Regian Eersel (L) (ONE Championship)

ONE Championship: Winter Warriors Preview and Predictions

On Friday, Dec. 3, ONE Championship marches down the home stretch of 2021 when ONE Championship: Winter Warriors pits Regian Eersel against Islam Murtazaev, as Ersel’s lightweight kickboxing world title is on the line in the main event. Eersel sports an impressive 55-4 kickboxing record with 26 wins by knockout, whereas his opponent, Murtazaev stands at 20-4. It has been over five years since Eersel has tasted defeat, winning his last 17 bouts including consecutive victories over Nieky Holzken and a knockout win over fellow ONE standout “Smokin'” Jo Nattawut.

The co-main event will see the conclusion of the atomweight world grand prix tournament with Stamp Fairtex taking on Ritu Phogat. Each woman cleared out her side of the bracket en route to this showdown. While both women have well-rounded mixed martial arts skill sets, at their core, they are very different. Stamp comes from the kickboxing world, and Phogat has a much stronger wrestling pedigree.

The event also showcases a lightweight MMA contest between Timofey Nastyukhin and Dagi Arslanaliev. The pair previously fought over three years ago, with Arslanaliev emerging victorious. Nastyukhin is looking to exact revenge. Additionally, Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida will make his sophomore MMA appearance after compiling one of the greatest jiu-jitsu resumes in modern history. His opponent will be undefeated Korean prospect Kang Ji Won.


ONE Championship: Winter Warriors will air live on YouTube starting at 7:30 a.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 3.

Regian Eersel looks to defend his lightweight kickboxing world title against Islam Murtazaev in the main event; does he succeed or will the belt change hands?

With all due respect to Islam Murtazaev, this will be a showcase fight for Regian Eersel. The Surinamese champion is in the middle of becoming a kickboxing legend right in front of our eyes. He already has more notable wins than most elite fighters rack up in an entire career. Of course, he has the aforementioned victories over Holzken and Nattawut, but his resume also includes victories over Mustapha Haida and Anthony Njokuani, not to mention a win over UFC standout Brad Riddell in a kickboxing bout.

In his last three fights, Eersel has gone the distance to pick up his victories, but that trend stops this week. He will stop Murtazaev early with an overwhelming barrage of strikes, capped off with a knee to the body that ultimately ends the contest. That will give Eersel his 27th career knockout victory and his third straight lightweight kickboxing world title defense, all before he turns 29 years old later this month.

The atomweight World Grand Prix concludes with the final between Stamp Fairtex and Ritu Phogat; which woman comes away with a win and a shot at Angela Lee’s title?

This should be a closely contested fight between two very talented women who are both still young in their MMA careers. They both have only one blemish on their record, Stamp being submitted by Alyona Rassohyna in the pair’s first encounter, and Phogat dropping a split decision to Bi Nguyen in May of this year. Stamp would go on to avenge the loss to Rassohyna in the opening round of the grand prix, and Phogat has fought three times in the six months since that loss, winning all three of her fights by unanimous decision. As in any tournament final, both competitors are riding winning streaks that buoy their chances of success as they ride a wave of momentum into the bout.

Stamp’s kickboxing skills will be the difference maker in this showdown. She will be able to stifle any offensive wrestling attempts of Ritu Phogat. Stamp will keep Phogat at bay with push kicks and jabs, effectively nullifying the output of her opponent. This one will go to the judges’ scorecards where Stamp gets her hand raised and continues down the path towards a title showdown with Angela Lee.

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

Timofey Nastyukhin vs. Dagi Arslanaliev. This is a rematch from a 2018 fight, which Arslanaliev won by first-round knockout. These men are also both coming off losses to ONE lightweight champion Christian Lee. Arslanaliev has been out of action for over two years following that loss to Lee and will have a tough test trying to go 2-0 against Nastyukhin. Look for Nastyukhin to get his revenge in violent fashion with this one ending before the first round comes to a close.

Fight Pick
Main Card (YouTube, 7:30 a.m. ET)
LW Kickboxing Championship: Regian Eersel vs. Islam Murtazaev Eersel
AW Grand Prix Final: Stamp Faritex vs. Ritu Phogat Stamp
BW Kickboxing: Qiu Jianliang vs. Hiroki Akimoto Akimoto
LW: Timofey Nastyukhin vs. Dagi Arslanaliev Nastyukhin
HW: Kang Ji Won vs. Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida Buchecha
FlyW: Hu Yong vs. Yuya Wakamatsu Yong