ONE: “Reign of Kings” is set for the MOA Arena this Friday night in Pasay, Philippines. It will be headlined by an interim bantamweight title bout between Martin Nguyen and Kevin Belingon and also features Renzo Gracie, Shinya Aoki and Eduard Folayang.
That makes this a big event and the fans will be firmly behind Folayang, Belingon and the other Filipinos. There’s also three ONE “Super Series” bouts with a chance for the Filipino audience to witness some Muay Thai and kickboxing.
Here’s my preview of the bottom half of the card.
155lbs.: Sor Sey vs Xie Bin
Xie Bin (4-1) is already a veteran of five ONE fights and is riding a four fight winning streak, making him arguably the most successful male Chinese fighter on the roster. He is tall for a bantamweight and likes to use his height and reach to land strikes and chokes.
Sor Sey (4-2) will be the second Cambodian fighter that Bin has faced, and he won the first fight by submission. Both men have identical records but the Khmer fighter might struggle with his opponent’s reach, and will definitely be at a disadvantage on the ground.
125lbs.: Joshua Pacio vs. Pongsiri Mitsatit
This fight has been several months in the making and is a clash of styles that pits the Muay Thai of Pongsiri Mitsatit (9-0) against the wushu of Joshua Pacio (14-2). The Thai has a more impressive record but the Filipino has faced higher level opposition.
That could make this an interesting striking match. But Pacio has the advantage in wrestling terms and might employ a takedown orientated strategy here, Mitsatit’s Muay Thai won’t help him if he’s on his back.
125lbs.: Rene Catalan vs. Stefer Rahardian
Rene Catalan (4-2-0-1) is riding a four fight winning streak. He’s a multiple time wushu world champion with a sold ground game but none of the opponents he has beaten are of quite the same calibre as Stefer Rahardian.
Rahardian (8-0) is one of the top fighters in the strawweight division. The Bali MMA prospect is a submission specialist who has already beaten a top ranked Filipino in the MOA Arena, decisioning Eugene Toquero in 2017.
150lbs.: Chamuaktong Fightergym vs Brown Pinas (Muay Thai)
Chamuaktong Fightergym is a former Lumpinee champion, Rajadamnern champion and Toyota Marathon winner. He’s competing at his natural weight and is still very much in his prime which could be bad news for Brown Pinas.
It’s rare to see fighters of Chamuaktong’s calibre losing to non Thai opponents unless they are giving away weight or reaching retirement age. Neither applies here and there’s little chance of Pinas winning if they are using boxing gloves, the smaller gloves make things a bit more unpredictable.
160lbs.: Armen Petrosyan vs. Chris Ngimbi (kickboxing)
Armen Petrosyan might not be the best kickboxer in his family but he’s a veteran of around 100 fights who has beaten the likes of Vuyisile Colossa and Dzhabar Askerov. He’s going up against an opponent who has lost to his brother twice, but went the distance both times.
Chris Ngimbi dropped a decision to Yodsaenklai Fairtex on his ONE Super Series debut but will be looking to bounce back with a win here. He’s faced some of the world’s top kickboxers but has come up short on the scorecards more often than not.
145lbs.: Panicos Yusuf vs. Han Zi Hao (Muay Thai)
Panicos Yusuf is one of the top fighters from the UK, which has a thriving Muay Thai scene. He’s been in with the likes of Manachai PKSaenchaigym and Sergio Wielzen and is a very technical fighter capable of making adjustments during the fight.
China isn’t renowned for it’s Muay Thai but Han Zi Hao is a Thai Fight and Top King veteran who has been in with solid fighters like Victor Pinto and Rungravee Sasiprapa. Under normal rules and scoring I would favour Yusuf but in the ONE Super Series anything can happen.
The entire ONE: “Reign of Kings” card will be available to view live and free using the newly launched app which you can download here. The first four fights will also be live on twitter and facebook.