ONE: “Dreams of Gold” is set for Bangkok on Friday (Aug. 16, 2019) and the card is stacked with Muay Thai and kickboxing bouts. There is one title match as well as the semifinals of the promotion’s featherweight Grand Prix.
One of the biggest stars of the ONE “Super Series” will make her move into MMA with Stamp Fairtex looking for an improbable third title. Former lightweight champion Kotetsu Boku will also be on the card along with flyweight newcomer Ryuto Sawada.
Here’s my preview of the last seven fights:
Yusup Saadulaev vs. Shuya Kamikubo (Featherweight)
Yusup Saadulaev (17-5-1-1) is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) black belt who has had mixed results with ONE Championship. He’s been stopped with strikes a few times, and Kevin Belingon and Thanh Le have finished the Russian in separate fights.
Shuya Kamikubo (10-1-1) is a wrestler so this could turn into a war of attrition. Both are more comfortable on the ground, but Saadulaev should pose the greater submission threat.
Muay Thai: Muangthai PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym vs. Kenta Yamada (Bantamweight)
Muangthai PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym is an elbow specialist but hasn’t looked entirely comfortably fighting in MMA gloves. He likes to stay in the pocket and look for openings to land an elbow, he’s probably the best in the sport with this weapon but is also a very intelligent and well rounded fighter.
Kenta Yamada looks to be outmatched here. He’s competed in kickboxing a lot during his career and there’s nothing to suggest he is good enough to mix it up with one of the top fighters on the Bangkok stadium scene.
Alex Silva vs. Stefer Rahardian (Strawweight)
Alex Silva (7-4) is a former ONE strawweight champion who has lost three fights in a row by decision. The BJJ black belt will be a strong favorite here though because his opponent is also primarily a submission specialist.
Stefer Rahardian (8-3) has also lost three bouts in a row, all by decision. The Indonesian has not been facing the same calibre of opponent as Silva though, he’s primarily a grappler but will be at a disadvantage if this goes to the ground.
Kickboxing: Dzhabar Askerov vs. Samy Sana (Featherweight Grand Prix Semifinal)
A spot in the Featherweight Grand Prix final will be on the line and Dzhabar Askerov faces a step up having beaten Enriko Kehl for the third time in a row in his quarterfinal bout. He’s a veteran of the original “Contender Asia” series but is a huge outsider in this tournament.
Having beaten Yodsaenklai Fairtex soundly Samy Sana will be dreaming of taking home the trophy and the prize money. Yodsaenklai won the aforementioned Contender Asia competition, and Askerov will be the underdog here.
Asha Roka vs. Stamp Fairtex (Atomweight)
Stamp Fairtex (1-0) scored a head kick KO seconds into her MMA debut, so we know absolutely nothing about her grappling and wrestling credentials. She’s a decoratd Muay Thai veteran will a solid body kick.
Asha Roka (4-0) is undefeated but hasn’t fought for over two years due to the demise of the Super Fight League. She as been competing in boxing during this period and spent time at Tiger Muay Thai to sharpen up her MMA tools.
Kickboxing: Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Jo Nattawut (Featherweight Grand Prix Semifinal)
Giorgio Petrosyan beat Jo Nattawut convincingly first time out. The Italian southpaw is a true technician and probably the best in the history of the sport when it comes to picking opponents apart from medium range.
ONE Championship’s slightly unique kickboxing rules have thrown up a blueprint to beat Petrosyan. Jo Nattawut needs to get on the inside, tie him up in the clinch and throw knees without falling foul of the referee and rules.
Kickboxing: Petchdam Petchyindeeacademy (c) vs. Ilias Ennahachi (For Flyweight Title)
Petchdam Petchyindeeacademy is a southpaw with an unstoppable left kick. He’s more suited to kickboxing than Muay Thai but finding a way to avoid that body kick is still the main challenge for opponents.
Ilias Ennahachi is not a fighter I am familiar with but the Netherlands produces elite kickboxers who know exactly how to mix up kicks and punches, something Thai style fighters sometimes struggle with.
The entire ONE: “Dreams of Gold” 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.