ONE Championship returns to the lion city this Friday, 11 November, for ONE: DEFENDING HONOR at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The main event will feature the return of ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki, as he takes on Filipino fighting sensation Eduard “Landslide” Folayang in a five-round title tilt.
There are also four homegrown Singaporean talents on showcase all throughout the evening as fans flock to the arena in support of their local heroes. Overall, the card promises compelling bouts and action-packed affairs as the best fighters in the world take to the ONE Championship cage to show off their skills.
As always, we delve deeper into some of the matchups and take a look at what’s at stake for fighters the fighters of ONE: DEFENDING HONOR.
Shinya Aoki vs Eduard Folayang
It has been a long time coming for the Philippines’ top lightweight. Folayang has braved highs and lows through his mixed martial arts career, conscientiously exerting the effort to improve his ground game towards becoming more of a complete fighter.
He had always been an exceptional striker, but after spending months in the United States going from gym to gym learning what he could from some of the world’s best wrestlers, Folayang came back with a newfound confidence on the mats.
He will figure in his first shot at the ONE Lightweight World Championship this Friday, but it will come against the greatest Asian lightweight in history — Shinya Aoki.
A lot is at stake here for both fighters. Aoki, who has been stopped before by capable strikers, risks breaking his nine-fight winning streak and relinquishing his title. He is still considered one of MMA’s best grapplers, and will utilize his Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo skills to test Folayang’s mettle.
Folayang, on the other hand, has been waiting for this opportunity. For all intents and purposes, Folayang appears supremely confident of victory and will not hold anything back against Aoki.
It should be an entertaining contest, one that fight fans will enjoy assuredly, regardless of who wins.
Marat Gafurov vs Narantungalag Jadambaa
Their first fight was just absolutely incredible, and filled with drama the first time they met back in 2015. Marat Gafurov and Narantungalag Jadambaa, arguably the top two featherweights in Asia at the moment, went to war in a highly-memorable epic bout.
Gafurov, with his robust grappling skill set, did just enough to outlast Jadambaa, who had made his strength felt with thunderous strikes and nearly finishing Gafurov earlier in the bout. However, the Russian dug deep, and secured the fight-ending choke in the fourth round.
Their rematch promises much of the same action for fans, although both fighters insist things will be different this time around. One thing is for certain— it is almost guaranteed this fight will be the most entertaining contest of the night. Styles make fights, and these two champions have it in world-beating abundance.
At stake is obviously the ONE Featherweight World Championship, which Gafurov now holds. He took it from Jadambaa last year, and now the Mongolian wants it back.
If Jadambaa is able to regain his title, expect a third and final bout to settle the score. If Gafurov successfully defends the belt, however, it should legitimize him even more as a bonafide MMA superstar.
Roger Huerta vs Adrian Pang
The last time we saw him, fans thought that “El Matador” Roger Huerta was pretty much done But he is back, and against top lightweight Adrian Pang, no less.
Pang is of course one of the strongest fighters at lightweight, with a rock-solid chin and overwhelming strength. The way he manhandles opponents and walks through shots is just unexplainable. Against Huerta, Pang will be facing a dynamic striker capable of swift offense from various angles.
Eduard Folayang was able to keep Pang at bay with a plethora of strikes from the outside, a strategy which Huerta will most likely attempt to replicate. Huerta will have to keep fresh for three rounds and stay away from Pang though, who would want to close the gap.
This is an opportunity for Huerta to erase the memory of his last bout, when he was badly beaten by Ariel Sexton. Both Pang and Huerta are coming off losses, so a victory would definitely right their course. Unfortunately, only one man can exit the cage with a win.
Fans can expect an awesome matchup that should be filled with thrilling action.
Rest of the card
Among the other fights to watch out for at ONE: DEFENDING HONOR is the lightweight contest between Russian fighter Timofey Nastyukhin and Japanese veteran Kotetsu Boku.
Both fighters are certified knockout artists. Nastyukhin owns the edge in power obviously, known for his very fast and furious finishes inside the ONE Championship cage, but Boku is one of the best boxers in the game and owns a style that is difficult to pin down.
Also Singaporean female mixed martial artist Tiffany Teo is making her promotional debut. A lot attention has been placed on her first bout with ONE Championship, as Singapore is currently without an active female MMA fighter.
Young Singaporean lions Amir Khan, Benedict Ang, and Niko Soe will also be coming up against tough opponents. All in all, ONE: DEFENDING HONOR has a list of exciting bouts that fans will definitely appreciate.