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ONE: ‘Heart of the Lion’ preview (Pt. 2)

ONE: “Heart of the Lion” is set for the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday night and will be headlined by a bantamweight unification bout between regular champion Bibiano Fernandes and interim champion Kevin Belingon.

This bantamweight bout might well have been the biggest fight on the card. But it wasn’t originally booked as a headliner, Angela Lee was supposed to challenge Xiong Jing Nan for the strawweight strap but had to withdraw due to a back injury.

There are still 14 fights on the card and the first even will be live on Facebook and Twitter as well as the ONE Championship app.

Here’s my preview of the top half of the card (for part one click here):

155 lbs.: Garry Tonon vs Sung Jong Lee (4-2)

It’s no secret what Garry Tonon (2-0) brings to the table. He’s a multiple time submission grappling world champion and one of the best Jiu-Jitsu players to ever strap on the small gloves and step into the cage.

Sung Jong Lee (4-2) was looking for takedowns right from the start on his ONE Championship debut but when he did get Amir Khan where he wanted him the Singaporean he couldn’t capitalize with submissions. He’s going to find it even harder going if he employs that strategy against Tonon.

125 lbs.: Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke vs Himanshu Kaushik

Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke (8-4) suffered a devastating knockout on his last outing and being stopped by an opponent not known for his striking was not a good look for the former Lumpinee champion.

He is surely coming towards the end of his fighting career but Himanshu Kaushik (4-2) hasn’t won a fight since 2015. Dejdamrong should have too much for the Indian here, and is unlikely to make the mistake of leaving his chin up in the air again.

125 lbs.: Tiffany Teo vs Michelle Nicolini

Michelle Nicolini (5-1) is a multiple time BJJ world champion. The Brazilian is undefeated inside the ONE Championship cage and also submitted Angela Lee in a submission grappling bout put on by the promotion.

Her opponent Tiffany Teo (7-1) has already challenged unsuccessfully for the strawweight title. She was badly beaten by Xiong Jing Nan but showed a lot of heart in that fight, the Singaporean will definitely need to keep this standing.

(71.0kg) Giorgio Petrosyan vs Sorgraw Petchyindee Academy (Kickboxing)

The ruleset favours Giorgio Petrosyan who is regarded as being the best kickboxer on the planet. He’s a highly intelligent fighter who simply doesn’t make mistakes and picks opponents apart with surgical precision.

Sorgraw has won Toyota Marathons in Thailand but didn’t impress on his ONE Super Series debut when the Thai was fortunate to be awarded the decision win against Samy Sana. Petrosyan will be the favourite here.

161 lbs.: Christian Lee vs Kazuki Tokudome

This fight was added to the card less than a week ago after Angela Lee withdrew with injury. But both fighters were booked to appear later this month so Christian Lee (9-3) and Kazuki Tokudome (18-9-1) should both be in good condition.

Lee is a strong wrestler who was DQd for a suplex in his last fight. He’s very aggressive and always fights for the finish but Tokudome is coming off an absolute war with Jadambaa and the Japanese southpaw is a patient counter striker.

145 lbs.: Bibiano Fernandes vs Kevin Belingon

Bibiano Fernandes (22-3) has won two of his last three fights by split decision. When you are the long running champion you tend to get the benefit of the doubt and that was definitely the case against Reece Mclaren and Martin Nguyen.

If Fernandes is slowing down then perhaps this fight has come at the perfect time for Kevin Belingon (19-5). He’s won six straight fights since their last contest and his takedown defence seems to have evolved dramatically in the intervening years.

There’s no doubt that Belingon has what it takes to defeat Fernandes in a striking match. But for the Brazilian one takedown is often enough, and unless the Filipino’s sprawl is on point he is likely to find himself submitted by the champion for the second time.

The entire ONE: “Heart of a Lion” card will be available to view live and free using the newly launched app which you can download here. The first seven fights will also be live on twitter and facebook.

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