ONE Championship will be back in action on Friday, Oct. 29, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium where they will host ONE Championship: NextGen. This will be the first of the promotion’s three NextGen events taking place between now and the end of November. This weekend’s event features the semifinals of the atomweight grand prix.
The main event was supposed to be showcasing a heavyweight kickboxing title match between champion Roman Kryklya and Murat Aygun. However, Aygun withdrew and was replaced by Iraj Azizpour. It was later that Kryklya withdrew as well, and the atomweight grand prix semifinal match-up between Stamp Fairtex and Julie Mezabarba was bumped to the top of the card.
The co-main event is now scheduled to be the other atomweight grand prix semifinal, which was originally set to have Ritu Phogat facing Itsuki Hirata, but Hirata withdrew and Phogat will now be facing Jenelyn Olsim. The main and co-main event fights will determine the finalists for the atomweight grand prix finals. The winner of that bout will ultimately go on to face Angela Lee for the ONE atomweight championship.
The remainder of the card has two additional MMA fights, including a heavyweight clash between Kirill Grishenko and Dustin Joynson. There will also be two kickboxing bouts, the second of which has the aforementioned Azizpour taking on late addition Anderson Silva.
ONE Championship: NextGen airs in its entirety live on YouTube starting at 8:30 a.m. ET. Now, let’s take a look at some previews and predictions.
The women’s atomweight division will be showcased with the semifinals of the World Grand Prix; which woman shines the brightest on her way to the finals?
We are down to the final four. This atomweight grand prix brought a lot of excitement already through one round of action. Even with Seo Hee Ham’s removal from the tournament after her injury, both match-ups in semifinals look extremely intriguing.
But for me, there were two names left: Stamp Fairtex and Itsuki Hirata. And there are two things that both of these women have that make them stand out over others; extreme well-roundedness. After a tough loss to Alyona Rassohyna, Stamp bounced right back in the rematch, avenging her loss and taking out one of her biggest competitions in the tournament simultaneously. She seemingly improves with every fight, and at just 23-years of age, she is only heading up.
On the other side of the bracket, what was supposed to be an epic showdown between Hirata and Ritu Phogat has been cancelled, because Hirata withdrew. In the meantime, Phogat will have to deal with a different fiery rising star in tournament replacement Jenelyn Olsim. Olsim, in her last fight defeated the only fighter to ever beat Phogat, Bi Nguyen. If there was a right choice for this opportunity, it would be Olsim. She had a fight scheduled for September against Grace Cleveland, which ended up getting scratched due to a Cleveland injury, so she has been itching for a fight.
But the clash of styles is not the best for Olsim. Phogat is a grindy grappler. And in all of her wins, that characteristic has backed her to the end, resulting in the success that she has had so far. Olsim’s only moments of weakness in her last fight came in the third round, when she was on her back. She looked winded, and even hurt at times, while Nguyen reigned down heavy shots non-stop. We also can’t forget that this is a relatively quick turnaround for Olsim. She fought Nguyen just 2 months ago, and considering how hard that fight was, it makes one wonder if she will be 100-percent going into this fight. Should the fight make it past two rounds, especially with a lot of grappling exchanges, there is a good chance Phogat will dominate the third round and take the win.”
Two undefeated heavyweights will clash when Kirill Grishenko meets Dustin Joynson; who leaves the event with his perfect record intact?
This is the sleeper fight of the night. With so much attention on the atomweight grand prix, I feel as if this fight is flying under the radar perhaps more than it should.
Grishenko may be relatively new as a professional, but he certainly doesn’t fight like he is, and it showed in his last fight. Grishenko fought very composed, and you could see his confidence grow as he pushed the pace. What impresses me the most is that, despite being a wrestler, his striking does not seem rudimentary whatsoever. He is off to a 4-0 start early in his career, with all of his wins coming by finish. With a highly explosive and exciting style, Grishenko is a force to be reckoned with already.
Dustin Joynson is a completely different case. Also relatively new in his pro career, Joynson brings a style contrasting Grishenko’s, and a style rarely found in the heavyweight division. He is a grinding clincher and wrestler. It is exhausting for the opponents, and, so far, Joynson has not run into someone who’s been able to deal with it. However, Grishenko just might be the first.
Physically, these two behemoths match each other perfectly. However, stylistically, the fight presents a tough challenge for Joynson, and the question in the fight likely comes down to, ‘Can Joynson find another way to win once the grappling is out of the question?’ Personally, I don’t think so.
Main Card ()
AW Grand Prix Semifinal: Stamp Fairtex vs. Julie Mezabarba
AW Grand Prix Semifinal: Ritu Phogat vs. Jenelyn Olsim
HW Kickboxing: Anderson Silva vs. Iraj Azizpour
HW: Kirill Grishenko vs. Dustin Joynson
SW: Miao Li Tao vs. Jeremy Miado
LHW Kickboxing: Beybulat Isaev vs. Bogdon Stoica
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