ONE: “Visions of Victory” is set for Kuala Lumpur this Friday (March 9, 2018). The card has had a bit of a reshuffle but in some respects the rejigged version is superior to the original.
Adriano Moraes is injured so we don’t get a title fight, but he would have been a big favorite against Reece Mclaren. Instead, the Australian finds himself facing local favorite Gianni Subba in a fight which could easily go either way.
Subba’s original opponent, Danny Kingad, is still on the card and now faces Sotir Kichukov so there was no harm done there. The only problem from ONE Championship’s perspective is that there will soon be an interim flyweight champion, a regular champion and two top contenders.
It’s not a bad problem to have because it throws up some interesting fights. Maybe Geje Eustaquio can rematch Moraes immediately to unify the belts or, if not, Stefer Rahardian can challenge one champion and the winner of this week’s main event can take on the other.
We also get a look at explosive young featherweight Christian Lee and undefeated welterweight newcomer Kiamrian Abbasov.
Here’s my preview of the first five fights:
137.8 lbs.: Riski Umar vs. Khon Sichan
Cambodian fighters don’t have a great winning ration in ONE Championship but are always willing to take tough matchups. Khon Sichan (2-3) made his promotional debut in 2015 and has plenty of Kun Khmer experience.
Riski Umar (2-0) has blasted his way through low level competition in his two ONE Championship fights but takes big risks to land strikes and might find Sichan a bit more of a challenge in the stand up exchanges.
115 lbs.: Jihin Radzuan vs. Puja Tomar
Jihin Radzuan (1-0) is a former MIMMA champion and holds a 7-2 amateur record. She;s won medals or competitions in Muay Thai and Wushu, holds a blue belt in BJJ and is rated very highly on the MMA scene in Malaysia.
Puja Tomar (2-2) joined ONE Championship from SFL but it’s almost impossible for Indian trained fighters to compete on the international scene. Radzuan gets to work with some experienced coaches in Johor Bahru every day while her opponent’s Wushui won’t be of much use if this goes to the ground.
145 lbs.: Muhammad Aiman vs. Rin Saroth
Muhammad Aiman (3-2) is another former MIMMA champion and he has a stoppage win over a BJJ black belt on his pro record. He’s extremely well rounded and spends a lot of time training with the Leone brothers in Bali.
Rin Saroth (2-4) will be a big underdog but Cambodian Top Team have a BJJ black belt coaching their fighters now so don’t be surprised to see some big improvements in their ground game.
155 lbs.: Ahmed Mujtaba vs. Ma Jia Wen
Ahmed Mujtaba (9-1) has plenty of experience fighting outside of his native Pakistan and has beaten decent fighters from Singapore, China, India and the Philippines. He’s an aggressive striker who is competent on the ground.
However Mujtaba’s last win was extremely fortuitous as his opponent was DQd for illegal strikes. Ma Jia Wen (4-2) is a veteran of four ONE Championship fights who is coming off back to back wins and this could go either way.
125lbs.: Michelle Nicolini vs. Iryna Kyselova
We all know what multiple time BJJ world champion Michelle Nicolini (4-1) brings to the table. All her wins have come by way of first round submission although she’s had plenty of time to sharpen up her striking at Evolve MMA.
Iryna Kyselova (11-2) is much more experienced in MMA terms but the last time she faced a Brazilian she was submitted in the second round, and Juliana Werner is not exactly known for her grappling. I don’t see Nicolini losing this.