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ONE: ‘Battle for the Heavens’ preview

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ONE: “Battle for the Heavens” is set for the Guangzhou Tianhe Gymnasium on Saturday, this will be the third weekend in a row that the promotion is putting on a fight card.

The event is headlined by a title fight between two promotional newcomers. Yodcherry Sityodtong faces Kai Ting Chuang in a fight which has the newly minted atomweight kickboxing belt on the line.

The card also features a mixture of Japanese and Chinese fighters. There are also two potential title eliminators with Reece Mclaren facing Tatsumitsu Wada in the flyweight division and Gina Iniong taking on Mei Yamaguchi in an atomweight matchup.

125lbs.: Adrian Mattheis vs Robin Catalan

You know what you are getting from a Catalan and that is world class wushu. Robin (7-4) is regarded by many as being the best of the bunch, his losses have all been at the expense of good level opponents although Kritsada Krongsrichai made short work of him last time out.

Adrian Mattheis (5-3) was submitted by Rena Catalan last year but is coming off a three fight winning streak. Catalan won his last fight in the least impressive manner possible, after Kritsada was DQd for a suplex that looked like it had done serious damage to the Filipino’s shoulder.

125lbs.: Peng Xue Wen vs Eddey Kalai

Eddey Kalai (0-3) has a loss to Mattheis on his record and has never won a pro fight, although he’s been beaten by three decent opponents. His pro record is poor but he does have at least ten wins as an amateur.

Peng Xue Wen (1-4) is best known for scoring a brutal KO with a suplex that would be illegal under the modern ONE Championship rules. It remains the only win on his pro record and both men will presumably be fighting for their promotional futures.

115lbs.: Istela Nunes vs Gina Iniong

Istela Nunes (5-1-0-1) was comprehensively outclassed by Angela Lee but holds a split decision win over Mei Yamaguchi. Here greatest strength is her Muay Thai and I would expect this to be primarily a striking match.

Gina Iniong (7-3) also holds a split decision win over Mei Yamaguchi. She’s a wushu fighter, as you would expect from Team Lakay, she likes a big overhand right and throws lots of kicks but might shoot for the occasional takedown just to keep Nunes on her toes.

150lbs.: Zhao Zhi Kang vs Meas Meul

Getting submitted by Waqar Umar was not an impressive result for Zhao Zhi Kang (10-3). The Chinese fighter will be desperate to bounce back from that defeat and he already holds one win over a Cambodian Top Team opponent.

Meas Meul (5-2) holds a win over TUF China veteran and MIMMA winner Allen Chong. But he’s 0-2 since signing for ONE Championship. He’s very flat footed, which makes him vulnerable to takedowns, but has some hard kicks.

145lbs.: Saemapetch Fairtex vs Deividas Danyla (Muay Thai)

In 2012 Saemapetch Fairtex won the Tiger Cement Tournament, a 16 man tournament which is broadcast live on Channel 7 in Thailand and has upwards of 500,000 Baht on the line for the winner.

It remains the crowning achievement of his career and he will be looking to collect some more silverware through the ONE Super Series. Deividas Danyla has fought on MX Xtreme and Max Muay Thai in Thailand, which aren’t exactly the A leagues, but he looks a very solid Muay Thai fighter.

145lbs.: Fu Chang Xin vs Tang De Pan

Fu Chang Xin (7-1) holds some good wins on his record and will probably be a favourite against Tang De Pan (2-1) whose main claim to fame was scoring a spectacular KO by slam in 2016, something that would possibly be illegal under modern ONE Championship rules.

Tang supposedly has a background in Sanda but he wasn’t able to score with strikes against an inexperienced Bangladeshi opponent in his last fight. Fu Chang is more confident in his stand up and can fight orthodox or southpaw.

231lbs.: Andre Meunier vs Ibrahim El Bouni (kickboxing)

Australia’s Andre Meunier has a decent boxing record. He is very aggressive and could best be described as a ‘brawler’ although he has the sort of size and power that means you only need to land once.

Ibrahim El Bouni hails from the Netherlands and has a distinctly Dutch style. He likes to attack with punches and low kicks and has the tools to pick Meunier apart and potentially score a stoppage in the latter rounds.

145lbs.: Shuya Kamikubo vs Sunoto

Sunoto (9-3) will be appearing for the fourth time this year but while the pay cheques might be arriving regularly the fights aren’t getting any easier. His four strike winning streak dates back to 2016 but he might struggle to extend it here.

That’s because he is facing Shuya Kamikubo (7-1-1) who has regularly been going the distance with some very experienced opponents in Japan. This will be an interesting gauge of Sunoto’s potential against a fighter who will want to make a big impression on his promotional debut.

135lbs.: Tatsumitsu Wada vs Reece McLaren

Reece McLaren (11-5) had been promised a flyweight title shot after seeing off Gianni Subba. However the Australian has been handed a significant road block with a matchup against a seasoned Japanese opponent.

McLaren is a BJJ black belt who likes a choke while Tatsumitsu Wada (19-8-2-1) is riding an eight fight winning streak. The Japanese veteran is a Deep flyweight champion with a background in Judo and Karate who could be one win away from a title shot himself.

115lbs.: Yodcherry Sityodtong vs Kai Ting Chuang (for inaugural ONE atomweight kickboxing title)

Given the gulf in experience you would expect Yodcherry Sityodtong to prevail here, although it’s worth pointing out that her background is in Muay Thai and not kickboxing. She’s a veteran of around 100 fights who has won several titles in Thailand.

Kai Ting Chuang is at a real disadvantage in terms of experience. She is an amateur champion in Taiwan, a country not known for its stand up fighting scene, and has only had 21 professional fights.

From the limited footage that is available of Yodcherry she seems to like fighting off the back foot and isn’t very aggressive. I’ve only seen Chuang on the pads and her boxing is not bad but she doesn’t put any weight behind her kicks.

Yodcherry has spent about 6 months at Evolve MMA preparing for this fight which will be an advantage but if she sits back too much and Chuang throws a high volume of punches the Taiwanese fighter could spring an upset here.

The entire ONE: “Battle for the Heavens” card will be available to view live and free using the newly launched app which you can download here. The first six fights will also be live on twitter and possibly facebook.