mixed martial arts

Cuba’s Gustavo Balart earns 1st ONE Championship win, beats Japan’s Ryuto Sawada in Singapore


Gustavo “El Gladiador” Balart, 34, of Santiago, Cuba has earned his first victory in the Singapore-based martial arts organization ONE Championship. The Cuban wrestler and mixed martial artist was one of the winners at “ONE: Battleground.”

Featuring one Muay Thai contest, one kickboxing bout and four MMA fights, ONE Championship held “ONE: Battleground” at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore on July 30, 2021. In the fourth bout of the evening, Balart fought Ryuto “Dragon Boy” Sawada, 25, of Tokyo, Japan in an MMA bout in the strawweight division.

Gustavo Balart (©ONE Championship)
Gustavo Balart (©ONE Championship)

Mohamad Sulaiman served as the referee. After three five-minute rounds, he raised the hand of Balart, who was declared the winner via unanimous decision.

It improved Balart’s professional MMA record to 9 wins and 4 losses. Sawada now has 14 wins, 7 losses and 1 draw.


Balart was coming out of three consecutive losses. “ONE: Battleground” marked his fourth ONE Championship bout.

In 2012, Balart represented Cuba at the Summer Olympics in London, England. In the men’s 55kg class of Greco-Roman wrestling, he defeated Ayhan Karakuş of Turkey but lost to Choi Gyu-Jin of South Korea.

The Cuban fighter made his professional MMA debut in 2012 and lost to three ONE Championship opponents in 2019 namely Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada, 32, of Yamanishi, Japan, Chan Rothana, 35, of Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan, 33, of Iloilo City, Philippines. He went on hiatus in 2020 amid the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


ONE Championship was founded on July 14, 2011. Among its rivals as the top MMA promotions in the world are the Ultimate Fighting ChampionshipBellator MMA and Professional Fighters League.

The reigning strawweight champion of ONE Championship is Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, 25, of Baguio City, Philippines. He trains out of Team Lakay in La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines.

Pacio has been competing in ONE Championship since 2016. He currently holds a professional MMA record of 19 wins and 3 losses.

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