ONE: "Ascent to Power" is set for the Singapore Indoor Stadium this Friday night (May 6, 2016) and it looks likely to be one of the promotion's biggest and best attended fight cards of the year with local favorite Angela Lee set to challenge for the inaugural women's atomweight title in the main event.
There is also the intrigue of seeing a Gracie challenge for a major mixed martial arts (MMA) title for the first time in decades as Roger takes on undefeated Polish fighter Michael Pasternak for the organization's inaugural light heavyweight belt. Meanwhile, former champions Kotetsu Boku and Narantungalag Jadambaa will be going head-to-head in arguably the fight of the night.
As always with ONE Championship, weights listed are the fighter's walking weights. Here's my preview of the last four fights on the card (for part one click here).
205 lbs.: Tatsuya Mizuno vs Mohamed Ali
ONE Championship's middleweight division is starting to gain some depth and these two fighters will both be looking to bounce back from losses. Tatsuya Mizuno (14-11-0-1) has been in with some of the biggest names in the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions and is a Judo expert and a crafty southpaw.
Mohamed Ali (10-) is basically a brawler but if he gets too aggressive her Mizuno is more than capable of dropping him with a left hand. I would be very surprised if the Japanese fighter didn't win this one and I expect him to finish it in the first round.
155 lbs.: Narantungalag Jadambaa vs Kotetsu Boku
There's a school of thought that says this is the best matchup on the card. It pits the inaugural ONE lightweight champion against the organization's former featherweight champion and has "Fight of the Night" written all over it because both have a track record of getting involved in entertaining brawls.
Narantungalag Jadambaa (10-4) is as tough as they come and has some devastatingly powerful spinning back kicks which his opponent will have to look out for. He's also good on the ground and has a hell of a chin, the Mongolian hasn't been stopped with strikes since the first fight of his career.
Kotetsu Boku (24-10-2) is basically a boxer and has fast footwork and hard punches. He's stopped his last three opponents but I expect Jadambaa to be bigger and stronger, even if the Japanese fighter has a slight height advantage. Anything could happen in this one.
225 lbs.: Michael Pasternak vs Roger Gracie (for inaugural light heavyweight title)
This matchup seems to have slipped under the radar but it would be a huge story if a Gracie could capture a major MMA title in this day and age. Michael Pasternak (11-0) will be looking to put a major spoke in the works but the Polish fighter is returning after more than a year out with a serious knee injury.
Both men are used to being taller than opponents and like to look for takedowns but Roger Gracie (7-2) is the taller of the two and (at the risk of stating the supremely obvious) has the superior ground game. Stylistically that makes this a winnable matchup for the Brazilian but you don't win 11 fights out of 11 without having a bit about you.
Pasternak also fought for almost an entire round with severe knee ligament damage in his last fight which says a lot about his mental strength. If you'd told me Gracie was going to finish James McSweeney with strikes I wouldn't have believed you so this is a difficult fight to call but both men are returning from long absences and it could come down to who has the better stamina.
115 lbs.: Angela Lee vs Mel Yamaguchi (for inaugural atomweight title)
All eyes will be on Angela Lee (5-0) as she attempts to become Singapore's first ever MMA champion. The teenager has won all five of her fights by submission although its fair to say she's never faced a grappler of the calibre of Mei Yamaguchi (15-8-1).
The Japanese fighter is 14 years older and vastly more experienced in MMA terms. If Lee does have a weakness, and with all of her wins coming inside two rounds we've yet to really see one, then it is probably her striking and I would expect Yamaguchi to try and stay in the pocket and trade leather.
The Japanese fighter will be at a significant disadvantage in terms of height but she's used to that and I expect her to try and get on the inside and suck Lee into a striking war. If the Singaporean can get the fight down and maintain top position then she will be the strong favourite but her opponent is highly experienced and this promises to be a very tough test of the teenager's championship credentials.
ONE: "Ascent to Power" will be broadcast live all over Asia by FOX Sports and by various other networks worldwide. The pay-per-view (PPV) can be purchased for $9.99 from: http://onefc.com/livestream.