ONE: “Hero’s Ascent” is set for the MOA Arena in Manila this Friday night. In the main event reigning flyweight champion Geje Eustaquio faces former champion Adriano Moraes for the third time.
There’s also the first quarter final of the ONE Championship lightweight Grand Prix as Lowen Tynanes takes on Honorio Banario. Meanwhile two of the promotion’s top flyweights face off as Danny Kingad meets Tatsumitsu Wada.
Here’s my preview of the last six fights.
135 lbs.: Hiroki Akimoto vs. Josh Tonna (Muay Thai)
Hiroki Akimoto is a multiple time Karate champion who is now fighting out of Evolve MMA in Singapore. He is reportedly undefeated in kickboxing although it seems his fights might mostly have been at amateur level.
Josh Tonna beat Joseph Lasiri last time out, although it was a very close back and forth battle. He didn’t last long against Petchdam Gaiyanghadao but still represents a tough test for Akimoto on what might be his pro debut.
205 lbs.: Reiner de Ridder vs. Fan Rong (Middleweight)
Reiner de Ridder (9-0) has a background in Judo and BJJ and is reportedly 6’3” making him an absolute giant in middleweight terms. He is very good with trips and tosses and knows how to take someone’s back and choke them out once the fight is on the floor.
Fan Rong (12-1) is an exciting signing for ONE Championship. He’s primarily a grappler too and is riding a 12 fight winning streak with eight of those victories coming by way of submission.
135 lbs.: : Fahdi Khaled vs. Rodtang Jitmuangnon (Muay Thai)
Rodtang Jitmuangnon is a Muay Thai wrecking machine. He will walk opponents down relentlessly and look to attack with punches, kicks and elbows, His style is tailor made for the ONE Super Series scoring system which favours aggression.
Fahdi Khaled has been fighting on some televized shows in Thailand but has not been taking on opponent’s of Rodtang’s calibre. The Tunisian will be a big underdog in this contest.
135 lbs.: Danny Kingad vs. Tatsumitsu Wada (Flyweight)
These two didn’t get invited to participate in the flyweight Grand Prix but they remain two of the division’s top fighters. Kingad (10-1) is coming off three straight decision wins and even beat Yuya Wakamatsu, who is fighting Demetrious Johnson in March.
Meanwhile Wada (20-9-2) is very flat footed but isn’t afraid to stay in the pocket. He is a patient fighter who will bide his time waiting for an opponent to leave an opening.
170 lbs.: Lowen Tynanes vs Honorio Banario (Lightweight Grand Prix Quarter Final)
Stylistically this is a horrible fight for Honorio Banario (14-7). Lowen Tynanes (9-0) is a wrestler who already holds a quickfire stoppage win over the Filipino’s bigger team mater Eduard Folayang.
Tynanes is a huge lightweight who is relentless in his pursuit of takedowns. He has beaten better fighters than Banario and it will be interesting to see how he performs after a three year break from competitive action.
135 lbs.: Geje Eustaquio (c) vs. Adriano Moraes (For ONE Flyweight Title)
We’ve seen this one before but that doesn’t mean we know what will happen. As a BJJ black belt Adriano Moraes (17-3) clearly has the superior ground game but the Brazilian also has a more diverse striking arsenal than Geje Eustaquio (11-6).
So how did the Filipino manage to win? He benefited from some generous judging but Moraes has lost three times and every time the fight has been settled by split decision.
It’s not a coincidence. The Brazilian was the most talented fighter in the division (before Demetrious Johnson signed) but fights with very little aggression which allows opponents to set the pace.
Eustaquio has heart and stamina in abundance which makes him very well equipped to win a decision against an opponent who is pacing himself. The Filipino has hard kicks and had a smart gameplan last time when he surprised Moraes with a few takedown attempts.
The Brazilian has the tools to win this but will he use them? If he’s reluctant to take the fight to Eustaquio then the Filipino will be confident of claiming another decision win.
The entire ONE: “Hero’s Ascent” card will be available to view live and free in some territories using the newly launched app which you can download here. In the US it will be streamed on B/R Live.