Lurking inside a ONE Championship fight card, which is stacked top-to-bottom with grand prix and championship Muay Thai bouts, a heavyweight kickboxing banger is set to take place. ONE 157: Petchmorakot vs. Vienot currently has seven Muay Thai fights, a couple MMA bouts and back-to-back grappling matches for the promotional debut of the Ruotolo brothers, and, smack dab in the middle of the card, Rade Opačić and Guto Inocente are going to-to-toe in a Dutch-style kickboxing battle that is likely not to go the distance.
Opačić, who currently sits at 16-5 as a pro kickboxer, is on a four-fight winning streak since making his ONE debut in Dec. 2020. He finished all four of those opponents by knockout or TKO, and he last stopped Francesko Xhaja in January. The Serbian has crushing power, which is evident in his 13 knockout victories. At only 24 years old, he will be facing his most experienced opponent yet in Inocente.
The Brazilian veteran might only be 11 years the elder of Opačić, but he has been fighting professionally for 17 years. Inocente made his pro MMA debut in Mar. 2005 and currently sits at 10-6 with only one knockout loss. As a kickboxer, he made his pro debut in Nov. 2007., and, even after taking a two-and-a-half-year kickboxing hiatus from late 2019 to early 2022, he is 39-10 with 18 knockouts. At his ONE debut in February, he stopped Bruno Susano in Round 2, setting up the clash with the youngster.
The sole kickboxing bout at ONE 157 is going to be a huge test for both fighters. Opačić is more than an up-and-comer at this point, and he is looking to make a run toward the inaugural ONE heavyweight kickboxing title. The current front runner, and light heavyweight champ, Roman Kryklia, is sitting in the pole position for that title shot. The Serbian looks to position himself as the top contender. However, Inocente is not about to lay down on the front end of a huge opportunity with ONE.
Inocente has previously held the WGP light heavyweight and super heavyweight crowns, and, minus a few unanimous-decision setbacks in GLORY, he has remained largely successful in defending those belts. As a mixed martial artist, he has held multiple titles in his native Brazil, the most recent coming last July. ONE Championship is the next evolution for the long kickboxing career of the GLORY veteran, and a ONE kickboxing title would be a huge accolade for the equally hard-hitting brawler.
Regardless of the outcome, this heavyweight kickboxing match-up has all the makings of a “Fight of the Night” candidate.
ONE 157 will takes place Friday, May 20, live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium and will be available for streaming online.
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