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ONE: ‘Kings of Courage’ preview

ONE: “Kings of Courage” is set for the Jakarta Convention Centre this Saturday (Jan. 20, 2018) and will be headlined by a flyweight title fight. Tiffany Teo and Jingnan Xiong challenge for the newly introduced belt.

The card also features a grappling match between former champions Shinya Aoki and Marat Gafurov while top ranked middleweights Vitaly Bigdash and Leandro Ataides also meet in a potential title eliminator.

Here’s my preview of the main card:

Victorio Senduk vs Yohan Mulia Legowo

Victorio Senduk (2-0) fought on ONE Championship’s second ever card back in 2012 and hasn’t been seen since. He won a silver medal in Wushu at the 2011 SEA Games, losing to Filipino Mark Eddiva in the final who would go on to sign with the UFC.

Yohan Mulia Legowo (8-6) is one of the pioneers of Indonesian MMA and holds a purple belt in BJJ. But he is 37 years old and has been stopped in five out of his last six fights so if Senduk is serious about resurrecting his fight career he needs to win this.

Yusup Saadulaev vs Mazakuzu Imanari

This bantamweight bout pits the BJJ black belt from Dagestan against the leg lock specialist from Japan. Neither fighter is known for their striking but both are in good form coming into this bout.

Mazakuzu Imanari (36-16-2) is riding a three fight winning streak while Yusup Saadulaev (16-4-1) has won his last four. Could this turn out to be a title eliminator? It’s not impossible given that Bibiano Fernandes has already beaten just about everyone else in the division.

Sunoto vs Rin Saroth

Rin Saroth (2-3) unquestionably has more experience competing in Cambodia than his record suggests. However his opponent is already a veteran of seven ONE Championship fights and has a very solid ground game.

Sunoto (6-3) is a patient southpaw with solid striking but the Indonesian won’t waste much time before taking this to the ground. Fighters from Phnom Penh Top Team are improving rapidly, but the Indonesian will probably have too much experience for the Cambodian here.

Vitaly Bigdash vs Leandro Ataides

ONE Championship seldom puts its biggest names on the Indonesian cards. But this is a huge fight in the middleweight division and one that almost guarantees fireworks, given both men’s history.

Leandro Ataides (10-3) has four wins for ONE Championship and three of them have been highlight reel KOs. he’s also been stopped in somewhat brutal fashion twice while the 2015 match between Vitaly Bigdash (9-1) and Igor Svirid was one of the best in Asian MMA history. This, should be good.

Stefer Rahardian vs Muhammad Imran

Stefer Rahardian (6-0) is the best Indonesian fighter of the current era. While he hasn’t consistently faced top tier opposition he showed his potential by decisioning top flyweight contender Eugene Toqero last year.

Muhamamd Imran (5-1) is flying the flag for Pakistan and holds a submission win over Haidar Farman who went on to enjoy success fighting in Thailand and Bahrain. He went the distance with ONE Championship’s Jeremy Miado in his last bout but Rahardian’s superior submission game should make the difference here.

Tiffany Teo vs Jingnan Xiong (for inaugural flyweight title)

Jingnan Xiong (10-1) benefited from some favourable matchmaking during her career in China. But she looked impressive on her ONE Championship debut and showcased some decent level striking to stop Wushu expert April Osenio.

Tiffany Teo (7-0) has also been handed winnable matchups throughout her ONE Championship career but faces a huge step up here. By the same token the Singaporean is probable better than anyone Xiong has beaten to date so this will be an interesting fight.

Xiong’s boxing looked slick against Xiong and her grappling credentials are solid. Teo’s striking sometimes looks a little sluggish and all signs point towards a victory for the Chinese flyweight but the outcome of this title fight is far from a foregone conclusion.

The full ONE: “Kings of Courage” card can be purchased for $9.99 USD from here and the first three fights are being shown live on the ONE Championship facebook page.

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