The ONE Super Series gets underway this Friday (April 20, 2018) with four kickboxing/Muay Thai bouts on the card inside MOA Arena in Pasay, Philippines.
In another promotional first, the entire ONE: “Heroes of Honor” card will take place in a ring, not a cage. The card is headlined by a bantamweight MMA bout between Andrew Leone and Kevin Belingon and also features some huge names from the world of stand-up fighting.
Here’s my preview of the first five fights:
125lbs.: Adrian Mattheis vs Lan Ming Qian
Adrian Mattheis (4-3) comes into this contest on the back of a two fight winning streak. Lan Ming Qian (1-2) made his ONE Championship debut as a late replacement last year and looked like he was more of a striker than a grappler.
Mattheis is coming off back to back submission wins and will want to get this one to the ground. Qian looked like he could do damage with his kicks before being taken down by Joshua Pacio and will be hoping to showcase more of his striking here.
145lbs.: Mazakazu Imanari vs Dae Hwan Kim
Mazakazu Imanari (36-17-2) is the leg lock master and has won four out of his last eight fights with a heel hook. The Japanese fighter made his pro debut 18 years ago so opponents know exactly what to expect, but still struggle to stop the 42 year old doing it.
Dae Hwan Kim (12-3-1) is well rounded which means he has much better striking than Imanari. It will be interesting to see whether the Korean risks throwing kicks, he won’t want his feet going anywhere near the veteran’s hands.
115lbs.: Gina Iniong vs Jenny Huang
Gina Iniong (6-3) has been in with some of the most experienced fighters in the division. She comes from a wushu background but has been competing in MMA for eight years and is confident on the ground.
Jenny Huang (5-2) scored a gogoplata win over one of Iniong’s team mates in this venue. The Taiwanese atomweight is a grappler but will struggle to dictate where this fight takes place and is an underdog against the experienced Filipina.
170lbs.: Elliot Compton vs Cosmo Alexandre (Muay Thai rules)
Cosmo Alexandre is one of Brazil’s most successful Muay Thai fighters and has been in with the likes of Giorgio Petrosyan, Yodsaenklai Fairtex and John Wayne Parr. He hasn’t been as active in recent years and it’s been a while since he last faced a top tier opponent.
Elliot Compton hasn’t faced the same level of opposition as his opponent but always fights to finish. Alexandre is known for his flying knees and will probably be too experienced for the aggressive Australian.
172lbs.: Brad Riddell vs Regian Eersel (kickboxing rules)
Holland has a long history of producing world class kickboxers but Regian Eersel’s main claim to fame is having knocked out Jo Nattawut in a Muay Thai fight. The Dutchman uses his height to good effect, keeping opponents at bay with straight punches and throwing head kicks from awkward angles.
Brad Riddell has more of a Muay Thai background but his style is perfect for kickboxing because he likes to throw combinations of punches and kicks. The New Zealander looks like the power puncher in this fight, Eersel will probably look to use jabs and kicks to keep him on the outside.
The ONE Championship live stream is on hiatus until the app is launched but the first five fights will be shown live on twitter. The show will be broadcast on local TV all over Asia and there should be several free streams available.