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ONE: ‘A New Era’ Preview (Pt. 3)

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ONE: “A New Era” is rightfully being hailed as the best fight card the Singapore-based mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion has ever put on. With four title fights, two former UFC champions, and the quarterfinals of the flyweight grand prix, the March 31 supershow in Tokyo, Japan, is absolutely stacked.

There’s even a kickboxing match between two of the best stand-up fighters of the century, Yodsaenklai Fairtex and Andy Souwer. Meanwhile, Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Xiong Jing Nan, and Aung La Nsang all defend their respective titles.

The “Prelims” alone feature five fighters who have either fought for or held ONE Championship titles. Local interest is provided by “Land of the Rising Sun” veterans Shinya Aoki, Ken Hasegawa, Yuka Wakamatsu, Tatsumitu Wada, Mei Yamaguchi, and Hiroki Akimoto.

Here is part three of my three-part preview:

145 lbs: Kevin Belingon (c) vs. Bibiano Fernandes (For ONE Bantamweight Title)

We’ve seen this one twice before so we know roughly what to expect. Kevin Belingon (20-5) can win a striking battle but will not want to end up in an adverse position on the ground.

Bibiano Fernandes (22-4) is the superior grappler and knows how to land the overhand right. After dropping a split decision last time out, the Brazilian might fight with a little more urgency here.

205 lbs.: Aung La Nsang (c) vs. Ken Hasegawa (For ONE Middleweight Title)

The first fight between these two was a wild back and forth battle with the pendulum swinging constantly before Aung La Nsang (24-10-0-1) finally finished the fight in the fifth round.

Ken Hasegawa (16-3-1) is a southpaw who is constantly looking to line up left hands. La Nsang has a much more diverse striking arsenal and the Japanese fighter faded down ther stretch in their first fight.

125 lbs: Xiong Jing Nan (c) vs. Angela Lee (For ONE Strawweight Title)

Angela Lee (9-0) has survived two five-round bouts with Mei Yamaguchi but benefited from a generous decision in the rematch. She is moving up a division and will probably be slightly smaller than her Chinese opponent.

Given how Lee towered over Yamaguchi that should give Xiong Jing Nan (13-1) optimism as she attempts to derail arguably ONE Championship’s biggest bandwagon. The Chinese fighter is good with her hands and probably won’t want to go to ground with a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) black belt.

170 lbs.: Eduard Folayang (c) vs. Shinya Aoki (For ONE Lightweight Title)

Shinya Aoki (42-8) looked to be controlling the first contest until Eduard Folayang (21-6) timed one of his takedown attempts with a knee. The Filipino will want to use the same weapon again here, even if he can’t catch the challenger clean it might make him think twice about changing levels.

For Aoki, the gameplan is always to get the fight to the ground. He’s a southpaw with a solid left kick but Folayang has a very fast wushu-based striking style and will clearly be at an advantage in the stand-up exchanges.

Given that this is a five rounder, Aoki might employ a cautious approach in the early rounds. Folayang is not known for his one-punch knockout power so the former champion might try to time his takedown attempts more carefully, even if it means engaging in some striking.

Given Aoki’s superiority in the grappling department he will be confident of securing a submission if he is able to repeatedly take Folayang down. The early rounds might be uneventful, but this formula could make for a late stoppage win.

The entire ONE: “A New Era” fight card will be available to view live and free in some territories using the newly launched app which you can download here. In the U.S. it will be streamed on B/R Live.


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