ONE: “Iron Will” is set for Impact Arena in Bangkok this Saturday night (March 24) and will be headlined by a massive fight between two champions who, between them, hold three of the promotion’s titles.
Martin Nguyen represents perhaps the biggest challenge Bibiano Fernandes has faced this decade. The Australian has knocked out two of the promotion’s champions in his last two fights and will be looking to make it three in a row against the Brazilian.
There’s also the pro MMA debut of grappling sensation Garry Tonon while popular Thai fighters Shannon Wiratchai and Rika Ishige will both be in action.
Here’s my preview of the bottom half of the card.
145 lbs.: Hisyam Samsudin vs. Sunoto
Hisyam Samsudin (2-2) endured an unspeakable tragedy when his father, who had traveled to Jakarta to support him, died the day before he was scheduled to fight Jeremy Meciaz. He still managed to win by TKO and the Malaysian also holds a minor boxing title, which he coincidentally won by beating Richard Corminal.
Sunoto (7-3) is a veteran of eight ONE Championship fights and only one of them has been the distance. He’s a patient southpaw who is confident in his striking but will probably look to get this to the ground.
205 lbs.: Jake Butler vs. Gilberto Galvao
Wrestler and Princeton graduate Jake Butler (7-2) returns to the ONE Championship cage after an 18 month absence. Now back in his native New Jersey, he will be hoping to move his way back into middleweight title contention with a win here.
Gilberto Galvao (30-6) is looking to bounce back from a defeat at the hands of Marcin Prachnio, just like Butler. He’s a grappler who almost always goes the distance and this could turn into a war of attrition between the wrestler and the BJJ black belt.
225 lbs.: Alain Ngalani vs. Ariunbold
Alain Ngalani (3-4-0-1) has spectacular striking and sub par stamina. It’s no coincidence that all three of his MMA wins have come courtesy of a knockout in the first 30 seconds, he has tremendous power but fades badly down the stretch.
Ariunbold (1-0) only has one 2015 fight listed on his tapology record but almost certainly has more experience than that. He looks on the small size for a light heavyweight and had better hope he can find a way to frustrate Ngalani and ensure this doesn’t turn into a striking contest.
125 lbs.: Kritsada Kronsrichai vs. Robin Catalan
Kritsada Kronsrichai (6-3) comes from a wrestling background but has clearly spent a lot of time around Muay Thai gyms. He likes a takedown and is coming off a first round stoppage win over Rabin Catalan.
Robin Catalan (6-3) is made of slightly sterner stuff and brings some high level Wushu into the cage. He can hold his own on the ground but might struggle to prevent the Thai strawweight from taking him down.
170 lbs.: Garry Tonon vs. Richard Corminal
If Garry Tonon gets a takedown this fight is good as over. He’s win multiple titles during his grappling career and is a world renowned BJJ black belt but it’s anyone’s guess how good his striking is.
Richard Corminal (4-3) is coming off a submission loss which doesn’t bode well but if he can keep it standing and test Tonon’s chin then anything could happen. No way this contest will see a second round.
155 lbs.: Waqar Umar vs. Zhao Zi Kang
Waqar Umar (4-4) will be looking for his first ONE Championship win. He’s fought four times for the promotion but has come up short on each occasion although the Pakistani does have four submission wins to his name.
Zhao Zi Kang (10-2) goes the distance a lot but made short work of Thai Rithy on his ONE Championship debut. The Chinese fighter doesn’t have high level striking and will probably look to take Umar down.