This Friday 11 November, ONE Championship Defending Honor in Singapore set for two titles on the line. Shinya Aoki will defend his lightweight belt and Marat Gafurov defending his featherweight title. As usual, the prelims start at 7.30 and main card at 8.30 PM local time Singapore. Global broadcast in available on oneppv.com for US $9.99. The replay is also available at no additional cost at any time up to a week after the event.
Below is the fight preview and predictions
Shinya Aoki vs Eduard Folayang
Thanks God, Shinya Aoki finally got his first mma fight of 2016. He must be frustrated for the lack of opportunity and my hats go off to him for willing to compete in the ONE Macau grappling tournament. Hopefully, ONE Championship still allows him to compete in Rizin FF this December. He deserves it and needs to earn a living. One fight per year is not the way to treat someone who is a champion.
As for Eduard, I personally don’t think he deserves a crack at the championship belt, since that honor should have been awarded to Lowen Tynanes, who has been undefeated In ONE and defeated Eduard when they fought. Anyway, I hope this fight lasts longer than the first round but I got a suspicion it will not go beyond the second round. As stated before, Eduard has never finished anyone in ONE other than via a decision. He’s facing someone who is a specialist in the art of grappling, and if you can’t finish someone when an opportunity arises, you will always be vulnerable to lose at any point even if you were ahead. Eduard is well versed in Wushu and has shown tremendous improvement in his grappling, however, he is facing someone who is a grappling wizard. You can try to avoid but if you struggle to deal with it then you will eventually be taken down, and when it happens, the chances are you will be controlled and overhauled. I just hope Eduard evade Shinya’s attempted takedowns and keep the fight on the feet; do his back elbows, punches and kicks like he did against Adrian Pang during his last fight.
For Shinya, he won’t see this fight differently to any other fights. If anything, he would just go straight towards his opponent, guard his face and take Eduard down. He won’t even bother to trade punches or kicks because he’s not very good at it. Once he manages to get his opponent to the ground that’s where you need to get out and avoid damages. The longer the fight is on the ground, the better chances that he will get a submission. If this fight doesn’t stay on the feet for long period, the fight will end quickly. I see a quick submission win to Shinya, although I hope the fight goes to the second round and beyond to appease the spectators and especially the large number of Filipinos in attendance.
Marat Gafurov vs Narantungalag Jadambaa
This is the long awaited rematch that have fans buzzing. They are so evenly matched in terms of skills and strength, although each specializes on certain area of the fight game. Marat has been the featherweight champion for a long time and he is still undefeated. He was the champion in his native Russia before becoming the ONE champion. In their last encounter, it was a scintillating fight and I don’t see any difference this time round. If anything, I just think it will be a bloodied war and it will be an entertaining fight throughout the rounds. As already noted, Marat relies on his grappling skills and this has served him well; he can stand and bang too but always look to take his opponent to the ground and look for a submission. It’ll be exactly the same in this fight. I hope Jadambaa learnt from his mistakes in his previous encounter, which was that he was reluctant to follow up when he had Marat hurt or on the back foot. I would even encourage him to take Marat down when an opportunity arises, especially when it’s the last 1 or 2 minutes of the round and look to inflict damages to Marat on the ground via elbows and punches.
As in the previous matchup, they will interchange wherever the fight goes. They both have excellent skills to dictate and take the fight wherever it goes. I don’t think neither one will dictate each for long period, unless Marat can get Jadambaa to the ground early in the round. For Jadambaa, he should concentrate inflicting damages on the feet and keep the fight there. Whenever Marat moves in close for the take down, move sideways and do punches. The most important thing for Jadambaa is to follow through and not let Marat recovers when he manages to hurt him. For Marat, the pattern is the same as in all his fights. Stand on the feet and interchange a bit, move closer to his opponent and look for the takedown. So far, he has been successful at it because no-one has yet to stop or outperform him on the ground. This fight will be absorbing as it is entertaining for the spectators and if it goes beyond the third round, we’ll all be in for a cracker of a fight. My fight of the night for sure. So who’s going to win? I still favor Marat to retain the belt via a submission or decision; if anything else it will be Jadambaa.
Roger Hierta vs Adrian Pang
Roger is a mma veteran and he’s well know because he has fought at the very top. Lately he is on the winding down, losing mainly. He’s facing someone who has just come off a lost in his last fight that was against Eduard Folayang not because Eduard was a better fighter but because he didn’t take the initiative to engage first. Hopefully, Adrian would learn from those mistakes since he’s a strong counter striker who just loves to stand and bang. He’s strong, so unless you hit him or catch him flush, he’ll just brush it off and continue. I just think Adrian would want to redeem himself from his previous lost and will look to end this fight quickly and viciously with his fists.
For Roger, in all honesty, you won’t see any changes. He’ll open up some kicks, a few combinations here and there as well as some takedown attempts. Whatever he does, Adrian Pang can withstand them. If this fight goes to 3 rounds, we will be treated to an entertaining back and forth fight. However, I just think Adrian will want this over quickly in the first round and will get a TKO or KO; even if it goes to the decision, I still favor Adrian to get the win.
Timofey Nastyukhin vs Kotetsu Boku
This is an interesting matchup for all the right reasons, expect explosive and quickness. Both fighters have never been knocked out and both love to stand and bang. Because both just want the fight standing, I just think this will be an entertaining fight on the feet provided it doesn’t end so early. The reason why it could end so early because both have the power to dethrone their opponent with a single punch. As we already witnessed Timofey is very quick, so if you just come in without cover, you may get caught. The downside to his fight is that he has never gone beyond the second round or rarely into the second round. His fatigue could reduce his speedness from the second round onwards. On the other hand, Kotetsu seems to get better and better the longer the fight goes on; you may rock him but Kotetsu always seemingly able to fend off any TKO or KO. No-one has managed that against him thus far.
You are about to witness a boxing match inside an mma cage; yes there may be a few kicks thrown here and there with some grappling on the feet but really this fight is fought on the feet. Both fighters will use their boxing skills and whoever can relent and inflict the most damages will emerge the winner. I personally think Timofey is quicker and stronger, his devastating punch will end up hurting Kotetsu and he may get the TKO, KO and even perhaps a decision. But Kotetsu is the master of relent against adversity and the longer the fight goes on, he gets better. If this fight lasts into the second round and beyond, we’ll be enthralled and awe.
Amir Khan vs Vaughan Donayre
Donayre is fortunate to have been granted the opportunity to fight in some of the biggest events ONE has been to. This will be his third fight for ONE Championship but the good thing about him is that he doesn’t have an exclusive contract with ONE Championship and can compete elsewhere, mainly in the Middle-East where he is currently based. In his previous two fights in ONE, he lost them both but made a good impression and account of himself. There’s no shame in losing when your fight is close and entertaining; at least people will give you a loud applaud and appreciate your fight. We know what he’s going to bring to the fight and that is his fighting pedigree - never to back down, always look to initiate the attack first and trade whichever way the fight goes.
Amir Khan is better-rounded of the two and the one looking to take the fight to the ground. He will manage that at some point in the fight; he may even dominate if the fight goes to the ground but it really doesn’t matter where the fight goes, as these two will interchange for dominancy and trade at every given time. I see this fight as a back and forth battle for all three rounds. They both want to trade, they both want to put in a performance and they are both well matched up against each other. It’s going to be an entertaining fight. I don’t see either fighter getting the better of one another for long period, the only thing that could swing into Amir Khan’s favor is him able to get the fight to the ground and dominate there. It’ll be a fistful of a fight and my fight of the night contender. After all said and done, I favor Amir Khan to win likely via a decision.
Tiffany Teo vs Walaa Abbas Mohamed Kamaly
Tiffany is a Singaporean mma making her professional debut. For her sake, I hope her mma journey will end up lasting longer than all previous Singaporean female mma fighters, such as Kirstie Gannaway, Sherilyn Lim and Nicole Chua. All of them previously had one fight and never to get another. If this is the kind of treatment you get, then what’s the point of becoming an mma fighter. It costs you more to train than earn an income. Even a supermarket girl gets more. Anyway, I digress.
As I said before, I have nothing against Egyptian fighters or people but they are not good in combat, especially in mma. They don’t deserve to be in the ONE cage. I myself don’t get ONE Championship when they want to extend into the Chinese market, yet they hardly feature any Chinese female fighters. There are more of them than there are Egyptian female fighters. Also, without wanting to hurt anyone but no Egyptian fighter has ever won in the ONE Cage; this is simply because the quality is not there and I have to rub my eyes to wander why they belong in there. The thing Walaa has over Tiffany is size and physique plus experience but like I said before, no Egyptian fighter has ever won in the ONE Cage and that trend will continue here. In honesty, I don’t think Tiffany is any good neither but at least she can take her opponent to the ground and once there Walaa is really a fish out of water. I expect an easy win for Tiffany, although it won’t be quick and forthcoming.
Michelle Nicolini vs Mona Samir
This is the same as above with regards to Egyptain female mma fighters. No disrespect but how on earth you pitch someone who has zero ground experience against someone who is a black belt in BJJ is beyond me. It’s called a mismatch and a very easy one for Michelle to win. This fight will be over as and when Michelle wants it. It’s down to her if she wants to stay in airtime longer so people can remember her and recognize her. I would recommend her trading on the feet for a bit for over two minutes etc. This is purely to give her some exposure, since it’s her first proper mma. After, it’s really easy like a lemon squeezes; grab her opponent and sink in a submission. Once on the ground, Mona has zero no how. This shouldn’t really be a matchup in the first place, it’s no good for anyone or those competing. Thanks for the matchup NOT.