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ONE: ‘Shanghai’ preview

ONE: “Shanghai” is set for China this Saturday night (local time). No prizes for guessing which city it is in, and Ben Askren is booked to defend his welterweight title against Zebaztian Kadestam in the main event.

The card also features a very interesting featherweight matchup between former champion Jadambaa Naruntungalag and Tetsuya Yamada while there’s another chance to see top Thai prospect Saketdao Petpayathai.

I’m not familiar with some of the Chinese fighters on this card so I’m only going to preview the bouts involving combatants that I know. As always, ONE fighters compete at their walking weight and dehydration levels are monitored.

155 lbs.: Marc Marcellinus vs Quang Loc Tran

Quang Loc Tran might be Vietnam’s first ever homegrown professional mixed martial artist. He likes to switch stance and holds his hands very low, it might not be a recipe for success at the very top level but he looks extremely confident and is an interesting prospect.

While Tran appears to be making his pro debut after winning a handful of amateur fights Marc Marcellinus (0-2) goes in search of his first pro win. He looked very small at bantamweight, so is likely to be giving up a lot in terms of of size and reach here.

170 lbs.: Amir Khan vs Jaroslav Jartim

Amir Khan (7-2) is on a four fight winning streak and at the age of 22 is already a veteran of eight ONE Championship fights. He’s got good Muay Thai but most of his victories come courtesy of a takedown followed by a submission or ground and pound.

Jaroslav Jartim (8-6-1) was holding his own against Honorio Banario before suffering a devastating second round knockout. His takedown defence looked a bit suspect in that fight so Khan might want to wrestle.

155 lbs.: Saketdao Petpayathai vs Mahmoud Mohamed

I’ve seen Saketdao Petpayathai (1-0) fight at Lumpinee and Rajadamnern many times. He took on the best Muay Thai fighters of his generation and always walked forward and looked to attack with long knees.

Saketdao wasn’t so much of a clinch fighter and his style has translated well to MMA. Mahmoud Mohamed (4-4-1) has much more experience inside the cage, he has the chance to claim a big scalp but will need to dominate in the wrestling department in order to do so.

155 lbs.: Narantungalag Jadambaa vs Tetsuya Yamada

Narantungalag Jadambaa (12-5) will be desperate for one more featherweight title shot now that Marat Gafurov has lost the belt. The 41 year old hasn’t fought since November but seems immune to the effects of either inactivity or age, so far at least.

Tetsuya Yamada (21-5-2) is coming of four straight wins in China and Hong Kong. He’s a southpaw with a background in Judo who holds his hands very low and will probably try and bait the Mongolian into overcommitting and making a mistake.

185 lbs.: Ben Askren vs Zebaztian Kadestam

Everyone knows what Ben Askren (16-0-0-1) brings to the table but I’m going to break it down anyway. He’s a world class wrestler with unstoppable takedowns who can completely control even high level opponents on the ground.

Zebaztian Kadestam (9-3) has been described as a ‘Muay Thai wrecking machine’ and that’s an accurate description. He likes to knock opponents out, but will need to stuff Askren’s takedowns if he wants to even have a chance to land something on the undefeated champion.

This is striker vs grappler. If Kadestam can keep it standing and engage in striking exchanges he has an excellent chance to knock Askren out. If the Swedish fighter can’t stuff those takedowns he’s going to be in for a very uncomfortable night.

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