clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

ONE: 'Defending Honor' preview (Pt. 1)

ONE: "Defending Honor" is set for the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday night (local time) and will be headlined by one of the most eagerly anticipated lightweight matches in the history of Asian mixed martial arts (MMA). Reigning champion Shinya Aoki is defending his title against Filipino fan favourite Eduard Folayang.

There's a featherweight title rematch between champions past and present when Marat Gafurov defends his belt against Narantungalag Jadambaa. With the likes of Roger Huerta, Adrian Pang, Timofey Nastyukhin and Kotetsu Boku also in action this is one of the strongest cards ONE Championship has ever put together.

Here's my preview of the first five fights on the card (as always with ONE weights are normal walking weight):

135 lbs.: Niko Soe vs Muhamad Haidar

Niko Soe (2-1) is the latest Singaporean to try and make his mark with ONE Championship. He made his debut in 2013 and has more experience than his record suggests, the 23 year old fights out of the same gym as former UFC fighter Royston Wee.

Muhamad Haidar (0-1) does at least have some experience of competing in the ONE Championship cage but the memory probably isn't a happy one as he was stopped in the opening round. The Malaysian's amateur record isn't overly impressive either and Soe should be too good for him.

155 lbs.: Benedict Ang vs Ahmet Mujtaba

Benedict Ang (3-0) excelled as an amateur before signing with ONE Championship and has already won three fights out of three for Asia's biggest MMA promotion. His opponent brings an even more impressive record to the table and Pakistan's Ahmet Mujtaba (5-0) has never lost either.

Ang has good stamina and looks to be better at grappling than striking. He's fought a higher level of opposition than Mujtaba and after three fights in the Singapore Indoor Stadium should be very comfortable with his surroundings. The sheer scale and size of the event might come as a shock to the Pakistani.

135 lbs.: Tiffany Teo vs Walaa Abbas

Egyptians do not have a good record in the ONE Championship cage and with two losses out of two Walaa Abbas (2-3) is no exception. She did give a good account of herself against Ana Julaton and caused the Fil-Am fighter plenty of problems while going the distance in Manila.

Tiffany Teo (3-0) has faced a much lower level of opposition than Abbas but she trains out of Juggernaut Fight Club in Singapore and will be well prepared. The Singaporean has already won three fights this year and brings a lot of momentum into a bout she will be expected to win.

155 lbs.: Timofey Nastyukhin vs Kotetsu Boku

This is the type of fight fans pay money to see. I've never seen either Timofey Nastyukhin (10-2) or Kotetsu Boku (24-11-2) shoot for a takedown. Both men like to plant their feet and swing punches although the Russian unquestionably hits harder.

Boku's last six wins have all been by way of stoppage although more often than not it is a cumulation of punches or elbows doing the damage. By contrast Nastyukhin has the type of explosive power to finish a fight in a split second and has neevr been beyond the first round. This should be fun for as long as it lasts..

170 lbs.: Roger Huerta vs Adrian Pang

Another huge fight between two of the biggest names in the lightweight division. Roger Huerta (22-9-1-1) needs no introduction but after having spent years in the spotlight he is somewhat elusive these days and does very few media interviews.

Pang (22-9-2) is six years older than Huerta but while the American has faded slightly in recent years the Australian is still going strong. It was something of a surprise when he was outpointed by Eduard Folayang earlier this year and the 39 year old will be looking to bounce back strongly.

Both are front foot fighters who like to walk forwards and pressurize opponents which could make for some explosive action.

ONE: 'Defending Honor' is set for Friday night (local time) at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and can be purchased for $9.99 from here.