Hideki “Shrek” Sekine (7-1) learned a serious lesson during his last match, but the BJJ and judo black belt from Japan is determined to teach one of his own, when he climbs into the cage at ONE: TOTAL VICTORY this Saturday night.
Last December, the then-undefeated mammoth challenged ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera for the title in his opponent’s home turf of Manila, Philippines, at ONE: AGE OF DOMINATION.
However, in the most important bout of his career, Sekine was quickly stunned by a high kick that blacked out his left eye. Vera followed up with a few clinch knees before landing several more powerful kicks that knocked Sekine to the ground, and the Filipino champ followed up with ground strikes en route to a first-round TKO victory.
The lesson that day? “I learned the importance of striking,” the Japanese mammoth concedes.
As Sekine resumes his career with ONE Championship live from the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia on 16 September, the world will find out just how much he truly learned about striking from his match against Vera.
That’s because he will meet multi-time Muay Thai and Kickboxing world heavyweight champion Alain “The Panther” Ngalani. This time, Sekine is not looking to fall victim to another elite world-class striker, and he is not comfortable with getting a decision win.
Simply put, he wants to finish Ngalani, and leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that he is truly a force to be reckoned with in the heavyweight division.
“I will combine my techniques to defeat him,” Sekine says. “I think I will strike him down, or submit him with the right position. I want to continue to win in a good way, and I want to compete against Vera someday again.”
It took some time for “Shrek” to recover from the battle wounds he suffered nine months ago in the loss against Vera. It was made even tougher to handle because the Shizuoka, Japan, resident had left a promising career as a police officer behind for the opportunity to chase his martial arts dreams.
Proving his mettle, Sekine has a warrior spirit that seems absolutely unbreakable, so it is not surprising that “Shrek” had a quick recovery. He was back to strength training a month after the bout, and returned to his jiu-jitsu and judo training two months after that.
From there, Sekine continued to stay active in competition. He won the Asia & Oceania ADCC Trials in the +99 kg division, and subsequently earned an invite to participate at the ADCC World Championships. Also, he won two bouts in a custom-rules promotion Ganryujima, and captured the Punctuation Championship.
Now, with momentum on his side, he is prepared for his bout this coming Saturday against Ngalani. And, despite the injuries, his first professional defeat, and the gruelling training regime just to be able to return to the cage, Sekine has never once regretted his career decision.
“I am completely retired from police work and concentrating on martial arts,” he explains. “Martial arts is the tool to connect with others in my life. It brings me lots of friends, shows me the right way of living, and it is such a happiness for me to dedicate my life to martial arts.”