On Friday, Jul. 14, ONE Championship will hold the twelfth event showcased on Amazon Prime Video. ONE Fight Night 12 was initially expected to be headlined by Roman Kryklia defending his heavyweight kickboxing world title. Unfortunately, Kryklia’s opponent, Francesko Xhaja, pulled out with an injury.
Due to the heavyweight kickboxing fight being canceled, there was a need for a new main event. Luckily, Superlek Kiatmoo9 agreed to save the day after just fighting on Jun. 23, when he knocked out Nabil Anane with a first-round knockout.
Superlek has been matched up against Tagir Khalilov, who is coming off back-to-back first-round knockouts. Khalilov looks to continue building momentum by taking out the ONE flyweight kickboxing world champion in a Muay Thai bout at ONE Fight Night 12.
In the co-main event, Garry Tonon and Shamil Gasanov look to secure a featherweight MMA title shot. Tonon is coming off an impressive first-round submission against Johnny Nunez on Jan. 13. Meanwhile, Gasanov made a statement with a first-round submission in his promotional debut against Kim Jae Woong in Oct. 2022.
ONE Fight Night 12 also features several other intriguing matchups, including Amir Aliakbari vs. Dustin Joynson in the heavyweight MMA division and Aaron Canarte vs. Akbar Abdullaev in the featherweight MMA division.
The event airs live on Amazon Prime Video starting at 8 p.m. ET. Let’s take a look at the preview and predictions.
The main event pits flyweight Muay Thai standouts against each other; who comes away with a win in the showdown between Superlek and Tagir Khalilov?
The main event offers a massive opportunity for Tagir Khalilov. The Russian fighter started his ONE Championship tenure with a decision loss before knocking out Chorfah Tor Sangetiennoi and Black Panther in the first round. He now has a chance to potentially secure a flyweight Muay Thai title shot by taking out Superlek.
It’ll be easier said than done for Khalilov, as Superlek holds a promotional Muay Thai record of 7-0. The Thai superstar continues to dominate his opponents with his kicks and speeds, making him a bad stylistic opponent for nearly anyone.
Khalilov needs to come out firing early and often, especially with forward pressure to prevent Superlek from using his kicks. As the fight goes on, “The Kicking Machine” will likely break down the Russian and secure a finish.
The problem with Khalilov’s need for a knockout is that Superlek also maintains reliable counter-striking abilities, which should lead to a finish inside the first two rounds for the ONE kickboxing world champion.
Garry Tonon bounced back from his first career loss by submitting Johnny Nunez; can “The Lion Killer” make it two in a row in the win column?
Garry Tonon’s first professional MMA loss against Thanh Le was a significant setback. The Lion Killer bounced back in January by utilizing his grappling skills to secure an early win against Johnny Nunez. The true test of Tonon’s world championship potential will come on Jul. 14.
Tonon must prove he has what it takes to become the ONE featherweight MMA king. In order to do so, the 31-year-old American needs to take out Shamil Gasanov, who holds a professional MMA record of 13-0. Gasanov quickly put the division on notice in his ONE debut by destroying the always-dangerous Kim Jae Woong with a first-round submission.
It’s no secret that Tonon’s success tends to come from the grappling department. Although his striking skills have evolved, The Lion Killer will likely be at a disadvantage against Gasanov. It also doesn’t help that Gasanov’s grappling skills will likely negate Tonon’s.
As a result, “The Cobra” should be able to secure a unanimous decision win after three hard-fought rounds.
Dustin Joynson has just one loss in his professional career; can he notch the biggest win of his career by defeating Amir Aliakbari?
Amir Aliakbari was somewhat written off as a potential future title contender after losing his first two fights with ONE by first-round knockout. Luckily, he’s silenced the doubters with back-to-back wins inside the distance, including his latest against former heavyweight world champion Brandon Vera.
Aliakbari looks to continue building momentum by taking out Dustin Joynson. The Canadian lost his promotional debut against Kirill Grishenko before bouncing back with a split decision win in February 2022. The 37-year-old has the potential to end Aliakbari’s run, but he needs to avoid extended grappling exchanges.
Aliakbari is a former Greco-Roman wrestling world champion. Therefore, the Iranian fighter tends to lean on his grappling pedigree, which has led to success in his last two fights. Although Joynson shouldn’t be overlooked, Aliakbari should be able to take him down and secure a TKO in the second round.
Which fight is the sleeper matchup on this card?
The sleeper matchup is a featherweight MMA bout between Aaron Canarte and Akbar Abdullaev. Canarte vs. Abdullaev features two undefeated prospects looking to separate themselves as a fighter to watch.
Canarte will make his ONE debut on Friday night with a professional MMA record of 10-0, including six wins inside the distance. Meanwhile, Abdullaev holds a 9-0 record, all wins inside the distance, including a first-round knockout in his promotional debut against Oh Ho Taek.
The combination of finishing ability and potential makes Canarte vs. Abdullaev a fight to keep an eye on at ONE Fight Night 12 on Prime Video.
Main Card (Amazon Prime Video, 8 p.m. ET)
FlyW Muay Thai: Superlek Kiatmoo9 vs. Tagir Khalilov
FW: Garry Tonon vs. Shamil Gasanov
HW: Amir Aliakbari vs. Dustin Joynson
FlyW: Xie Wei vs. Yuya Wakamatsu
FW: Aaron Canarte vs. Akbar Abdullaev
AtomW Muay Thai: Lara Fernandez vs. Phetjeeja
FlyW: Walter Goncalves vs. Banma Duoji
StrawW Submission Grappling: Tammi Musumeci vs. Amanda Alequin
LW Kickboxing: Constantin Rusu vs. Bogdan Shumarov
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