There are some big names on the top half of the ONE: “Conquest of Heroes” card. Three of the fights could conceivably be title eliminators while there will be a belt on the line when strawweight champion Yoshitaka Naito rematches Joshua Pacio.
Plus there’s the ONE Super Series debut of Muay Thai wrecking machine Rodtang Jitmuangnon who arrives with a reputation as being one of the most aggressive fighters on the stadium scene in Bangkok.
Here’s my preview of the last six fights on the card. To read part one click here.
170 lbs.: Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev vs Timofey Nastyukhin
This fight pits together two Russian lightweights who have been winning fights in devastating fashion. Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev (5-1) fell foul of ONE Championship’s evolving rule set when he was DQd for a soccer kick but has won the remainded of his fights by stoppage
Timofey Nastyukhin (12-3) didn’t go the distance once in his first 13 fights but his last two wins have been by way of decision. Saygid likes to come fast out of the blocks, take people down and beat them up while his opponent is more of a one punch knock out guy.
155 lbs.: Koyomi Matsushima vs Marat Gafurov
Marat Gafurov (16-1) is moving back into contention for a shot at the title he feels he never should have lost. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) black belt hasn’t been very active of late but looked at his best when securing a submission win over Emilio Urrutia earlier this year.
Koyomi Matsushima (9-3) is part of the wave of recent Japanese signings. The Pancrase veteran has been handed the toughest possible matchup on his ONE Championship debut but he’s never been submitted before and has proven knockout power.
135 lbs.: Yuya Wakamatsu vs Danny Kingad
Yuya Wakamatsu (10-2) joins ONE Championship with a reputation as one of the hardest hitting flyweights in Japan. He has a track record of finishing opponents and, more often than not, he does it in the first round.
Danny Kingad (9-1) is not one to shy away from a striking match. He has some very hard kicks but might decide to mix things up with the occasional takedown. This has the potential to be ‘fight of the night’.
135 lbs.: Sergio Wielzen vs Rodtang Jitmuangnon (Muay Thai)
Rodtang Jitmuangnon consistently faces the top fighters on the stadium scene in Thailand and was very unfortunate not to be awarded the decision win against Tenshin Nasukawa in Japan earlier this year.
He is an aggressive, walk forwards fighter who likes to take the fight to his opponent. That style should play well with the judges in the ONE Super Series and he will be a strong favourite against Sergio Wielzen.
125 lbs.: Stefer Rahardian vs Peng Xue Wen
Stefer Rahardian (8-1) suffered the first loss of his career against Rena Catalan last time out. It was something of a surprise as the Indonesian, who is primarily a grappler, had come into that fight as a strong favourite.
It would be even more of a surprise if he lost to Peng Xue Wen (2-3) who is best known for finishing Cambodian Phat Soda with a slam that would be illegal under the modern ONE Championship ruleset. Rahardian will be looking to get this fight to the ground where the BJJ brown belt should have the advantage.
125 lbs.: Yoshitaka Naito (c) vs Joshua Pacio
Joshua Pacio (15-2) has some hard kicks and will have noted with interest how much success Alex Silva had with this weapon. He won’t want to spend any more time on the ground than he has to against Yoshitaka Naito (13-1) though.
As is so often the case when Team Lakay fighters are in action Pacio will need to find a way to utilize his striking game without leaving openings for Naito to score takedowns. The Filipino will definitely need to avoid getting put on his back early in the rounds.
The question will be whether Pacio has the confidence to let his strikes flow against a calculating opponent who is just waiting to capitalize on the slightest mistake. Naito will definitely be looking to catch kicks but if the Filipino doesn’t throw strikes he won’t win this fight.
So it could become a question of whether Pacio can fight with confidence without throwing caution to the wind. The Filipino will win a striking battle, but if Naito gets a takedown with enough time on the clock he has a good chance of securing a submission win, just like he did in the first fight.
The entire ONE: “Conquest of Heroes” 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.