The ONE Interim Bantamweight World Title will be on the line when the world’s biggest martial arts organization returns to the Philippines.
Plus, several other blockbuster match-ups have been confirmed for ONE: REIGN OF KINGS, which is set to broadcast live from Manila’s Mall of Asia Arena on 27 July.
In the main event, two-division World Champion, Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, will return to the bantamweight division in search of a third World Title against Team Lakay’s Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon.
Nguyen already holds the featherweight and lightweight World Titles, and narrowly missed out on bantamweight gold when he lost a split decision to Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes in March at ONE: IRON WILL.
After defending his featherweight belt at ONE: UNSTOPPABLE DREAMS in Singapore, the Vietnamese-Australian expressed his desire to face Belingon, due to Fernandes’ absence from the cage due to injury.
Now the 29-year-old has his wish, and he is delighted with the opportunity.
“Bibiano [Fernandes] should watch this fight with a close eye. He knows who the rightful challenger is,” he says.
“It’s either me or Kevin (Belingon), and I will be doing everything in my power to finish this one.
“This is a fan-friendly match-up between two aggressive, young beasts, and I can’t wait to lock horns with Kevin. There will be fireworks.”
Belingon, a product of the Philippines’ famed Team Lakay, emerged as the leading contender the last time ONE visited Manila for ONE: HEROES OF HONOR.
The 30-year-old thrilled the Filipino crowd with a stunning second-round spinning back kick TKO of Andrew Leone. Now, he is ready to compete for five rounds and finally claim a World Championship belt.
“As one of the top bantamweights in ONE Championship, I am willing to take on all comers,” he says.
“It doesn’t matter to me who is the opponent. In fact, I am honored to face Martin Nguyen, a two-division World Champion.
“If I can beat Martin, it would be huge. This is a great position I am in, and I am excited for this bout. It will be action-packed, for sure.”
Joining this pivotal match will be a slew of martial arts icons.
Also on the bill, ONE welcomes two pioneers of mixed martial arts for a legend versus legend matchup.
Brazil’s Renzo Gracie is one of the most respected names in martial arts, following an amazing career competing against some of the biggest names in the sport.
He will return to the cage for the first time in eight years, and for the final time in his life, under the ONE banner.
The legendary BJJ black belt will face Japan’s Yuki “Sora” Kondo, who will also say farewell to his career on the global stage for martial arts.
After more than 100 professional contests, the former King of Pancrase will make his final bow in Manila, and he will give his all to make it a victorious one.
Aoki, the former ONE Lightweight World Champion, got back in the win column in May with a masterful first-round submission of Rasul Yakhyaev.
The Japanese grappling icon will aim to take another step back to the top in this clash of styles.
Competing out of Bangkok, Thailand, Wiratchai also got back to winning ways in March, scoring a highlight-reel knockout of Rahul Raju after just 21 seconds.
Another victory, against one the world’s biggest names, would put him in a prominent position to challenge Nguyen for top honors.
Also on the card, Filipino martial arts hero, Eduard “Landslide” Folayang will return to compete in his home country for the first time since November.
The former ONE Lightweight World Champion recently handed Russia’s Kharun Atlangeriev his first defeat in May, and will face an opponent to be announced in the near future.