ONE: “Pursuit of Greatness” is set for the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium on Friday night. As has become the custom for Yangon events, Aung La Nsang will be headlining the card and this time it’s his middleweight title on the line.
The government in Myanmar won’t sanction Muay Thai fights but there are four kickboxing matches on the card. Undefeated Russian featherweight Movlid Khaibulaev appears for the first time since 2017.
Here’s my preview of the first six fights.
135lbs.: Joseph Lasiri vs Josh Tonna (Kickboxing)
These two fighters were both totally outmatched in their ONE Championship debuts but are handed an opportunity for redemption here. To his credit Joseph Lasiri tried to keep moving forwards and applying pressure to Sam-A Gaiyanghadao and Singtongnoi Por Telakun, with predictably disastrous results.
Josh Tonna isn’t of quite the same calibre as those two names and found himself on the receiving end of a highlight reel knockout against Petchdam PetyindeeAcademy last time out. He tends to attack with punches and low kicks and should be comfortably competing under kickboxing rules.
135lbs.: Rudy Agustian Vs Kaji Ebin
Rudy Agustian (4-2) is a veteran of the imaginatively named One Pride MMA promotion in Indonesia. He has a wide stance and a low guard and likes to use his hands, both losses have come on the ground.
Kaji Ebin (2-1) saw his ONE Championship debut cut short by an unfortunate shoulder injury. He comes from a kickboxing background and throws the occasional spinning strike although he tends to stick his chin out which could make him vulnerable.
145lbs.: Ma Xu Dong Vs Ahmad Qais Jasoor
Ahmad Qais Jasoor (3-1) gave a pretty good account of himself on his ONE Championship debut before being stopped in the third. He appears to be a wrestler, who is relentless in pursuing takedowns but doesn’t have much striking and doesn’t like being on his back.
Ma Xu Dong (1-1) was submitted in the third round on his ONE Championship debut. I can’t find any footage of that fight so it’s difficult to assess how well he will fare against a tough but limited Afghan.
185lbs.: Luis Santos Vs Daichi Abe
Luis Santos (64-11-1-1) has the tools to be among the world’s best welterweights but his performances don’t always live up to his potential. He’s a BJJ black belt with devastating striking and kicks harder than arguably any man in the division.
But the Brazilian tends to fade down the stretch and has been outwrestled on a number of occasions. Whether Daichi Abe (6-2) has the tools to wear ‘Sapo’ down remains to be seen, he comes from a kickboxing background but went the distance in all three of his UFC fights.
125lbs.: Ye Thway Ne vs Mite Yine
Ye Thway Ne (3-1) is a veteran of four ONE Championship fights. Pongsiri Mitsatit made short work of him on his promotional debut but he bounced back to win three in a row against mediocre opposition in Myanmar.
Mite Yine (1-0) made his debut in July and won by ground and pound. In this all Burmese matches the first man to end up on his back often loses, because fighters tend to be primarily strikers.
145lbs.: Han Zi Hao Vs Ryan Jakiri (Kickboxing)
Han Zi Hao has gone the distance in both his ONE Super Series fights to date, winning one and losing the other. He has the classic Muay Thai style, keeps his hands high and looks to trade strikes from mid range.
The Philippines isn’t known for producing Muay Thai fighters but Ryan Jakiri has spent time training and fighting in Thailand. He uses his hands more than the average Thai, just like Zi Hao, and this looks set to be a very close contest.
The entire ONE: “Pursuit of Greatness” card will be available to view live and free using the newly launched app which you can download here. The first four fights will also be live on twitter and facebook.