ONE FC: "Roar of Tigers" is set for Stadium Putra in Kuala Lumpur this Friday (Oct. 17, 2014) and will be headlined by a big featherweight showdown between undefeated M-1 145-pound champion Marat Gafurov and the always-entertaining Rob Lisita.
The card also sees two of Malaysia's main stars face tough tests against experienced Filipinos as hometown hero Peter Davis takes on Vaughn Donayre in a lightweight match up and Ev Ting goes up against Edward Kelly in the featherweight division.
Here is my preview of the top half of the card (for part one click here):
Ann Osman vs Aya Saeid Saber
Ann Osman (1-1) has enjoyed enormous publicity since making her professional MMA debut on a ONE FC card last year. The Malaysian has fought to two split decisions so far and proven very popular with the fans, it doesn't do any harm that she's photogenic but she's also a tough, well-rounded fighter.
Aya Saeid Saber (2-4) gave a good account of herself in her ONE FC debut when she pushed former boxing world champion Ana Julaton all the way before succumbing late in the last round. Given that Osman is coming off a split-decision win against the same opponent the Malaysian has to be a favorite for this one but it will be an interesting test of her title credentials.
Ev Ting vs Edward Kelly
Ev Ting (7-2) looked spectacular in his ONE FC debut and this Malaysian born, New Zealand-based featherweight can move to the brink of title contention with a second successive win. Edward Kelly (5-1) is strong on the ground and has good Wushu based striking but is nowhere near as accomplished or experienced as his older brother Eric.
Kelly remains a solid prospect and he has hard kicks, quick takedowns and a good top game but Ting trains full time, whereas the Filipino doesn't, and has been in with higher-caliber opponents so I would expect the Malaysian to come away with the win although it should be a very competitive fight.
Peter Davis vs Vaughn Donayre
Peter Davis (8-3) has had more ONE FC fights than anyone else in the division and while he can be erratic in terms of the quality of his performances he almost always wins. The Malaysian has good footwork and when he gets the timing right and he can throw strikes with devastating power but sometimes struggles to settle down and find his range and rhythm.
Donayre (7-2) is the second best lightweight in the Philippines behind Eduard Folayang and is a decent kickboxer with a good ground game. He will be desperate to bounce back after getting swiftly submitted in his ONE FC debut and if Davis has an off day, he definitely has the tools to capitalize.
Donayre tends to push forward and press the pace which could suit Davis who is more of a counter striker. You never know what you are going to get from the Malaysian but he has more tools to win this fight and if he performs to his potential I expect him to do just that.
Rob Lisita vs Marat Gafurov
Not for nothing but Marat Gafurov (9-0) is regarded as one of the best featherweight prospects in the world right now. The Russian is the M-1 145-pound champion, has a perfect professional record, holds a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) black belt and has adapted his grappling style to MMA extremely effectively.
Lisita (14-6) used to be primarily a wrestler but his Muay Thai has improved beyond all recognition in the last couple of years and he is very dangerous with kicks and punches. Striking is not Gafurov's specialty but he still seems to find a way to stand right in front of opponents with his hands held low and not get hit.
What Lisita will have to deal with is nonstop pressure because Gafurov will walk him down, close the distance and then drag the fight to the floor. The Dagestan native is very good in scrambles and almost impossible to shake off once he gets in top position.
Lisita is no novice on the ground and might well be able to prevent Gafurov from securing a submission but if he can't keep the fight standing and use his striking he could end up getting smothered by the Russian. The Australian's best chance of success is to stuff the takedowns and then start to use his Muay Thai.
Eric Kelly is likely to challenge Jadamba Naruntungulag for the ONE FC 145-pound belt in December but the winner of this fight will be a top contender and it will be fascinating to see whether Gafurov can be as dominant in the ONE FC cage as he has been inside the M-1 ring.
Fans in Asia can catch all the action live on FOX 2 (check your local listings). Also, fans from around the world can witness the action online via live streaming at www.onefc.com/livestream. The event will be available for purchase at just $9.99.