A star was born on Saturday night at the historic York Hall in Bethnal Green, East London. The undefeated Tayo Odunjo (2-0) knocked out Jaz “Bizzle” Singh (1-1) in the first round of the main event to capture the inaugural MTK MMA Welterweight Title. It’s obvious we are witnessing something special with the rise of Tayo Odunjo in UK MMA. The Londoner’s rabid fan base made themselves known by chanting the name of their local hero throughout the night before he even stepped a foot inside the cage. The pair engaged in an entertaining round of MMA action that had the fans gripped from start to the finish with a second to spare in the first round.
The crowd was at fever pitch as the fighters faced off in the center of the cage for their final instructions from referee Sam Amidi. Both men started off the action by throwing leg kicks before Jaz landed an inside leg kick and looked for the big right hand. They briefly exchanged with some dirty boxing on the inside before Singh scored with the takedown and ended up in Odunjo’s closed guard. Tayo stayed active from his back and avoided any major damage before Jaz stood back up. Odunjo threw up-kicks as Singh stood over him looking for an opening back on the ground. Tayo got back to his feet and was met with a knee to the body. The Revolution Martial Arts member retaliated by landing a straight left hand and taking Jaz down to the ground. Singh managed to briefly work his way back to his feet but was quickly slammed back down to the canvas. Jaz attempted a straight armbar but the Roger Gracie Academy student Odunjo managed to escape the dangerous position.
Tayo looked calm and composed as he picked his shot and rocked Jaz with a left hand. Singh managed to quickly recover and land a knee before holding on against the cage. Odunjo separated from a bloody Singh and landed again with a straight left hand that dropped his opponent to the canvas. Tayo followed Jaz to the mat with three big right hands that left Jaz unconscious at 4:59 of round one.
The new Welterweight champion featured on the first MTK MMA show in May 2018, where he stopped Jake Watkins in the first round. Odunjo went on to make his professional debut with MTK MMA as part of the 4-man Welterweight title eliminator last October. Odunjo submitted Jahreau Shepherd in the first round of an entertaining scrap to advance to the tournament finals.
Tayo Odunjo is a product of a great set of coaches and gyms. Tayo boxed as an amateur at Finchley Boxing Club, where heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua got his start in the game. Odunjo’s Mixed Martial Arts game is overseen by veteran Steve O’Keefe at the Revolution Martial Arts gym, where he also works with kickboxing champion Daniel Sam. The Londoner also spends time working on his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game at the famous Roger Gracie Academy.
Jaz Singh will go back to the drawing board at Team Crossface after a great showing in the tournament. The 24-year-old stepped in to replace the injured Scott Jansen against Tommy King in the MTK MMA 4-man welterweight title eliminator. Singh knocked out the K1 veteran in 9 seconds and earned his place in the finals opposite Odunjo.
Photos by Benjamin Bowles