It’s a night for new champions at ONE Championship’s latest show. So, who holds the “Mark of Greatness”?
In ONE’s strawweight kickboxing division, is it Sam-A Gaiyanghadao, a former ONE Muay Thai kingpin and veteran of more than 400 fights? Or is it Junguang Wang, a decorated Chinese kickboxer?
Sam-A, a former Lumpinee Stadium champ, is now four fights into his ONE career. He knocked out Sergio Wielzen to capture Muay Thai gold with the company, but he dropped the strap to Jonathan Haggerty in his first attempted defense. The Thai fighter recovered with an October knockout of Daren Rolland. Now, he’s out to secure the strawweight kickboxing crown.
China’s Wang stands in Sam-A’s way. Wang rides a seven-fight winning streak into this contest, but only one of those victories came under the ONE banner. In late October, the Chinese fighter knocked down opponent Federico Roma three times in a single round to earn a technical knockout win.
Who holds the mark in the bantamweight kickboxing division? Is it exciting Dagestani native Alaverdi Ramazanov? Or is it Chinese southpaw Chenglong Zhang?
Ramazanov has a highlight reel that includes annihilations of Andrew Miller and Ognjen Topic, plus an epic battle with Petchmorakot Sangprapai. Zhang, meanwhile, has marched through three ONE opponents. The Chinese fighter scored an impressive finish of Tyler Hardcastle in June.
These two kickboxing title affairs top a bill that also features such notable names as Andrei Stoica, Anderson “Braddock” Silva, Lerdsila Phuket Top Team, Taiki Naito, Jihin Radzuan and Gurdarshan Mangat. It all goes down at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, Dec. 6. Fans can view the action on the ONE app at 7 a.m. ET.
Sam-A Gaiyanghadao, a former ONE Muay Thai titleholder, is on the hunt for more gold when he goes up against Junguang Wang for the inaugural strawweight kickboxing title. How difficult of a fight will this be for the Thai great?
It sure won’t be easy. Sam-A is a grizzled veteran of more than 400 fights, but he’s set to meet a man who is on a bit of a roll that includes finishes in his two most recent outings. Wang most recently scored three knockdowns in the first round of his match against Federico Roma, an Argentine kickboxer who had only three prior losses in nearly 70 fights. Wang is intent on making his biggest statement yet when he tangles with the legendary Sam-A.
Of course, this doesn’t mean Wang is bound for the victory. The 36-year-old Sam-A has been competing since the age of nine and has recorded more than 350 victories in his lengthy run. The Evolve MMA stable member has knockouts in his last four victories, with a decision loss sandwiched in between those triumphs.
Sam-A has an excellent arsenal of kicks, but he tends to wear out opponents with volume rather than sheer power. Wang, on the other hand, has more explosiveness and one-shot knockout ability. Sam-A has been knocked out on several occasions, so one perfectly landed blow could spell lights out for the legend.
This battle promises to bring the fireworks. We can’t count Sam-A out, but a statement win for Wang might just be in the cards this weekend.
ONE will also crown its first bantamweight kickboxing champion when Alaverdi Ramazanov meets Chenglong Zhang. Who leaves with the strap?
These two youngsters could be among the next generation of legends in the sport. Ramazanov has already registered some very violent finishes inside the ONE cage, but Zhang isn’t too shabby either. The Chinese southpaw has 13 knockouts among his 50 career wins.
Ramazanov has certainly impressed in his career. His near-decapitation of Andrew Miller on an uppercut was a vicious end, and he also slaughtered Ognjen Topic. These are just two examples of what makes the “Babyface Killer” so lethal. He’s willing to sit back and let opponents come to him, but he also isn’t afraid to stalk his prey. He’ll feint kicks to set up combinations. He’s also very skilled at keeping his opponents at bay with push kicks. In addition, the Venum product showed impressive composure in an all-out war against Petchmorakot Sangprapai. Even after he was bloodied by an elbow, the Dagestani fighter held on and took the fight to Petchmorakot en route to a decision nod.
Zhang is a solid fighter with plenty of power. He’s willing to stand in the pocket and land punches, but he’s most effective when surging forward to land a single power punch or a flying knee. Much of his attack should be neutralized by Ramazanov’s counters and the push kick. We really saw Ramazanov tested against Petchmorakot, and Zhang should continue to press the up-and-comer to his limits.
This is an excellent co-headliner that should serve as a fitting appetizer to the main event. Ramazanov’s well-roundedness should be too much for his Chinese counterpart, though. The Venum fighter should walk away with a hard-fought win.
Any other kickboxing fights that deserve particular attention from the fans?
This is another strong kickboxing effort for ONE. In addition to the top-billed fights, fans will get to witness a compelling clash between Andrei Stoica and Anderson “Braddock” Silva, plus what should be a showcase Muay Thai affair for Lerdsila Phuket Top Team, who takes on Elias Mahmoudi. Further down the lineup, there’s also an excellent pairing of prospects featuring Taiki Naito against Rui Botelho.
Silva and Stoica are warriors. Neither fighter has been tearing it up lately, but Silva’s name always seems to pop up in world-class competition. “Braddock” was a GLORY regular for five years, and he’s now two fights into his stay with ONE. Stoica, who hails from Romania, hasn’t seen quite as much of the spotlight, but he is also two fights into his ONE tenure. Silva’s size and experience against some of the bigger names in the sport should give him an edge over Stoica.
Lerdsila definitely can’t overlook the 21-year-old Mahmoudi. The French-Algerian Muay Thai stylist is coming off a loss to Petchdam Petchyindee Academy, though, and he could end up struggling against another very accomplished fighter in the 38-year-old Lerdsila.
Naito, 23, has put together quite a strong campaign in the last five years, and the Japanese star has a winnable fight against the 25-year-old Botelho. The Portuguese fighter dropped a decision to Superlek in May and could be destined for a similar fate this weekend.
What about the MMA offerings?
Well, MMA is certainly playing second fiddle once again for ONE. While there are eight MMA contests compared to only five kickboxing or Muay Thai affairs, the spotlight is firmly on the latter. Meanwhile, MMA fans will have to be satisfied with a set of bouts that serve mostly as prospect evaluation.
Dante Schiro’s late addition to the lineup doesn’t hurt. The Legacy Fighting Alliance veteran makes his ONE debut with an undefeated mark through six fights. He has a real chance to prove himself against Agilan Thani, who holds a respectable 9-4 record but has suffered losses in three of his last four fights. This could be a real feather in Schiro’s cap.
On the women’s side, fans will get a look at atomweight up-and-comers Jihin Radzuan and Denice Zamboanga, plus undefeated flyweights Sovannahry Em and Rayane Bastos. Radzuan already holds wins over Jomary Torres and Jenny Huang, and Zamboanga could serve as her next victim. Em has three first-round stoppages, but she has to contend with an opponent who once submitted Samara Santos.
In addition, Gurdarshan Mangat is set for flyweight action against Reece McLaren. Mangat is a head-turning 15-2, and he holds victories over Toni Tauru and Abro Fernandes while competing under the ONE banner. McLaren’s had a tough time lately and could provide Mangat with another solid name on his resume.
Beyond these match-ups, keep an eye on the performances of current undefeateds Bokang Masunyane and Yoon Chang Min.
Kickboxing (StrawW Championship): Sam-A Gaiyanghadao vs. Junguang Wang
Kickboxing (BW Championship): Alaverdi Ramazanov vs. Chenglong Zhang
MMA (Women’s AtomW): Jihin Radzuan vs. Denice Zamboanga
MMA (WW): Agilan Thani vs. Dante Schiro
MMA (FlyW): Gurdarshan Mangat vs. Reece McLaren
Kickboxing (WW): Andrei Stoica vs. Anderson “Braddock” Silva
MMA (StrawW): Ryuto Sawada vs. Bokang Masunyane
Muay Thai (FlyW): Lerdsila Phuket Top Team vs. Elias Mahmoudi
MMA (BW): Muhammad Aiman vs. Rui Chen
MMA (BW): Tial Thang vs. Woon Kyoum Kim
MMA (72-kilogram Catchweight): Rodian Menchavez vs. Chang Min Yoon
Muay Thai (FlyW): Rui Botelho vs. Taiki Naito
MMA (FlyW): Sovannahry Em vs. Rayane Bastos
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