Roman Kryklia (ONE Championship)

ONE Championship: Collision Course Preview and Predictions

The big man is back.

After more than a year since his dismantling of Tarik Khababez to win the inaugural ONE kickboxing light-heavyweight crown, Roman Kryklia is set for the first defense of his belt. It’s been a long time in the works, too. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic led to the scrapping of Kryklia’s first scheduled fight against Andrei Stoica in April. Then, his September scrap with Murat Aygün suffered a similar fate when one of Kryklia’s cornermen tested positive for the virus. Now, it’s back to Stoica as the scheduled opponent for Kryklia. The two will meet in the headliner of ONE Championship: Collision Course

Kryklia’s belt isn’t the only piece of gold on the line at the event. In the evening’s co-headliner, Nong-O Gaiyanghadao puts his Muay Thai bantamweight strap on the line against Rodlek P.K.Saenchaimuaythaigym.


Advertisement

The night’s action also includes a strong slate of MMA contests. The highlight of this portion of the card is sure to be the showdown between lightweight combatants Marat Gafurov and Lowen Tynanes. Gafurov was once riding high as the organization’s champion, but he has failed to put together back-to-back victories since 2017. Meanwhile, Tynanes remains perfect through 10 professional bouts.

ONE Championship: Collision Course consists of six bouts, which will take place at ONE’s regular pandemic-era home of the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore. The action commences at 7:30 a.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 18. The event streams on the ONE app and ONE’s YouTube channel. American fight fans can find the broadcast on the B/R Live streaming platform.

Roman Kryklia clashes with Andrei Stoica for the light-heavyweight kickboxing title in the evening’s main event. How will the champ fare in his first appearance in more than a year?

The Ukrainian has been quite dominant over the last five-plus years, and there’s no reason to believe that will change on Friday.

Kryklia has only suffered four losses since the beginning of 2015 and a mere two since the start of 2016. In each of these cases, he was decisioned by his opponent. However, he has also avenged each of those blemishes — three by decision and one via TKO. Jahfarr Wilnis was able to edge Kryklia after an extension round in a Kunlun Fight contest, but the Ukrainian returned the favor less than a year later. Tarik Khbabez was the next man to get the better of Kryklia, but the reigning ONE champ defended his belt successfully against Khbabez four years later. Tomáš Hron and Iraj Azizpour have topped Kryklia more recently, but the Ukrainian got his revenge just over a year later on Hron and topped Azizpour in a 2019 Kunlun Fight heavyweight tournament final.

Stoica has put up solid numbers of his own. He has 29 knockout wins and brings a three-fight winning streak into this affair. However, he’s also suffered losses over the last four years to three fighters that Kryklia topped. He dropped a decision to Hron in 2016, suffered a decision loss against Nordine Mahieddine in 2018, and most recently came up short on the scorecards against Khbabez.

Kryklia is at the top of his game right now, and there’s little chance he suffers an upset at the hands of a fighter who doesn’t even reside inside the top 10.

Muay Thai gold is also on the line during the event when bantamweight kingpin Nong-O Gaiyanghadao attempts to defend his strap against Rodlek P.K.Saenchaimuaythaigym. Will Nong-O find as much success in this fight as he did in his last appearance opposite Saemapetch Fairtex, whom he finished in the fourth round?

Success, sure. A finish? Perhaps not.

Nong-O’s fourth-round stoppage of Saemapetch is an anomaly on a ONE resume that otherwise consists entirely of decision victories. The champ won his title in his third promotional appearance with a victory over Han Zihao and has since gone on to successfully defend it on three occasions.

Rodlek’s 4-1 mark under the ONE banner makes him a worthy challenger, but this is also a fighter who suffered through a two-year stretch between 2016 and 2018 in which he went an abysmal 2-11. He was never finished, but he dropped plenty of fights on the scorecards. His one loss with his current employer actually came to Saemapetch via majority decision.

Nong-O is likely to make a more clear-cut statement against Rodlek than Saemapetch did, but it’ll still come on the scorecards.


Advertisement

This lineup features several intriguing MMA contests, with such notable names as Marat Gafurov, Lowen Tynanes and Troy Worthen in action. Which of these fighters will turn in the most impressive performance on Friday?

These three fighters are all interesting prospects on the rise.

Worthen has a chance to make a statement against Yusup Saadulaev, but this is a huge step up in competition. While Worthen would turn heads with a victory, Saadulaev’s experience and skill level will make this a tall task for the undefeated upstart.

This brings us to Gafurov and Tynanes, who are set to meet in what should be an excellent fight. Tynanes is still undefeated in a campaign that includes four ONE bouts. After a successful debut in 2011, he managed a doctor’s stoppage in his sophomore outing against Eduard Folayang. He’s gone on to add several other notable names to his resume, including Koji Ando and Honorio Banario. He has a real chance to prove himself here against Gafurov, a former ONE champion whose list of victims includes Yuri Ivlev, Lee Morrison, Robert Lisita, Ev Ting, Martin Nguyen, Kazunori Yokota and many more. The Russian has lost three of his last five and could be vulnerable to another setback against Tynanes. This will be a statement win for the American.

FIGHT PICKS
Fight Pick
Main Card
Kickboxing (LHW Championship): Roman Kryklia vs. Andrei Stoica Kryklia
Muay Thai (BW Championship): Nong-O Gaiyanghadao vs. Rodlek P.K.Saenchaimuaythaigym Nong-O
MMA (LW): Marat Gafurov vs. Lowen Tynanes Tynanes
MMA (BW): Yusup Saadulaev vs. Troy Worthen Saadulaev
MMA (FlyW): Tatsumitsu Wada vs. Yodkaikaew Fairtex Wada
MMA (FlyW): Chan Rothana vs. Xie Wei Rothana