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ONE: ‘Spirit of a Warrior’ preview (Pt. 2)

For part one of our preview click here.

ONE: “Spirit of a Warrior” is set for the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon on Friday night (local time). Once again, local hero Aung La Nsang will headline although he’s been handed a tough assignment against promotional newcomer Ken Hasagewa.

While the Japanese fighter might be a new face for ONE Championship fans, anyone who follows Asian MMA will know exactly who Hasagewa is. Plus, with a show in Tokyo reportedly close to being finalized, the 31 year-old will not be short of motivation here.

The card also features a few interesting matchups in the ONE Super Series as well as a bantamweight clash between former title challenger Leandro Issa and promotional newcomer Roman Alvarez.

155lbs.: Rafael Nunes vs Tetsuya Yamada

Both men are coming off wins over Eric Kelly, who is clearly miles past his prime. Rafael Nunes (11-1) doesn’t appear to have much by way of striking but he’s a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and finished the Filipino with a D’Arce choke.

Tetsuya Yamada (25-6-2) is much more well rounded. Hes’ a southpaw who holds his hands low in order to bait opponents into coming inside. The Japanese fighter is extremely shrewd and might try and keep this standing, with the odd tactical takedown thrown in for good measure.

155lbs.: Saketdao Petpayathai vs Ma Jia Wen

Saketdao Petpayathai (3-0) has the Muay Thai credentials and has made a very promising start to his MMA career. He’s always been a front foot fighter who likes to pressurize opponents and is using the same tactics for ONE that served him so well at Lumpinee and Rjadamnern

Ma Jia Wen (5-2) is a freestyle wrestler and definitely won’t be looking to test his standup here. Stylistically this is a very difficult fight for Saketdao, and it will be interesting to see whether he can keep it standing long enough to use his Muay Thai.

145lbs.: Samy Sana vs Sorgraw Petyindeeacademy (Muay Thai)

While some fighters are coming out of retirement for the ONE Super Series Sorgraw Petyindeeacademy is still very much in his prime. He’s currently #4 in Lumpinee Stadium’s official 154lbs rankings despite having moved on to international events in recent years.

Samy Sana has faced top Thais before, he’s been in with Yodsaenklai Fairtex but was well beaten in that fight. Sorgraw already has experience of three round fights from competing on the Top King show so should know what is required here.

145lbs.: Leandro Issa vs Roman Alvarez

It seems a long time ago that Leandro Issa (15-6) fought for the inaugural ONE Championship bantamweight belt. He’s a BJJ black belt who has some really solid low kicks but the Brazilian seems to lack a bit of punch resistance, he’s been hurt a few times.

The five year old footage I found of Roman Alvarez (8-1) suggests he’s a switch hitter who likes a takedown. If Issa utilizes a patient striking game the Saipan native might be able to land a big punch, but the Brazilian should have the edge in the grappling.

205lbs.: Aung La Nsang vs Ken Hasagewa

Aung La Nsang (22-10-0-1) has very solid striking with a nice Muay Thai style. He can use his kicks to fight from mid range or attack with knees and elbows on the inside and always stays behind a high guard.

His stamina is also excellent and he managed to go five rounds with Vitaly Bigdash in the first fight despite barely having trained. That was La Nsang’s only loss inside the ONE Championship cage but going the distance despite being completely unprepared demonstrated his mental strength.

Ken Hasagewa (16-2-1) is a well rounded southpaw with over eight years of professional experience. There were extenuating circumstances behind his surprise defeat to Ryuichiro Sumimura last year as the 31 year old suffered a herniated disc.

With this fight set for five rounds Hasagewa won’t be in a hurry. He will be looking for La Nsang to make a mistake he can capitalize on and the longer the fight progresses the more chance there is of that happening.

La Nsang knows his striking is superior and if he can keep it standing he should punish the Japanese veteran. But Hasagewa is a very experienced fighter and it wouldn’t be a surprise if this one went the distance.

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

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