
It’s clear that Tonon had found his ‘sweet spot’ dropping down to featherweight.
2. Vs. Rahul Raju — ONE: Reign of Kings (Jul. 27, 2018)
Tonon’s second turnout would be his toughest challenge at that time, matched against Rahul “The Kerala Krusher” Raju, who held a 5-2 record and a deadly right hand.
In round 1, Tonon consistently attempted to circle the cage, stepping in with head movement for an attack, though constantly at the mercy of Rahul’s punishment.
Rahul was greeted by a successful takedown from Tonon, who landed into a full mount. Rahul managed to get back to his feet, and despite Tonon sweeping his leg and scoring another takedown, before effortlessly rolling Rahul onto his back into a heel hook, Rahul was able to defend it.
Rahul seemed to be getting the upper hand when he caught a body kick, scoring a takedown, but was swiftly caught by another heel hook from Tonon. Despite Rahul escaping the heel hook, Tonon came roaring with a knee to the body, before scoring his second takedown of the fight and ending round 1 with ground-and-pound.
Starting round 2, Tonon threw various kicks while also keeping distance, with a head kick just barely scratching Rahul. A high kick attempt by Rahul was intercepted by Tonon, resulting in another takedown.
Despite the difficulty of Rahul’s reach, Tonon remained cautious, moved his head a lot and managed to score a few shots before the end of round 2.
Not wasting any more time, Tonon started round 3 shooting and securing a takedown. Rahul would return to his feet, with Tonon sweeping the leg to score another takedown. The pair returned to stand-up after Rahul escaped a triangle choke.
The Lion Killer threw an overhand right, followed by his explosive, signature takedown. Tonon gained Rahul’s back, and trapped his right arm, to secure a perfect rear naked choke (RNC). Rahul submitted at 3:27 of round 3, declaring Tonon the winner.
1. Vs. Yoshiki Nakahara — ONE: Enter the Dragon (May 17, 2019)
Coming up to his fifth fight, Garry Tonon had improved his game significantly, looking to take another step-up the featherweight ladder by facing Yoshiki Nakahara, who held a 13-4 record.
Round 1 began with Tonon favouring flashy kicks to the head and body of Nakahara, while testing his opponent’s patience with constant stance changes and head movements.
Tonon caught the leg, swiftly rolling backwards, wrapping Nakahara into a heel hook, forcing his opponent to tap and the referee to stop the fight at 55 seconds of round 1.
Tonon was declared the winner via heel hook submission. This was The Lion Killer’s quickest win to date among his pro MMA bouts, “Entering the Dragon” contest in exchange for another big cat ‘Lion’ trophy!