ONE Fighting Championship: 'Rise of Kings' is set to go down this Saturday (Oct. 6, 2012) at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and will star Shinya Aoki and Melvin Manhoef with two titles given away for the first time.
The first five mixed martial arts (MMA) fights consist of a couple of bouts between local fighters, which will be available to view free of charge on YouTube, and the first three quarterfinal bouts of the ONE FC Bantamweight Grand Prix featuring the likes of Jens Pulver, Masakatsu Ueda and Yusup Saadulaev.
145 lbs. Mitch Chilson (US) vs Ngabdi Mulyadi (Indonesia):
Mitch Chilson's last fight ended prematurely when the referee chose to halt the action as he was working for a takedown. It was later ruled a no contest due to an illegal soccer kick which the referee also failed to spot and he will be hoping to put that controversy behind him by finishing this fight convincingly.
Standing between Chilson and a return to winning ways is Ngabdi Mulyadi, a highly experienced wrestler who has represented Indonesia in numerous tournaments and competitions and won a bronze medal at the SEA Games.
Mulyadi is also a veteran of at least 11 MMA fights who is coming off a win at 'Battle at the Arena' in Bandung in March. He didn't seem to be very strong on striking or submissions on his ONE FC debut when he lost to Peter Davis but, as you would expect from a decorated wrestler, he has explosive takedowns and will be bigger and stronger having dropped down to featherweight.
Chilson is the much more well rounded of the two and has the tools to win by either submission or KO. Mulyadi's only chance of success is to put the American on his back and mount a ground and pound based offence so that his opponent is too busy defending to put his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) blue belt to good use.
125 lbs.: Bruce Loh (Singapore) vs Gianni Subba (Malaysia):
Bruce Loh took this fight at just 10 day's notice but he is a highly experienced martial artist who has all the tools to do well in the ONE FC flyweight division. He will also be around 15 years the senior of Malaysian Gianni Subba and that experience could come into play on what will be an emotional fight.
Singapore vs Malaysia is an old rivalry and the crowd will be firmly behind Loh, it could come down to which fighter copes best with the occasion as neither has ever fought in an event on this scale. Subba comes from a wrestling and BJJ background but will probably be at a disadvantage in the stand up exchanges.
Loh is a Sanshou fighter with solid Muay Thai and he also has a blue belt in BJJ. He did take this fight at very short notice and if Subba can survive the early exchanges cardio could be an issue for the Singaporean.
Bantamweight Grand Prix:
135 lbs.: Kevin Belingon (Philippines) vs Yusup Saadulaev (Russia):
Yusup Saadulaev was on the verge of establishing himself as one of the very best bantamweights in the world before an unfortunate nine month break from competitive action took him off most people's radars.
He will have a chance to cement his status as a top contender by winning the ONE FC Bantamweight Grand Prix and will be a favorite against Kevin Belingon, who never seems to gets given an easy ride by the ONE FC matchmakers.
The Filipino has outstanding Wushu and if he can keep the fight standing his unconventional striking should cause the Russian a lot of problems. The problem for Belingon, who was taken down at will by Soo Chul Kim, is that Saadulaev is a very accomplished wrestler who has won numerous grappling tournaments.
Belingon's takedown defense will be the key to this fight. If the URCC flyweight champion can stuff Saadulaev's shots and keep the fight standing he will be a favourite to win but if the wrestler from Dagestan succeeds in getting a grip on him it could be a very one sided contest.
135 lbs.: Masakatsu Ueda (Japan) vs Min Jung Song (Korea):
Masakatsu Ueda is an excellent signing by ONE FC, many questioned the wisdom of Bellator's decision to release him and the Japanese fighter is a perfect fit for Asia's biggest MMA organization.
He will be a strong favourite against Min Jung Song although the Korean is a better fighter than his record suggests and his losses are all against tough fighters such as Kyung Ho Kang and Andrew Leone.
Both fighters have a tendency to go the distance and this could go the full three rounds. Ueda should have a point to prove on his return to Asia after a disappointing defeat in the opening round of the Bellator Bantamweight Tournament and will want to finish in slightly more spectacular style if he can.
135 lbs.: Jens Pulver (US) vs Yanfei Zhao (China):
After losing to Eric Kelly last time out Pulver will be dropping back down to his more natural weight of 135 lbs. The former UFC Lightweight Champion started strong against the Filipino and landed a couple of perfectly timed punches which stopped him in his tracks before fading in the second stanza.
Although he is not the force he once was Pulver will be a very dangerous opponent for Yanfei Zhao who is a Sanda fighter with a 3-2 MMA record. The American has NCAA level wrestling which he can use to dictate where the fight takes place and is still very dangerous with his boxing.
The stand-up exchanges have the potential to be exciting as Zhao has strong Sanda and won't back down from a striking battle. The Chinese fighter also once went three rounds with China's top bantamweight so his submission defense is solid, Pulver's experience gives him the edge but this is far from an easy fight for him and could go either way.
ONE FC: ‘Rise of the Kings’ will be headlined by a bout between Shinya Aoki and Arnaud Lepont. The online stream will be $10 USD and it will also be available on pay-per-view (PPV) in the US for the first time.
For more information visit: www.onefc.com