ONE: “Visions of Victory” is set for Kuala Lumpur this Friday (March 9, 2018). The rearranged main event sees Reece Mclaren face Gianni Subba in a flyweight title eliminator.
The top half of the card features some big fighters in some interesting bouts. Christian Lee’s matches are never dull while, on his day, Luis Santos can be one of the most devastating strikers in the welterweight division.
Here’s my preview of the top half of the card (for the bottom half click (here).
185lbs.: Kiamrian Abbasov vs Luis Santos
Sometimes Luis Santos (63-10-1-1) looks like the most devastating striker in the division but there are serious question marks over his stamina. The Brazilian is always dangerous in the opening exchanges, but has a tendency to fade down the stretch.
Kiamrian Abbasov (18-3) has won ten straight fights. He seems to have a Sambo style but tends to walk forwards with his hands low, a mistake which could prove fatal against a striker of Santos’ calibre.
135lbs.: Danny Kingad vs Sotir Kichukov
It hasn’t happened for Sotir Kichukov (13-7) so far in his ONE Championship career. He’s lost five fights in a row and hasn’t tasted victory since 2014, but deserves credit for agreeing to fight on this card at short notice.
Danny Kingad (7-1) comes from a Wushu background but has a couple of submission wins on his record. He is part of the new generation of Team Lakay fighters and his striking should be too much for Kichukov here.
135lbs.: Christian Lee vs Kazunori Yokota
Christian Lee (8-1) doesn’t just defeat opponents, he destroys them. His last victim was former ONE lightweight champion Kotetsu Boku and he will be looking to put away another Japanese veteran in similar fashion this Friday.
Kazunori Yokota (26-7-3) will be looking to win his first ONE Championship fight at the third attempt. He’s a very patient fighter who likes to stand in front of opponents and counterstrike but he tends to go the distance. Can he cope with Lee’s early pressure?
185lbs.: Agilan Thani vs Amitesh Chaubey
You might not know the name Amitesh Chaubey (5-4) but the chances are you have seen him fight. That’s because the Indian scored a nine-second KO at the SFL which has been viewed tens of millions of times on YouTube.
If you’re not among the nine million plus people who have seen the KO in question, you can do so here:
Agilan Thani (8-1) is a grappler / wrestler who will be well aware that his opponent is capable of winning with a one-punch KO. I expect the Malaysian to ensure that doesn’t happen by taking the fight to the ground as soon as the bell sounds
135lbs.: Gianni Subba vs Reece Mclaren
Gianni Subba (9-2) and Reece Mclaren (10-5) are similar in terms of size and age but very different on other respects. The Malaysian has 11 ONE Championship fights and scored some spectacular stoppages during his early career, although he tends to go the distance these days.
Mclaren recently earned his black belt in BJJ and is more of a submission specialist. The Australian will definitely feel he is at advantage on the ground although he tagged Bibiano Fernandes a few times in their five round affair.
Subba’s striking is good and he will have a slight advantage in terms of reach but he tends to attack in bursts, rather than pressurizing opponents. The Malaysian will look to get in and out without leaving opportunities for Mclaren to take him down.
Mclaren might decide to engage Subba in a striking match and he has the tools to succeed. But his biggest advantage is on the ground and I would expect him to try and get the fight down while the Malaysian will probably want to keep things standing, although he might throw in the occasional takedown attempt.
If they engage regularly this could be a fun fight but if Subba is worried about getting taken down and decides to keep his range things could be a little slow, at least to begin with. It’s an intriguing matchup though which could easily go either way.