The heroes of ONE Championship will take to the cage once again on Saturday Night, 5 August, at ONE: KINGS & CONQUERORS from the Cotai Arena in Macao.
In the main event, ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes will defend his title, and his flawless six-year win streak, against the aspiring conqueror Andrew Leone.
Beyond the headlining attraction, there are several other heroes who have overcome overwhelming obstacles in their respective careers, and are diligently working to see their stars rise.
As of now, there are more questions for our heroes than there are answers. Here are some of the biggest questions surrounding ONE: KINGS AND CONQUERORS.
Can Bibiano Fernandes Keep His Astounding Win Streak Going?
Bibiano Fernandes is already the most dominant titleholder in ONE Championship. He has defended the title more than any other champion in the organization, and has not lost a match in six years. That is an incredible feat, considering he has beaten the likes of Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, Reece “Lightning” McLaren, and inaugural titleholder Soo Chul Kim.
Though remarkable, how long can Fernandes keep this streak going? It is quite the responsibility to continue carrying the torch that is the ONE Bantamweight World Championship, but at 37-years-old, the Brazilian is still performing at an elite level.
He draws Bali MMA’s Andrew Leone next, a young and hungry grappler who has yet to reach the prime of his own career, and he will have to bring his best to keep all his impressive streaks intact.
Who Will Be The Undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion?
When Kairat Akhmetov first met Adriano Moraes in the cage, he was the challenger, and Moraes the ONE Flyweight World Champion. It was an incredibly closely-contested five-round battle, with Akhmetov ultimately walking away with a razor-thin split decision and the belt.
Two years later, they will once again do battle, with Moraes challenging this time as the ONE Interim Flyweight World Champion, to unify the two belts. The Brazilian had become the interim titleholder during the time Akhmetov took off to recover from a serious back injury, as well as settle some pressing personal issues.
Now that the undefeated ONE Flyweight World Champion has finally gotten all of his affairs in order, Akhmetov (23-0) will make his highly-anticipated return, and aim to tie the record for longest active win streak in all of mixed martial arts.
For Moraes, this is also an opportunity to exact payback against the last man who defeated him, and reclaim his rightful place at the top of the division. Simply put, this is a dream scenario. As a result, the battle in the co-main event of ONE: KINGS & CONQUERORS holds incredible importance, with the fate of the ONE Flyweight World Championship hanging in the balance.
Is Timofey Nastyukhin Fully Recovered From His Devastating Leg Injury?
After delivering a six-second knockout to Rob Lisita earlier in May 2016, Timofey Nastyukhin was expecting to build off that momentum when he met Japan’s Kotetsu “No Face” Boku at ONE: DEFENDING HONOR later that November.
However, once he delivered a leg kick to his Japanese opponent, his own leg buckled and he was injured on the spot. Although he amazingly finished the round, the cageside doctor stopped the bout, with the official diagnosis turning out to be a broken tibia.
Nastyukhin has endured nine months of rehabilitation and is completely healed up. He gets former lightweight title contender Koji “The Commander” Ando in Macao, but is the Russian fully recovered from his injury?
Maybe in the physical sense, but how about mentally? Will he be more tentative on the right when he throws kicks or knees? The physical aspect is often talked about, but the mental game is often neglected. It will be interesting to see how Nastyukhin behaves upon his return.
Will Hayato Suzuki Be ONE’s Next Strawweight Title Challenger?
Hayato Suzuki has the resume to become the next great strawweight in ONE Championship. The Ibaraki, Japan native trains out of the famous BRAVE Gym, and holds an impeccable 16-0-2 professional record with 11 of those victories coming by either TKO or submission finish. He is also the Grachan Flyweight Champion, a title which he has held since April 2014.
While the 31-year-old wrestler is a veteran of Japan’s famed scene, he is now truly gauging his world-class skills in ONE, and will get a stiff test against former title contender Joshua Pacio, whose only loss is to the ONE Strawweight World Champion, Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito. If Suzuki can be the second man to defeat the Team Lakay prospect, then it will clear the way for a title match against his fellow countryman.