ONE: ‘Warriors of the World’ is set for Saturday night at the Impact Arena in Bangkok. Two of the best strawweights in the world go head to head in a main event, the winner will have well and truly earned the right to call themselves the best fighter in the entire division.
As well as the strawweight title fight between challenger Alex Silva and undefeted champion Yoshitaka Naito there is also an intriguing featherweight match between 40 year old Kotetsu Boku and 19 year old Christian Lee.
Here’s my preview of the top half of the card, for the first five fights click here.
115lbs.: Rika Ishiga vs Rome Trinidad
Rika Ishige (2-1) has had a full camp at Tiger Muay Thai to prepare for this fight and has put on a few lbs of muscle. She holds a BJJ blue belt but is a relative newcomer in MMA terms and wil lbe looking to bounce back from a submission loss in August.
Roma Trinidad is making her MMA debut and has a background in an obscure martial art called Sikaran. She fights out of one of the Elorde Gyms so should know how to box but it would be a major upset if she managed to hand Ishige a second successive loss.
125lbs.: Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke vs Riku Shibuya
Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke (8-2) is winless in his two previous Bangkok bouts and has been handed another tough assignment here. The former Lumpinee champion has learned the ground game fast but his greatest asset will always be his Muay Thai.
Riku Shibuya (13-4-2) is an experienced grappler who has been the distance in his last six bouts. The Japanese southpaw won't want to strike with Dejdamrong but has what it takes to grind out a decision vitory with takedowns and ground control
155lbs.: Christian Lee vs Kotetsu Boku
Kotetsu Boku (26-11-2) used to go the distance a lot but his last eight wins have all come by way of KO or TKO. He likes to plant his feet and throw big overhand rights, he won the ONE lightweight championship in 2012 doing just that.
Christian Lee (7-1) is 21 years younger than Boku and has spent his entire professional career competing under the ONE Championship banner. He looked unstoppable, right up until the point he got stopped by Martin Nguyen but his striking looks better than his sisters and he's very good on the ground, the teenager will probably want to get this one down as soon as possible.
170lbs.: Shannon Wiratchai vs Rasul Yakhaev
There's no doubt that Shannon Wiratchai (8-1) is the real deal but he has never faced a wrestler before. A powerful southpaw, he is good with his elbows and has several highlight reel KOs on his record.
Rasul Yakhaev (10-6-0-1) has lost his last three fights and is in danger of becoming a journeyman. But he’s been in with much better opposition than Wiratchai has and training in Chechnya you would expect him to be something of a takedown specialist.
125lbs.: Yoshitaka Naito vs Alex Silva
Stylistically speaking this is a tough fight for Yoshitaka Naito (12-0). The ONE strawweight champion is known for his grappling but, in BJJ terms at least, he is completely outranked by his opponent here.
Alex Silva (6-1) is a BJJ black belt whose six wins have all come by way of submission. He finished one of Japan’s top strawweights in his last outing and will come into this headlining bout full of confidence.
The Brazilian has only ever been the distance once, and he lost. This could be a factor in Naito’s favour as he’s gone beyond the third round on four separate occasions and been the distance five times.
Naito might make a patient start in the hope that Silva fades down the stretch. The Brazilian will presumably want to get this fight to the ground, although Evolve MMA has been known to send grapplers into fights with striking based strategies in order to gain an element of surprise.