ONE: “Enter the Dragon” is set for this Friday (May 17, 2019) inside Singapore Indoor Stadium and features a stellar lineup. The likes of Shinya Aoki, Sage Northcutt, Yodsaenklai Fairtex and Giorgio Petrosyan will all be in action on this star-studded card.
There are two title fights and the quarterfinals of the ONE Kickboxing Featherweight Grand Prix. With 16 fights, it is a big card and here’s my preview of the top half (for part one of our preview click here).
Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke vs. Miao Li Tao (Strawweight)
Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke (10-4) just tuned 40 but has won his last two bouts. It is no secret where the former Lumpinee champion’s strengths lie, and he is very strong in the clinch.
Miao Li Tao (3-1) beat a Cambodian in his ONE Championship debut but faces a big step up against the former strawweight champion. He looks to be more of a wrestler although it was a right hand that accounted for his knockout win against Sim Bunsrun.
Geje Eustaquio vs. Kim Kyu Sung (Flyweight)
Geje Eustaquio (11-7) is the former flyweight champion and has proved time and time again that he can hold his own against the top fighters in the division. He’s very dangerous with kicks and spinning strikes and has a wushu style.
Kim Syu Kung (9-2) makes his ONE Championship debut. He’s probably the tallest fighter in the division and will tower over Eustaquio. The Korean recently joined Evolve MMA.
Amir Khan vs. Saygid Arslanaliev (Lightweight Grand Prix Semifinal)
You have to respect Amir Khan (11-5) for accepting this matchup, particularly coming off back-to-back defeats. The Singaporean has a Muay Thai background and takes a very tactical approach to fights, so he’s sure to have a well thought-out gameplan for this one.
The name Saygid Arslanaliev (7-1) is basically a byword for aggression. The Turkish based Dagestani attacks relentlessly, whether with striking or takedowns and will look to overwhelm Khan right from the get go.
Sage Northcutt vs. Cosmo Alexandre (Welterweight)
This has the makings of a potential upset. Sage Northcutt (11-2) is far more experienced in MMA terms and the former UFC poster boy is clearly the more well rounded of the two fighters.
But Cosmo Alexandre (7-1) is one of the best strikers in the ONE Super Series, let alone the promotion’s MMA roster. Northcutt will need takedowns if he wants to win, and the American will need to be very strategic about this.
Yodsaenklai Fairtex vs. Samy Sana (Featherweight Kickboxing Grand Prix Quarterfinal)
Yodsaenklai Fairtex comes from a Muay Thai background but has bags of kickboxing experience. He’s a heavy handed southpaw with a devastating left kick and it would be a huge surprise if he didn’t reach the tournament final.
Samy Sana will be the taller fighter but he dropped a decision to Yodsaenklai the last time these two met, although that was under Muay Thai rules, and will be a massive underdog on this ocassion.
Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Petchmorrakot Petchyindee (Featherweight Kickboxing Grand Prix Quarterfinal)
Giorgio Petrosyan might just be the best pound-for-pound fighter on the ONE Championship roster. They call him “The Doctor” because he fights with surgical precision and he will be looking to pick apart an opponent with very little kickboxing experience.
Petchmorrakot Petchyindee’s style revolves around clinching and elbows. He will still be able to attack with long knees here but the transition from Muay Thai to kickboxing is likely to prove tough, particularly given the calibre of his opposition.
Nieky Holzken vs. Regian Eersel (For Vacant Lightweight Kickboxing Title)
Nieky Holzken signed on for the ONE Super Series with a stellar reputation but the Dutchman has more than lived up to expectations. The KO win over Alexandre was a thing of beauty and showed that the former Gory welterweight champion can still finish fights.
Regian Eersel also hails from Holland but that is where the similarities end. He is a tall lightweight who knows how to use his reach and will look to land long knees and kicks.
Shinya Aoki (c) vs. Christian Lee (For Lightweight Title)
Christian Lee (11-3) says he is going to try and knock Shinya Aoki (43-8-0-1) out in the first round and anyone who has seen the 20 year old in action before will know that he’s probably not joking.
Whether or not Lee succeeds will come down to his ability to control where the fight takes place. If he can stuff the Asian MMA veteran’s takedowns and keep it standing, or even put the Japanese veteran on his back and attack with ground and pound he might stand a chance.
But if Aoki is able to take Lee down and control him on the ground the submission will surely come sooner or later. The young fighter deserves huge credit for accepting this matchup, but the odds are stacked against him.
The entire ONE: “Enter the Dragon” 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.