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ONE: ‘Inside the Matrix’ preview

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ONE: “Inside the Matrix” is set for the Singapore Indoor Stadium next Friday night (local time). There will be 250 fans in attendance and the promotion has got special dispensation from the government to fly in fighters from all around the globe for this card which will feature three title bouts.

Some of the biggest names on the roster will be in action including middleweight and light heavyweight champion Aung La Nsang, featherweight champion Martin Nguyen and former lightweight champion Eduard Folayang.

It will be ONE Championship’s biggest card of a year which has been badly disrupted by Covid-19. Here is my preview:

Ritu Phogat vs. Nou Srey Pov (Atomweight)

Ritu Phogat (2-0) is a decorated wrestler. She will have been disapponted not to finish her most recent opponent despite spending virtually the entire fight in a dominant position and will be looking for the takedowns here.

Nou Srey Pov (1-1) comes from a kun khmer background and should be the superior striker. Her takedown defence will need to be on point and while Phogat has been training with all the BJJ black belts and MMA veterans at Evolve MMA she has been preparing in Phnom Penh.

Phogat (2-0) is coming off a decision win over Chiao Chen Wu at ONE: ‘King of the Jungle’. Pov also went the distance in her last bout but was outpointed by the experienced Priscilla Gaol at ONE: ‘For Honor’.

Eduard Folayang vs. Antonio Caruso (Lightweight)

Eduard Folayang (22-9) first fought at this stadium in 2011 and his style hasn’t changed much over the years. His greatest weapon remains his wushu style striking and the former lightweight champion has some lightning fast kicks.

Antonio Caruso (7-1) is a grappler and has been preparing for this bout at Sanford MMA in Florida alongside Martin Nguyen, Aung La Nsang and a whole host of UFC fighters. He will want to get it to the ground although Folayang has been knocked out before and can be vulnerable to counters as he charges in.

Xiong Jing Nan (c) vs. Tiffany Teo (For strawweight title)

Xiong Jing Nan (14-2) didn’t just beat the Singaporean first time around, she beat her up. The strawweight champion’s boing has improved significantly since then and she will be confident of winning the rematch.

Tiffany Teo (10-1) has huge heart and has been known to simply outlast opponents who aren’t made of such stern stuff. That might be rough to do against a champion who has fought several five rounders in recent years.

Martin Nguyen (c) vs. Thanh Le (For featherweight title)

Everyone knows about the right hand of Martin Nguyen (13-3) but that doesn’t mean they can avoid it. The Australian knows exactly how to set it up and only needs to land it once to finish a fight.

Thanh Le (11-2) is also a striking specialist who will be hoping that Nguyen overcommits and leaves an opening. Both men have a proven track record of knocking opponents out and it could make for a slow start, unless someone decides to throw caution to the wind and start throwing leather.

Christian Lee (c) vs. Iuri Lapicus (For lightweight title)

Christian Lee (13-3) continues to improve and evolve. Seeing spikes and suplexes banned was a blow but he still has some explosive takedowns and is very comfortable trading kicks and punches at close quarters.

Iuri Lapicus (14-0) trains with the Petrosyans in Italy but really earned his title shot by submitting Marat Gafurov The Moldovan is coming off a first round submission win over former featherweight king Marat Gafurov at ONE: ‘Warrior’s Code’.

Aung La Nsang (c) vs. Reinier De Ridder (For middleweight title)

La Nsang (26-10-0-1) has won 11 fights out of 12 for ONE Championship. He had originally been slated to defend his middleweight title against Vitaly Bigdash, but de Ridder has returned from injury in time to replace the Russian.

De Ridder (12-0) has won three fights out of three for ONE Championship. He earned his title shot by beating Leandro Ataides in February but suffered an unspecified injury during that contest, the Dutchman has fully recovered and is ready to fight again.

The entire ONE: “Inside the Matrix” 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.

www.twitter.com/jamesgoyder