ONE Championship is heading back to Manila, Philippines, on Friday, 20 April, with a historic live event.
The promotion will hold its upcoming spectacle ONE: HEROES OF HONOR at the state-of-the-art Mall Of Asia Arena. Not only will the card feature familiar matches under ONE’s Global Rule Set, but it also marks the debut of the ONE Super Series, which features the world’s very best strikers in action.
A Classic Clash Of Styles
In the main event of ONE: HEROES OF HONOR, Filipino hero Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon will square off against Bali MMA’s Andrew Leone, in a bantamweight battle between former world title challengers.
Belingon hails from the acclaimed Team Lakay in Baguio City, which has produced its fair share of ONE World Champions and superstar talents. With his feared wushu striking, the Filipino plans on booking a second shot at the ONE Bantamweight World Title with a victory over Leone.
It will not be an easy task, however, as the American is a BJJ black belt and highly-skilled wrestler, and is perfectly poised to test Belingon’s skills on the ground. The Bali MMA c0-founder is a Pan-Asian Grappling Champion, has won three out of his last five outings, and is similarly looking to secure another world championship opportunity.
The Return Of Former Featherweight World Champions
Also set to star on the main card is one of the Philippines’ most revered athletes, Honorio “The Rock” Banario, who returns to action against Australia’s Adrian “The Hunter” Pang in a lightweight clash between two of the promotion’s most respected veterans.
Banario is a former ONE Featherweight World Champion, and like the rest of Team Lakay, is equipped with world-class wushu skills and an ever-evolving ground game. Since moving up to lightweight, “The Rock” has been on a tear, and is riding a four-bout win streak.
His rival, Pang, is a heavy-handed striker who loves nothing more than walk his opponent down with forward pressure and powerful punches. However, Pang’s BJJ black belt also means he’s no slouch on the ground, meaning this bout is sure to entertain.
Gafurov dominated the featherweight division upon his arrival in October 2014, submitting six consecutive opponents with his signature move, the rear-naked choke. But that title run ended abruptly at the hands of Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen last August.
Now, the 15-1 Dagestani star has his sights set on reclaiming his throne, as he looks to position himself for a trilogy match with the Vietnamese-Australian later this year. He had emphatically won their first encounter with a 41-second submission in 2015.
To achieve that, he will have to go through Urrutia (11-4), whose most recent outing saw him claim a marquee stoppage win over two-time BJJ no-gi world champion Bruno Pucci at ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES in January. After that bout, he called for top-level competition, as he bids to gatecrash the featherweight world championship picture.
Clearly, his wish has been granted, with the “The Honey Badger” set to take on Gafurov in what will undoubtedly be one of the most intriguing match-ups of the night.
Superstar Strikers Take Center Stage
Throughout the main card of ONE: HEROES OF HONOR will be a trio of highly-anticipated striking-only contests, as the historic ONE Super Series gets underway at the Mall Of Asia Arena.
ONE Super Series is ONE Championship’s global platform for the world’s best martial artists to showcase and celebrate the beauty of the striking arts, such as Muay Thai, kickboxing, karate, taekwondo, kung fu, wushu, sanda, silat, lethwei, and more.
The night’s co-main event will feature decorated pound-for-pound kickboxing superstar Giorgio Petrosyan taking on Thailand’s “Smokin’” Jo Nattawut.
Petrosyan has been lacing up the gloves since he was 16 years of age, and has developed into one of the most talented kickboxers on the planet. Over the course of a stellar striking career, he has amassed a phenomenal record of 85-2-2 (2 NC), and is famed for his six-year, 42-bout win streak.
He will take on Nattawut, who has a similarly impressive record of 60-11-2. A former Lion Fight Super Welterweight Champion and WMC Champion, the Thai plans on making an instant impact in the ONE Super Series with victory over the Italian star in their 70kg clash.
Also set to bring the Filipino fans to their feet is a 67kg clash between Muay Thai heroes Nong-O Gaiyanghadao and Fabio Pinca.
A world champion across five weight classes during his legendary career, Gaiyanghadao is widely regarded as one of the very best pound-for-pound Muay Thai experts in the world today. He steps into the ring as a four-time Lumpinee Stadium world champion, a Rajadamnern Stadium world champion, a two-time Thailand national champion, and two-time Fighter of the Year.
The Thai superstar will look to showcase his skills against another multiple-time champion in Fabio Pinca, a French-Italian Muay Thai star whose slick technical striking skills have seen him collect a succession of belts, including the WBC World Muay Thai Welterweight Title and a Rajadamnern Stadium world title.
The honor of the first ONE Super Series match-up in the promotion’s history will go to Brad “Quake” Riddell and Regian “The Immortal” Eersel, who will do battle in a 78kg encounter.
Representing Tiger Muay Thai, decorated New Zealander Riddell heads into the cage as a WKBF Middleweight World Champion, as well as a WMC New Zealand Middleweight Champion, Oceania Super 8 Middleweight Champion, HK Commonwealth Middleweight Champion, and CIK Chinese K-1 Champion.
He will face off against Dutch striking star Eersel, a Lion Fight Welterweight Champion who trains out of the Sityodtong gym.
With so much gold among them, look out for these striking superstars as they bring fireworks to the Mall Of Asia Arena.
Exciting Preliminary Action
The preliminary card features a trio of exciting bouts and a host of notable names from the ONE roster.
Team Lakay’s Gina “Conviction” Iniong returns to action against former ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title challenger Jenny “Lady GoGo” Huang from Chinese Taipei, which will surely elevate the victor towards title contention.
Also on the bill is Japanese living leg lock legend Masakazu “Ashikan Judan” Imanari. He returns to bantamweight action against South Korea’s Kevin “Oldboy” Chung, who trains with two-division ONE World Champion Aung La N Sang out of Crazy 88 Mixed Martial Arts.