ONE: “Legendary Quest” is set for the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai this Saturday. The card is headlined by an atomweight Muay Thai title fight but all eyes will be on Yoshihiro Akiyama as he makes his promotional debut.
“Sexyama” has not fought since 2015 and the 43 year-old UFC veteran will be looking to roll back the years with a winning performance against former welterweight title challenger Agilan Thani.
Here’s my preview of the first seven bouts on the card (for part one click here):
Muay Thai: Liam Harrison vs. Rotlek PKSaenchaigym (Bantamweight)
Liam Harrison has been in with some of the best Muay Thai fighters around and was really taking the fight to Petchmorrakot Wor Sangprapai when he walked straight into an elbow. The Englishman has some devastating low kicks.
Rotlek PKSaenchaigym is good with his knees and elbows but spend most of his career fighting at around 130 lbs whereas Harrison has struggled to make 147 lbs in the past so the Thai could have a significant size disadvantage.
Muay Thai: Han Zi Hao vs. Andrew Miller (Bantamweight)
Han Zi Hao spent several years fighting and training in Thailand and recently went the distance with Nong-O in a bantamweight title bout, even if it wasn’t a classic fight.
He should have too much for Andrew Miller who showcased some solid low kicks last time out but isn’t quite as experienced as the Chinese fighter.
Reinier De Ridder vs. Gilberto Galvao (Middleweight)
Reinier De Ridder (10-0) is surely the tallest fighter in the middleweight division, he stands at 6’4” and will have a significant height and reach advantage against Brazilian veteran Gilberto Galvao.
Galvao (30-6-1) hasn’t been submitted since 2007. The Brazilian only fights around once a year and is nine years older than De Ridder but has a huge advantage in terms of experience.
Kickboxing: Tarik Khbabez vs. Anderson Silva (Heavyweight)
Anderson Silva introduced himself to ONE Championship fans with a bang, knocking out Andre Meunier with a right hand. The Brazilian was always odds on to win that contest but faces a far greater challenge here.
Tarik Khbabez is a devastating puncher who has won three fights out of three in the ONE Super Series. This has all the makings of a heavyweight slug fest.
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Agilan Thani (Welterweight)
20 years separate these two fighters. Veteran Yoshihiro Akiyama has not fought since 2015 but remains one of the best judoka to ever compete in MMA and has been in with a much stronger level of competition than his opponent.
Agilan Thani is a grappler and that makes this a tough fight stylistically speaking for the Malaysian. He won’t find it easy to take the Japanese veteran down but it will be interesting to see how much Akiyama has in the tank at the age of 44.
Stamp Fairtex (c) vs. Alma Juniku (For Atomweight Muay Thai Title)
Stamp Fairtex’s route to becoming a two discipline ONE Championship title holder has been relatively straightforwards. She faces a tough test here against an opponent who has been rising rapidly through the Muay Thai ranks
Alma Juniku has had less than 30 fights and the teenager’s main claim to face was defeating Zaza Sor Aree who, like Stamp, had made a name for herself on the Thai scene. But she is highly regarded in Thailand and could pose Stamp some real problems.
Juniku is more of a puncher than Stamp and her best hope is to land a big shot. The Thai will look to pick her off with body kicks and land as many knees from the clinch as the referee will allow.
The entire ONE: “Legendary Quest” 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.