ONE: "Dynasty of Champions" is taking place in Guangzhou, China, this Saturday night (June 20, 2015). The event won't be broadcast live, but it will be available to view online at a later date via the promotion's website and the headline fight and co-main event both offer plenty of interest for the international audience.
The biggest fight on the card sees Timofei Nastyushkin, fresh from a highlight reel knockout of Eduard Folayang in Manila, look to make his mark on the 145-pound division when he takes on former Legend FC featherweight champion Yusuke Kawanago.
In the co-main event, former ONE 155-pound title challenger Zorobabel Moreira will be looking to get back to his winning ways after back-to-back losses. In five fights for the promotion, he's never been the distance and a stoppage could well be on the cards when he faces Christian Holley in Guangzhou.
There are also two tournaments, in the 125-pound and 145-pound divisions, which are only open to Chinese fighters, but I don't know enough about any of them to preview those fights with any degree of knowledge. Here's my preview of the rest of the card:
Marcos Santana vs Ruel Catalan
Marcos Santana is making his debut, but he's a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) black belt who has been training alongside MMA fighters for many years. He was part of Brazilian Top Team during the peak of the rivalry with Chute Box and is currently a member of the Evolve MMA fight team.
Ruel Catalan (2-5) comes from a family of decorated Wushu fighters and although he doesn't have the strongest record those losses have all come against top flyweights and bantamweights. If the Filipino can keep this fight standing he should have a clear advantage but Santana's superior grappling could give him the edge in this flyweight fight.
Zorobabel Moreira vs Christian Holley
Zorobabel Moreira (7-3) is another BJJ black belt from the Evolve MMA fight team but he's probably better known for his Muay Thai now. The Brazilian stands at 6'2" and knows exactly how to utilize that height and reach to attack with knees and low kicks.
Christian Holley (10-1) didn't fare too well against Roger Huerta on his ONE debut but the English lightweight brings an impressive record and has a diverse background with a purple belt in BJJ and extensive experience in wrestling, kickboxing and karate.
Despite having such a strong ground game Moreira tends to keep fights standing, possibly because his striking is much stronger than his wrestling. The Brazilian's game plan varies slightly from fight to fight so it's difficult to predict what he will do but Holley probably feels his best chance of victory is to go for the knockout which should make this fun to watch.
Timofei Nastyushkin vs Yusuke Kawanago
Knocking out Eduard Folayang with a flywing switch knee, followed by soccer kicks in Manila is as good a way as any to introduce yourself to ONE fans. Timofei Nastyushkin was scheduled to face Rob Lisital last month in Singapore but the fight was cancelled after the Australian failed a medical exam.
Instead, Nastyushkin's featherweight debut will take place in China when he faces a former Legend FC 145-pound champion who coincidentally has fought Lisita twice. Kawanago is coming off a quickfire knockout loss at the hands of the Australian but will be determined not to make the same mistake in his second ONE fight.
Kawanago is a patient fighter with a counter striking style who is extremely good with his knees. He tends to go the distance and doesn't have anything like as high an output as Nastyushkin, although like the Russian he has a tendency to throw everything full power.
I think Nastyushkin will push the pace here and look to close the range and instigate a striking match while Kawanago will try to back up and explode in and out with strikes. This means that at some stage they are both going to end up in the pocket trading punches and someone is probably going to get knocked out.
ONE: "Dynasty of Champions" is set for the Tianhe Gymnasium in Guangzhou this Saturday and will be available to view online from July 4th via http://oneppv.com.