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ONE: ‘Destiny of Champions’ preview (Pt. 1)

The final ONE Championship card of the year is in Kuala Lumpur this Friday and, as has become the norm in 2018, it will feature a mixture of Muay Thai, kickboxing and MMA.

ONE: “Destiny of Champions” will actually be headlined by a Muay Thai fight as Yodsaenklai Fairtex faces Luis Regis with both men wearing MMA gloves. All the action at the Axiata Arena will take place inside a cage.

Let’s preview the first half of the card:

135 lbs.: Savannah Em vs. Iryna Kyselova

Savannah Em (2-0) is of Cambodian descent and has competed in a number of grappling tournaments in the US. Her perfect professional MMA record appears to have been compiled at the expense of low level competition and she faces a big step up here.

Iryna Kyselova (10-3) hails from Ukraine but was swiftly submitted by Michelle Nicolini on her ONE Championship debut. She had been facing very low level opposition too, so this is an interesting test of both fighter’s elite credentials.

135 lbs.: Abro Fernandes vs Chan Rotthana

Abro Fernandes (7-0) has signed for ONE Championship with a very impressive record. He won a ONE Pride MMA bantamweight tournament in Indonesia and then successfully defended the title three times.

The majority of his wins have been by way of submission or ground and pound so expect Fernandes to try and take Chan Rothana (4-3) down. The Cambodian has been with ONE Championship for four years but was comprehensively outgrappled by Xie Bin last time out,

135 lbs.: Panpayak Jitmuangnon vs Rui Botelho

Panpayak Jitmuangnon is one of the best pound for pound Muay Thai fighters on the planet. He is an intelligent, technical southpaw but isn’t known for his aggression which could be an issue with ONE Super Series scoring.

Panpayak was knocked out by a Brazilian in a Thai Fight match without gloves, so could be vulnerable if this bout is fought in anything other than boxing gloves. Rui Botelho is nowhere near the same level as the Thai but if he swings for the fences he might just get lucky.

115 lbs.: Mei Yamaguchi vs. Jomary Torres

Mei Yamaguchi is a Brazilian Jui-Jitsu (BJJ) black belt (17-11-1) who has never been stopped. She brings a lot of experience into this matchup and is definitely the top fighter in the division now that Angela Lee has moved up in weight.

Jomary Torres (4-1) comes from a grappling background but is outranked by Yamaguchi in this area. It is difficult to see the Filipina fighter getting anything out of this, and the Japanese veteran should be looking to finish the fight inside the distance.

145 lbs.: Mohammed Bin Mahmoud vs Stergos Mikkios

Malaysians have been competing in Muay Thai for much longer than MMA so it makes sense for the nation’s fighters to be signing up for the ONE Super Series. Mohammed Bin Mahmoud is a tall, patient fighter who has the traditional Thai style but will need to pick up the pace under this ruleset and scoring system.

Stergos Mikkios is winless in his two ONE Super Series fights but has gone the distance both times. The Greek fighter likes to use combinations of punches and low kicks and this promises to be an intriguing clash of styles.

125 lbs.:Alex Silva vs. Yosuke Saruta

The strawweight title has changed hands regularly since its inception. Former champion Alex Silva (7-2) remains right in the mix. He is a BJJ black belt but also has some hard body kicks in his arsenal.

Yosuke Saruta (17-8-3) will be making his ONE Championship debut. He was a BJJ brown belt back in 2014 and might have been promoted since but has a hard right hand with more TKO wins than submissions.

205 lbs.: Yuki Niimura vs Vitaly Bigdash

Vitaly Bigdash (9-2) hasn’t won a fight in nearly two years and didn’t turn out to be the dominant champion many people expected. He’s still extremely dangerous with strikes and submissions and is a fun fighter to watch, Aung La Nsang is the only opponent to ever go the distance with him.

Yuki Niimura (12-4) has only been the distance four times in 16 fights. He’s competed in K-1 as well which gives you an indication of where his strengths lie and he’s not afraid to stand in the pocket and trade. This should be a fun fight.

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

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