Lowen Tynanes made his mixed martial arts (MMA) debut just over a year ago, but the 22 year old has already made a big impression fighting in Asia. First, he won a hard-fought decision victory in Japan and then he defeated Eduard Folayang in front of an audience of stunned Filipino fans in Manila.
The Hawaiian was best known back home as being a state wrestling champion but he is fast gaining a reputation in Asia. The high-profile win over Folayang brought him to the attention of ONE FC matchmaker Matt Hume and he is booked to make his debut in Kuala Lumpur next month.
Tynanes will be taking on South African Muay Thai standout Vuyisile Colossa at ONE FC: 'Return of Warriors' in Kuala Lumpur in what will be his third consecutive fight in Asia. He has yet to fight in his native Hawaii but says he never set out to make a name for himself in the East.
"Well my first fight in Asia my father was the main event and we both fought on the same card, Heat 19, in Nagoya, Japan and that was a dream come true for me. This URCC fight was an opportunity that I didn’t want to pass and it just so happened to be in Asia as well."
In Tynanes' first professional fight he took on Yosuki Sato in the opening event of Heat 19. having defeated the Japanese fighter by decision he got to watch as his Father, Myles Tynanes, stopped fellow veteran Henry Miller in the main event.
It was possibly the first time that a father and son have fought on the same card and according to Tynanes it was because of Miles, who is a heavyweight who made his debut in 2001 and has a 4-2-1 record, that he decided to take up MMA four years ago.
"I started doing MMA at 18 years old. The reason why I started was from watching my father fight through the years. He is my idol and my inspiration. I dedicate it all to him."
Tynanes was widely dismissed by Asian fight fans prior to the bout with Folayang with many suggesting that this previously unknown 1-0 fighter had been handpicked to pad the record of the URCC welterweight champion and ONE FC title contender.
He proved them emphatically wrong by taking Folayang down immediately and then slicing his cheek open with a brutal elbow which caused the doctor to call off the fight with blood flowing freely from the cheek of the famous Filipino.
Tynanes won himself a lot of fans that night with both his willingness to travel halfway around the world to take on an opponent in his own backyard and his aggressive attitude as soon as the bell sounded but he admitted to feeling some nerves about accepting a fight in the Philippines against such a popular opponent.
"I was nervous because it was my first trip out of the country without my father, the man that stood beside me through every wrestling match, boxing match, and MMA fight but I was ready to fight, didn’t really matter what time or place it was."
Anyone doubting whether Tynanes had the heart for this particular battle would have got their answer when, with Folayang receiving medical attention, the Hawaiian paced up and down like a wounded animal in the neutral corner making it absolutely clear that he had no desire to stop fighting.
Most men would have been silently willing the doctor to call off the fight so that they could walk away with the victory but Tynanes was in the mood to dispense some more punishment.
"When Folayang was in the opposite corner I didn’t know how badly he was injured, I just knew he was still standing. When my opponent leaves the ring I want them to regret ever stepping in there and I don’t like my opponent resting. I was biting on my mouth piece and thinking about all that blood, sweat, tears and hard work we put in the gym."
His next challenge will be a very different one. Whereas Folayang is Wushu fighter with very strong wrestling and a solid ground game Colossa is an world class striker who has beaten some of the best fighters in the division during his Muay Thai career.
The South African has never been stopped but his decision losses have all been to fighters who have been able to outwrestle him and avoid the striking exchanges. That has led some to suggest that this is stylistically a good matchup for the state wrestling champion but Tynanes feels that both he and his opponent are more well rounded than people give them credit for.
"Style-wise I’m ready for everything. People only seen my wrestling but I put more if not the same amount of time into my Jiu-Jitsu and my striking. I believe everyone coming in the game today has to be well rounded, not having a weakness. I’ve watched a lot of his fights I know he’s tough on his feet but he does have good ground. I’m not going to overlook any aspect I'll just be ready for everything."
Wrestlers are renowned for their ability to cut weight and Tynanes looked to have a significant size advantage over Folayang. He cuts an impressive 30 pounds to get down to fighting weight but believes he can continue to compete at 155 lbs for the foreseeable future.
"I walk around at 185 pounds so I guess you can say I am big for a lightweight. I don’t think I will need to move up on weight in the future because of my healthy eating habits. Most people call it dieting, but I call it a lifestyle."
Tynanes looks set to be a handful for any of the fighters in ONE FC's lightweight division. He is looking forward to the challenges that await him competing for Asia's biggest MMA organization and ultimately wants to challenge for the belt.
"I am really excited, seeing the roster they have shows the skill and talent level in ONE FC is very high. Getting to the top in everything I do is always the goal. I want to challenge and be the best that I can be, and if a title shot is in my path I will no doubt give it my all."