After a four month break ONE Fighting Championship is back this Saturday night with a card in Jakarta, Indonesia. It features a mixture of established international superstars who will need absolutely no introduction and up and coming fighters who fans outside Asia might not be so familiar with.
2012 is set to be a big year for ONE FC who will be putting on a minimum of eight events in cities across Asia and have also signed a historic ten year television deal with ESPN Star Sports. It is a tremendous opportunity for fighters to make a name for themselves competing on a show which will be available in more homes than any other in the history of Asian MMA.
The action gets underway at the BritAma Arena in Jakarta with a five fight undercard which will be streamed free of charge on the ONE FC website and facebook page followed by a five fight main card which will be available via U-Stream for just $9.99.
After the jump is a preview of all ten fights
Ole Laursen is a former Muay Thai, kickboxing and K-1 star who is rated very highly indeed. He has been out of action for over a year with injuries and needs to put in a good performance to show that he is still a force to be reckoned with in the ONE FC lightweight division.
His opponent, Felipe Enomoto, is no stepping stone though, he is extremely well rounded and has faced UFC calibre fighters in a career spent mainly competing on the European scene. Laursen was once selected for the Filipino national boxing team, an offer he was unable to accept, and will be looking to let his hands go and throw combinations of punches and kicks.
Enomoto who has been preparing for this contest at Tiger Muay Thai in Thailand might well want to take the fight to the floor where he can put almost ten years of BJJ experience to use. Laursen is no slouch on the ground though and even after such a long and successful career he should have no problem motivating himself for this fight.
If Laursen can keep the fight standing he will be a strong favourite, but his takedown defence has looked a little questionable in the past and he also has a dangerous tendency to give up his back. Given that Enomoto has fought three times since he last stepped in the cage the Swiss/Japanese fighter probably has to be the slight favourite but that makes it a fantastic opportunity for the Filipino to prove that even after an extended absence he is still a serious threat.
When Eric Kelly was forced to pull out from this fight due to personal problems ONE FC were fortunate to find a perfect replacement in Honorio Banario. Just like Kelly he is a URCC champion, the only difference is that he holds the lightweight belt and will be dropping down to 145 lbs for the first time in his career.
Bae Young Kwon is coming off a big win against Brian Choi which firmly established him as the number three featherweight in Korea behind UFC veteran Chan Sung Jung and Doo Ho Cho who is fighting for the Deep title this month. He is a strong wrestler with outstanding Judo skills who also packs a serious punch.
Banario is a typical Team Lakay fighter who is well conditioned, well rounded and has a Wushu base. He has never been beaten but he has never faced an opponent of Kwon's calibre. Kwon might be a slight favourite based on the calibre of opposition he has faced but URCC fighters like Kelly and Eduard Folayang have done very well in international competition.
Rustam Khabilov vs Rodrigo Ribeiro (Welterweight)
This is a fascinating fight because it pits a Russian Sambo world champion against a Brazilian with a third degree BJJ black belt. Khabilov has the potential to pick Ribeiro up and slam him to the canvass but if he doesn't knock him out cold in the process (which he has done before) he's likely to be the subject of multiple submission attempts.
Khabilov's record is UFC calibre and if he can improve it to 13-1 by beating Ribeiro the sky is the limit for him career wise. Ribeiro is a seasoned veteran whose record may not be as impressive as his opponents but he has fought extensively in Brazil where the competition is a little more intense than in Russia.
This contest is intriguing partly because the participants have such contrasting martial art background but also because they train at two of the most renowned camps in the world. Ribeiro is at Evolve MMA which is widely regarded as being Asia's top training centre but Khabilov has been working with legendary trainer Greg Jackson and it could well come down to who is able to execute their game plan more effectively.
Falciroli is a second degree BJJ black belt and the reigning CFC bantamweight champion. He is the number one 135 lbs fighter in Australia and won a contract with ONE FC courtesy of a submission victory at CFC 19 last year. Kim is only 20 years old and is a prodigy who is highly rated in Korea but he will be up against a much more experienced opponent for the second consecutive fight.
At ONE Fighting Championship's inaugural show last September he put up a good performance to go three rounds with BJJ world champion Leandro Issa but couldn't quite do enough to win that fight. Life won't get any easier for him against Falciroli who is a veteran of the Australian scene and has also fought for Shooto in Japan.
Falciroli has never been stopped and one went the distance with UFC lightweight Bernardo Magalhaes, only losing by majority decision. Kim is improving rapidly and is an exciting prospect for the future but I expect Falciroli's experience to tell and his superior ground game will probably be the defining factor.
The first fight on the main card is big in more ways than one. Bob 'The Beast' Sapp will probably be tipping the scales at 350 lbs and is coming off a kickboxing win in Dubai last weekend. Rolles Gracie is one of the most exciting heavyweight prospects outside of the UFC and will be looking for the sixth submission win of his career.
This will probably prove popular with the Indonesian crowd but it could also be a defining moment in both men's careers. A win against such a large opponent would reflect extremely well on Gracie but Sapp is a K-1, Pride and Dream veteran with knockout power in both hands and could be a very dangerous proposition for someone who is primarily a grappler.
This fight ends one of two ways and is highly unlikely to last more than a round. Either Gracie submits Sapp or Sapp knocks out Gracie but whatever happens it will probably happen fast.
Raymond Tiew vs Victorio Senduk (Featherweight)
Victorio Senduk won a silver medal for Wushu at the SEA Games in Indonesia last year and has a 2-0 record from MMA fights in Indonesia which took place around eight years ago. He will be giving up three inches in height to Raymond Tiew who also has a background in Wushu and Taekwondo.
This looks set to be a stand up war with neither fighter likely to look for a takedown. Tiew has a 5-2 record from fighting in local events in Malaysia, if he can utilize his superior height and reach he should take this but Senduk has competed at a higher level and might have sufficient experience to negate the size difference in front of his home fans.
Jessie Rafols vs Irshaad Sayed (Bantamweight)
If I had to pick a probable fight of the night this would be it. Rafols fights at 100 mph, once the bell goes he simply does not stop and is relentless with takedowns, ground and pound and submissions. Sayed is one of the most dynamic strikers in the division and like his friend and training partner Vuyisile Colossa he is a Muay Thai world champion whose striking is just as deadly in MMA.
Rafols was originally scheduled to face Ngoo Ditty, who Sayed holds a win over. If the fight stays standing the South African should dominate but if Rafols can impose his gameplan and take the fight to the floor I expect him to prevail. Whatever happens it is unlikely to be boring.
Alex Silva vs Geje Eustaquio (Flyweight)
This is another interesting match up stylistically because it pits a BJJ world champion against a Wushu expert. Geje Eustaquio trains at altitude in Baguio with Team Lakay and Alex Silva is coming off a two month training camp with all the world champions at Evolve MMA so both should be capable of setting a fearsome pace.
Evolve MMA completely transformed Shinya Aoki's Muay Thai so it would be overly simplistic to say that Silva needs a submission to win but he will definitely want to get the fight to the ground if he can. Eustaquio might try to keep the fight standing and use his Wushu striking but he has some explosive takedowns in his arsenal making this fight extremely unpredictable.
Peter Davis vs Ngabdi Mulyadi (Lightweight)
Mulyadi is a veteran of the now defunct TPI FC organization in Indonesia who has a 5-2 record with his only losses coming against outstanding fighters. He is also an out and out wrestler who will be up against someone with some unconventional and explosive striking skills.
Davis is better known in Malaysia for acting and modelling work but the word coming out of his training camp, where he is working alongside experienced fighters like Eric Kelly and Arnaud Lepont, is that they are very excited about his potential as a mixed martial artist.
Mulyadi will be relentless in his pursuit of the takedown but if he can't get it I expect Davis to pick him apart with his superior striking.
Zuli Silawanto vs Agus Nanang (Welterweight)
The undercard gets underway with an all Indonesian affair which is sure to get the crowd going. Silawanto is a seasoned TPI FC veteran who has plenty of experience and claims to be very well rounded. Nanang is a wrestler who will not want the fight to remain standing for too long if he can help it.
It's difficult to make predictions but if SIlawanto can impose his stand up he will probably be favourite, Nanang might need to put him on his back if he wants to win.
For information about viewing these fights on the internet visit the One FC website.