Nong-O Gaiyanghadao (ONE Championship)

ONE Championship: Warriors of Light Preview and Predictions

ONE Championship will hold its ninth event of 2019 when the promotion returns to the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand, for ONE Championship: Warriors of Light.

ONE Muay Thai champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao attempts to make the first defense of his bantamweight title against Shoot Boxing lightweight champ Hiroaki Suzuki, who returns to the promotion following a first-round knockout against Mohammed Bin Mahmoud in his debut.

Following a successful kickboxing debut, Petchdam Petchyindee Academy will fight for the inaugural ONE kickboxing flyweight title against talented French-Algerian prospect Elias Mahmoudi.


In the evening’s remaining Muay Thai and kickboxing action, Rodtang Jitmuangnon looks to keep rolling toward a title shot when he squares off against skilled Cambodian prospect Sok Thy, two-time Lumpine stadium titleholder Superlek Kiatmoo9 takes on Portugal’s Rui Botelho, former Lumpinee champion Singtongnoi Por Telakum returns against flyweight Savvas Michael, and GLORY veteran Chenglong Zhang takes on Panicos Yusuf.

In the night’s notable MMA bouts, Shooto bantamweight world champion Shoko Sato makes his promotional debut against streaking Kiwi prospect Mark Abelardo and former King of Pancrase lightweight titleholder Kazuki Tokudome meets grizzled veteran Adrian Pang.

The preliminary card airs live stateside at 7:30 a.m. ET Friday morning on ONE Championship’s Facebook and Twitter pages. The main card continues live at 9:30 a.m. ET on B/R Live (United States), Hotstar (India), Star Sports Select 2 (India), MAXstream (Indonesia), ranFIGHTING (Germany) and YouTube (worldwide).

ONE’s Muay Thai bantamweight title is on the line in the evening’s headliner between Nong-O Gaiyanghadao and Hiroaki Suzuki. Who emerges with the belt?

Following the massive upset victory for Jonathan Haggerty over Sam-A Gaiyanghadao for the ONE Muay Thai flyweight title last week, it opens up the idea that experience won’t always weigh as heavily when a young, talented prospect is given the opportunity to fight a legend. Haggerty put on an excellent performance in an incredible fight. Now, the dynamic of these title bouts are slightly different.

Nong-O brings a stellar resume that features multiple Lumpinee stadium titles, a Rajadamnern title, and multiple Thailand titles. He’s a two-time Sports Authority of Thailand “Boxer of the Year.” After three years away from the sport from 2015 to 2018, Nong-O returned with victories over former Rajadamnern stadium champ Fabio Pinca, France’s Mehdi Zatout, and China’s Han Zihao. The 32-year-old has won 258 of his 313 career bouts. He utilizes effective body kicks, combinations, and excellent counter-striking ability.

Suzuki, 34, holds a record of 41-11-1-1. The always-exciting striker has scored victories over Zakaria Zouggari, Mosab Amrani and Pornsanae. The Shoot Boxing lightweight champ was successful in his promotional debut in a back-and-forth affair against Lithuania’s Deividas Danyla. “Kaibutsukun” returned this year with a late third-round stoppage victory against Mohammed Bin Mahmoud at ONE Championship: Hero’s Ascent.

The championship bout will come down to who can dictate where the fight takes place. Both of Suzuki’s ONE fights were contested in a cage. This fight will happen in a ring, where Nong-O is at his most comfortable. Suzuki won’t be able to beat Nong-O in a technical, tit-for-tat battle. The Japanese challenger will have to employ a very high volume of offensive attacks and relentless pressure to ensure he doesn’t give the judges any choice but to give him the decision victory. Suzuki will have to avoid the powerful body kicks, counter striking, and overall Muay Thai skills to have his hand raised following the five-round contest.

The co-headliner is also a title fight, this time at the flyweight level in kickboxing. Can Petchdam Petchyindee Academy dominate Elias Mahmoudi and walk away with the belt?

Petchdam made a successful kickboxing debut against RISE featherweight titleholder Masahide Kudo at ONE Championship: Call to Greatness. The 20-year-old looked dominant en route to a second-round stoppage and his third straight finish under the promotional banner. Petchdam has lost outside of the promotion, but his dominant run of knockouts against Josh Tonna, Kenny Tse and Kudo was enough to earn him a crack at the vacant flyweight belt. The talented southpaw has compiled a record of 93 wins, 15 losses and seven draws over his decade-long career.

Mahmoudi has already been training for over 15 years of his life under his family’s gym, the Mahmoudi Gym. The MTGP tournament champion has won 31 of his 36 professional bouts with victories over Rui Botelho, Tarik Totts and Ryuma Tobe. The 21-year-old phenom has won three straight, including knockout victories against Macauley Coyle and Rustam Vyntu in the past seven months. Sandwiched between his stoppage wins, Mahmoudi made an impressive ONE debut when he absolutely battered WBC Muay Thai Japan champ Yukinari Ogasawara at ONE Championship: Hero’s Ascent.

This championship contest is destined to be one of the best fights of the year. Both men are known for their ability to pressure forward with non-stop offense. Mahmoudi has showcased his creative striking attack against some of the best in the division, including Yuta Murakoshi, Haruma Saikyo and Kaito Ozawa. His relentless style and aggressive offense will push the very best out of his southpaw foe. Petchdam has dominated all of his opponents since coming to ONE. However, this bout will be substantially more difficult. The winner will certainly be battered and bruised after a potential all-out war over the course of five championship rounds.

Which fight is the sleeper match-up on this card?

Shoko Sato and Mark Abelardo.

Japan’s Sato, the Shooto bantamweight kingpin, earned a ONE contract when he avenged his non-title loss against Yo Saito to defend his title in November. The 31-year-old has won seven of his last nine bouts and avenged his only loss during that span. The 11-year veteran has come into his own with a stellar record of 13-3-1 since losing three straight more than six years ago. The Sakaguchi Dojo representative holds wins over notable veterans Nam Jin Jo, Taiki Tsuchiya, Takuya Eizumi, Kazuma Sone and Keita Ishibashi.

Abelardo returns to the promotion after making a successful debut against formerly unbeaten prospect Daichi Takenaka, who holds a win over Sato. The New Zealander earned his place in the promotion with two victories in the ONE Warrior Series following a successful career competing on the South East Asian and Oceania circuit, where he racked up 18 wins in 23 contests. “Tyson” carries a five-fight winning streak into the contest and has won 14 of his last 16 bouts.

Abelardo is a powerful striker with a diverse array of attacks passed on from the Fairtex Pattaya Gym. In his ONE debut, he was down on the scorecards until he landed an elbow that opened up a cut on the mouth of Takenaka. The strike eventually halted the contest later in the third round. Abelardo showed his ability to defend the grappling and submission attempts, but he must have a better showing to beat his next, far more experienced opponent. Sato will carry a reach and size advantage into the bout, which will help him land his powerful right and knees.

Expect an exciting striking battle that is primed to end in a spectacular finish.

Fight Picks

Fight Pick
Main Card (B/R Live, 9:30 a.m. ET)
Muay Thai (BW Championship): Nong-O Gaiyanghadao vs. Hiroaki Suzuki Nong-O by decision
Kickboxing (FlyW Championship): Petchdam Petchyindee Academy vs. Elias Mahmoudi Petchdam by decision
MMA (BW): Shoko Sato vs. Mark Fairtex Abelardo Abelardo by decision
Muay Thai (FlyW): Rodtang Jitmuangnon vs. Sok Thy Rodtang by decision
MMA (StrawW): Pongsiri Mitsatit vs. Robin Catalan Mitsatit by knockout
Kickboxing (BW): Zhang Chenglong vs. Panicos Yusuf Zhang by decision
MMA (LW): Kazuki Tokudome vs. Adrian Pang Tokudome by decision
Preliminary Card (Facebook/Twitter, 7:30 am ET)
Muay Thai (FlyW): Singtongnoi Por Telakun vs. Savvas Michael Telakun by decision
Muay Thai (FlyW): Superlek Kiatmoo9 vs. Rui Botelho Superlek by decision
MMA (LW): Kota Shimoishi vs. Pieter Buist Shimoishi by submission
Kickboxing (Women’s AtomW): Janet Todd vs. Wang Chin Long Long by decision
MMA (StrawW): Hexigetu vs. Ovais Shah Hexigetu by submission