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Honorio Banario believes he can take Timofey Natsyukhin’s best shots

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Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario is following a strict diet and training regimen in preparation for what is arguably his most dangerous bout to date.

He will face Russian knockout artist Timofey Nastyukhin in the semifinal round of the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix at ONE: Dawn of Heroes, which takes place inside the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila on Friday, August 2.

Banario got his shot at redemption after Lowen Tynanes — the man who defeated him in the quarterfinals — had to withdraw from the tournament due to an injury. Now, the Team Lakay standout is doing everything he can to capitalize on this rare second chance.

“I changed my diet because I want to go back to my younger days where I was faster, I had very good stamina, and I was generally leaner,” Banario shared.

“I am controlling my sugar and watching my intake for food with high cholesterol. So everything that I eat, I get to burn during training.”

The 29-year-old Nastyukhin sent shockwaves across the globe when he defeated former four-time Lightweight Mixed Martial Arts World Champion Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez via first-round knockout at ONE: A New Era this past March.

Capable of going the distance or ending a match by either knockout or submission, Banario is making sure that he has all corners covered in anticipation of this high-octane affair.

“I also worked on improving my strengths and where I excel, and of course I kept an eye on the things that I needed to work on,” he continued.

“I am working on my striking and adding on my power, while practicing my grappling as well. We have a well-rounded training program in preparation for this, so that come event night, I’ll be very confident because I am in the best shape of my life.”

Nastyukhin is a familiar face to Filipino mixed martial arts fans.

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In 2014, the hard-hitting Russian shared the Circle with Banario’s teammate and former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang.

The bout showcased Nastyukhin’s explosiveness and devastating power, as he soundly defeated Folayang by knockout in the opening round.

Knowing firsthand what it is like to be on the receiving end of the Russian’s fierce strikes, “Landslide” is taking part in devising Banario’s strategy for his upcoming bout. He has also given “The Rock” some important pointers, too.

“Eduard keeps on telling me to watch out for his punches because when he punches, he gives it his all. But when you avoid it, he somewhat becomes out of balance,” he revealed.

“In wrestling, maybe that’s where I can match him. He’s explosive, so it’s something that I am looking at because I know we’re both strikers.”

In the event that Nastyukhin catches him with his trademark bombs, Banario is assured that his chin will hold up.

“I am confident that I can take his shots when it lands and gets past my defense,” he said.

“All in all, I am confident with my striking defense.”

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