ONE: "Union of Warriors" is set for the Thuwanna Stadium in Yangon this Friday night and features a handful of big fights with all eyes on Burmese middleweight Aung La Nsang as he makes his long awaited homecoming.
It will be ONE Championship's second event in Myanmar and many of the local fighters who won on last year's card will be back. For the international audience there is the additional interest provided by the promotional debut of undefeated Australian Jordan Lucas and the return of former flyweight champion Adriano Moraes.
There's also another chance to get a look at Christian Lee, one of the organization's brightest prospects. I'm not familiar enough with the Burmese based fighters to analyze their matchups, but here's my preview of the remainder of the card (please note that weights listed are walking weight):
155 lbs.: Jordan Lucas vs Edward Kelly
Jordan Lucas (8-0) moves up a division to make his promotional debut and it will be interesting to see whether he plans to stay at featherweight or return to the bantamweight division. The Australian is a blue chip prospect who likes a takedown although he's also dangerous with punches and low kicks.
Edward Kelly (6-3) has been solid if not spectacular during his ONE Championship career. He has a wushu striking style but is not a huge featherweight and if Lucas wants to be a title contender than this is the sort of fight he needs to be winning convincingly.
125 lbs.: Alex Silva vs Robin Catalan
This is the third fight in a row for Alex Silva (3-1) against the same set of brothers. He's submitted Ruel and Rene but faces a tougher task to beat Robin Catalan (5-1) who looks a superior fighter to either of his siblings and has only ever been beaten once, by top ranked strawweight Rambaa Somdet.
A win here could potentially earn Catalan a strawweight title shot but he will need to avoid being taken down by the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) black belt. Silva has a huge advantage on the ground but if the Filipino Wushu specialist can keep it standing, and it's a big "if," he has the tools to win by knockout.
155 lbs.: Christian Lee vs Anthony Engelen
Anthony Engelen (4-1) is primarily a grappler but looked pretty confident with his striking as he took on Filipino boxer Rocky Batol Batol in his last fight. He holds a purple belt in BJJ and has placed on the podium in numerous tournaments in his adopted home of Indonesia.
Just how good is teenage sensation Christian Lee (2-0)? His two mixed martial arts (MMA) fights have lasted a combined 2:49 so it's difficult to answer that question but the 17 year old holds a brown belt in BJJ, is a Pankration World Champion and will probably be too good for Engelen here.
135 lbs.: Adriano Moraes vs Eugene Toquero
This is a very interesting fight between a former flyweight champion and a fighter who came very close to securing a flyweight title shot. There is a major asterisk besides both the defeats Adriano Moraes (13-2) has suffered because they both came courtesy of extremely contentious split decisions.
The Brazilian is a BJJ black belt with good striking but he has taken a safety first, takedown orientated approach to recent fights. Toquero (8-2) has a background in Muay Thai but will have a big disadvantage on the ground and Moraes will be a strong favourite here.
205 lbs.: Aung La Nsang vs Mohamed Ali
Aung La Nsang (16-9-0-1) finally makes his long awaited homecoming. The Burmese born fighter is based in the US and has been unable to compete for the last couple of years due to visa issues but he gets to compete in Yangon for the first time in his career this Friday.
La Nsang is very well rounded and has a Muay Thai based striking style and a purple belt in BJJ. He's an aggressive fighter and all 16 of his wins have come courtesy of either a technical knockout or a submission, including the first round stoppage of Egypt's Mahmoud Salama on his ONE debut.
Mohamed Ali (10-7) is well traveled and has beaten some decent opponents. He comes from a Wushu background but is more of a brawler and will be looking to suck La Nsang into a striking exchange and then hit him with something heavy.
If La Nsang comes in with a sensible game plan he should take this but it would be a mistake to overlook Ali altogether. The Burmese middleweight will have a big advantage on the ground but if it stays standing he will need to have his wits about him because the Egyptian will be swinging for the fences.
Fans from around the world can witness the action online via live streaming at http://www.onefc.com/livestream. The event will be available for purchase at just $9.99.