The Mall of Asia Arena will be pulsating once more with authentic martial arts action on Friday, 10 November, as the world’s biggest stars ascend the stage for ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD.
An epic main event features the second title defense of local favorite and ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, who is scheduled to defend his belt against ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen.
Before our esteemed warriors step inside the ONE Championship cage, let’s take a look at what’s at stake in the biggest matchups of ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD.
#1 Eduard Folayang And Martin Nguyen
These sort of matches do not happen very often. In fact, when Eduard Folayang (18-5) steps into the cage with Martin Nguyen (9-1), it will be the first time a ONE World Champion will take on a fellow ONE World Champion. To say this bout is historic would be a massive understatement.
However, only Folayang’s ONE Lightweight World Championship will be on the line, so if featherweight titleholder Nguyen is able to come out victorious, he will achieve something no one else in the promotion’s history ever has – become a simultaneous two-division world champion.
As for the Filipino, he does not want to be on the wrong side of history. Instead, he would rather make some history of his own. If he wins, then he will tie Aoki’s record for most title defenses of the ONE Lightweight World Championship. Needless to say, a lot is at stake here, and neither competitor will want to end up on the losing end.
#2 Adriano Moraes And Danny Kingad
Some feel it may be too early for 22-year-old Danny Kingad (8-0) to have received a shot at the ONE Flyweight World Championship, currently held by the undisputed titleholder Adriano Moraes (16-2). But a look at Kingad’s ONE Championship performances will show an undefeated youngster that is more than well-prepared for the biggest match of his life.
What the Filipino has going for him is youth and loads of potential. His most decisive victories have come over dangerous opponents Muhamad Haidar and Eugene Toquero, which came via finish. In April earlier this year, Kingad proved his mettle by taking out tough Malaysian Muhammad Aiman, after nearly being submitted himself.
Moraes, however, is one of the most dominant world champions in the promotion’s history. He has defeated some of the biggest names in the division, including previously-unbeaten champion Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov, Riku “The Outsider” Shibuya, and Kingad’s Team Lakay stablemate Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio. Also, half of the Brazilian jiu-jitsu stalwart’s victories come by submission, in addition to three knockouts.
The veteran Moraes is undoubtedly the favorite, and would love nothing more than to begin his second reign as undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion with an extraordinary victory. But if Kingad can somehow score a monumental upset, it would herald the arrival of a new star, and send the Philippines into a frenzy.
#3 Kevin Belingon And Kevin Chung
Team Lakay’s Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon (16-5) is looking for a title rematch against ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes, and he has put together a strong campaign with his recent string of impressive knockout wins. Just one more can really push the Baguio City, Philippines native over the edge.
After completely dominating top prospect Muin Gafurov in 2016, Belingon followed up with two fearsome stoppages over fellow world title challengers Toni “Dynamite” Tauru and Reece “Lightning” McLaren. In fact, the latter two earned him spots on ONE’s “Top Knockouts of the Quarter” list twice in a row. Later, Belingon stated he was sending a message to Fernandes — that he was ready for a second shot at gold.
For now, one man stands in Belingon’s way, and that is South Korean-American prospect Kevin “Oldboy” Chung (5-0). Chung, a teammate of ONE Middleweight World Champion Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang, made promotional his debut at ONE: LIGHT OF A NATION last June, where he stopped Chinese combatant Zhong Qing Ya.
If Belingon can do to Chung what he did to Tauru and McLaren, it would further cement his claim for a rematch with Fernandes. But Chung may have other plans, and a victory over Belingon would put Chung right in the mix for an opportunity at the title himself.
#4 Anatpong Bunrad And Reece McLaren
It has not been easy for Filipino-Australian phenom Reece “Lightning” McLaren (9-5). After nearly snatching the ONE Bantamweight World Championship from Fernandes’ grasp, only to drop a close split decision, he then got destroyed by a furious Belingon on a mission. Now, with two straight losses, McLaren has had to reevaluate his career moving forward.
“Lightning” knew he had to make some changes in his game, despite entering the promotion in 2015 on a high note with wins over Mark Striegl and Muin Gafurov. That change turned out to be a step down in weight class.
McLaren officially makes his flyweight debut against top contender Anatpong “Mak Mak” Bunrad (5-3) of Thailand, who despite dropping two in a row himself, has shown amazing skills, and is more than capable of turning the corner at any given moment.
Incredibly, Bunrad’s last three outings have all ended in razor-thin split decisions which could have gone either way. The fact that his bouts have been extremely close, and against top caliber opponents such as Eustaquio and Gianni Subba, is telling. The Thai is a real threat, no matter what his recent record suggests.
With a wealth of experience competing against the top of the bantamweight pack, McLaren finds a good test in Bunrad, and a win could give him a future challenge at other big names in the division. On the other hand, Bunrad could make a statement of his own with a victory over the former bantamweight world title challenger.
Manila | 10 November | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | PPV: Official Livestream at oneppv.com | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onelegends17