The entire ONE: “Kingdom of Heroes” card can be watched live and free on YouTube (depending on your region) and after the success of the “Superfly” series I would expect a lot of boxing fans to tune in for Srisaket Sor Rungvisai’s fight with Iran Diaz.
The top half of the card only features two MMA fights but they are both potential title eliminators. Either Ev Ting or Shinya Aoki will secure a shot at the lightweight belt with a win in Bangkok while Leandro Issa and Muin Gafurov are both bantamweight contenders.
265 lbs.: Alain Ngalani vs Andre Meunier (kickboxing)
Two of the biggest fighters on the ONE Championship roster meet under kickboxing rules. Alain Ngalani has some devastating spinning strikes and is always dangerous in the opening few minutes, although he tends to fade down the stretch.
Andre Meunier will have a huge advantage in terms of both size and reach but the biggest factor in Ngalani’s favour is his speed. However fighting as the smaller, faster man requires a lot of stamina and the Australian might be able to win by gradually wearing his opponent down.
145 lbs.: Leandro Issa vs Muin Gafurov
Leandro Issa (16-6) has three wins out of three since returning to ONE Championship. He’s a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) black belt and has solid low kicks but isn’t much of a wrestler and has had issues with punch resistance in the past.
Muin Gafurov (15-2) comes from a combat sambo background and looks confident with his striking. He’s probably the superior wrestler but Issa is better on the ground, be interesting to see what sort of gameplan the two fighters employ here.
170 lbs: Andy Souwer vs Anthony Njokuani (kickboxing)
Andy Souwer is kickboxing royalty. A two time K-1 Max champion and three time Shootboxing champion, the 35 year old remains one of the biggest names in the sport.
Anthony Njokuani is known for his eight fight stint in the UFC. He did win a Muay Thai match with Lion Fight last year but has clearly never been in with an opponent of Souwer’s calibre and it would be a major surprise if he got anything out of this.
145 lbs.: Nong-O Gaiyanghadao vs Mehdi Zatout (Muay Thai)
Nong-O Gaiyanghadao took on one of the best non Thai fighters competing in modern Muay Thai on his ONE Super Series debut. He faces another experienced French fighter here but the Thai will be a favourite.
Mehdi Zatout has been in with several fighters of Nong-O’s calibre but he hasn’t beaten many of them. Last time out the Frenchman dropped a decision to Tukkatatong Petpayathai and it would be a surrpise if he got anything out of this fight
170 lbs.: Shinya Aoki vs Ev Ting
Ev Ting (16-4) used to fight at featherweight and Shinya Aoki (41-8-0-1) looked significantly bigger than him at the face offs. The Malaysian is dangerous with head kicks but tends to go the distance which makes this a very winnable fight for the Japanese veteran.
Aoki is at his best when taking fighters down and smothering them on the ground. Ting is no novice on the ground but he needs to avoid being taken down early in the rounds and giving the former champion time to set up submissions.
115 lbs.: Kai Ting Chuang Vs Stamp Fairtex (for Chuang’s ONE Atomweight Kickboxing Title)
Cherry Sityodtong got her tactics all wrong when she fought Kai Ting Chuang and allowed the Taiwanese fighter to outwork her. The champion is now afraid to let her hands go and will walk forwards, which helped her secure the decision win in that fight.
There’s not much footage of Stamp Fairtex but she has been training and competing in Muay Thai since an early age and will need to adjust her style slightly. In the ONE Super Series judges favour aggression and the Thai will need to bring the fight to Chuang, something that Cherry never really did..
115 lbs.*: Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs Iran Diaz (for Srisaket’s WBC Super Flyweight World Title)
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai is likely to pressurize Iran Diaz right from the opening bell. The Mexican is not a big puncher and will probably be on the back foot throughout the fight, trying to use his reach and range and avoid the Thai’s famous left hook.
For some reason Srisaket was fighting orthodox at the open workouts on Monday, but he’s normally a southpaw who hits hard and keeps moving forwards. The Thai will be a big favourite here and is capable of scoring an early stoppage.
Diaz has beaten a couple of former world champions but there’s nothing to suggest he’s capable of dethroning the super flyweight king. I expect him to wilt under Srisaket’s pressure and get stopped around the midway point.
The entire ONE: “Kingdom of Heroes” card will be available to view live and free using the newly launched app which you can download here. The first eight fights will also be live on twitter and facebook.
*The weigh ins for this fight are conducted under WBC regulations, not ONE Championship regulations meaning that both fighters weigh in the previous day and are allowed to rehydrate afterward.