ONE Fighting Championship today released the full card for the August 31st show which is taking place at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Manila and is being heralded as the biggest event in the history of Filipino MMA. Only Shunya Aoki is without an opponent, although sources say that an announcement is imminent.
The co-main event sees two top bantamweights collide as DREAM 135 lbs champion Bibiano Fernandes takes on CFC 135 lbs champion Gustavo Falciroli, who recently received his Australian citizenship. The UFC had wanted him to compete on TUF as a lightweight but he was ineligible because the citizenship documents did not come through on time.
Unsurprisingly Eduard Folayang finds himself high up the card and he will have plenty of support when he takes on Felipe Enomoto. The Filipino fighter has been compared to Manny Pacquiao due to his popularity but even though he is a URCC champion he needs a convincing win over Enomoto to prove he is a title contender in ONE FC.
Folayang can consider himself a little unlucky to be coming off a loss after a highly entertaining fight with Ole Laursen which could have gone either way. In his first ONE FC fight he dominated experienced Korean A Sol Kwon and he will be looking to find that sort of form again against Enomoto.
Former UFC championsTim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski need no introduction and after fighting three times they were probably not the best of buddies but the relationship definitely deteriorated when Sylvia was seen stepping out with Arlovski's ex girlfriend.
This is a grudge match which both will be desperate to win and fans will be hoping it finishes suddenly and dramatically, like the first two meetings did. The third fight was not inspiring but it was a five round affair and with only 15 minutes scheduled this should be much more entertaining.
Many fans feel that the best fight on the card is between Jens Pulver and Eric Kelly because it pits another ex UFC champion against an up and coming URCC champion. The Filipino is coming off impressive wins against Mitch Chilson and Bae Young Kwon but will be in for a completely different test against the WEC, UFC and Pride veteran.
Rolles Gracie is also taking on a much more experienced opponent in 16-1-1-1 Tony Bonello. The Australian has been out of a action for a while but he will be looking to make a serious statement about his ONE FC title credentials by beating a Gracie.
Igor Gracie also has a tough night's work in store when he goes up against Jung Hwan Cha who has more experience than him and has been in with the likes of George Sotiropoulos and Dong Hyun Kim and knocked Ryo Chonan out cold in 2010.
Gregor Gracie is looking to bounce back from his recent loss to Adam Kayoom when he takes on URCC Light Heavyweight champion Nicholas Mann at an 80 kgs catchweight but breaking up the three Gracie fights is a bout between Kevin Belingon and Soo Chul Kim.
These are two of the most exciting young bantamweights in Asia although their records are dramatically different, Belingon, 24, walks at less than 140 lbs and could easily make flyweight but persists in competing at 135 lbs and has a 9-1 record, with his only loss coming at the hands of Masakazu Imanari.
Kim, 20, has not enjoyed the same sort of success but he had tested himself against some top fighters like Leandro Issa and Gustavo Falciroli and is coming off a win over an experienced Japanese fighter. Belingon is a member of Team Lakay and will have the crowd behind him but Kim will be desperate not to become the first fighter to ever lose three ONE FC fights.
Love him or hate him you can't ignore Phil Baroni (and you can read an interview with him on Combat Asia, my new website) and he returns to ONE FC action against Rodrigo Ribeiro. The two have sparred together at Evolve MMA in Singapore and this looks set to be a straight striker vs grappler match up with Baroni having recently recovered from shoulder surgery and looking to make a run for the ONE FC welterweight title.
The card kicks off with two featherweight fights which could ego a long way towards deciding who does eventually challenge for the 145 lbs title. Mitch Chilson will be looking to improve upon his 3-1 professional record against unbeaten Judo black belt Shannon Wiratchai while 6-1 URCC lightweight champion Honorio Banario will be looking for his first ONE FC win when he takes on fellow Filipino Andrew Benibe in the first fight of the night.
The undercard will be completely free although it is not clear at this point where the cut off between the undercard and the main card will be. The entire show will cost 10 USD to view online and it is worth noting that it will take place on a Friday night and, for those of you in the US, the action will get underway early Friday morning.