ONE: ‘Quest for Greatness’ is set for Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur on Friday (Aug. 18, 2017) and is headlined by one of the promotion’s major stars as Marat Gafurov defends his featherweight belt for the third time.
The event features Malaysian stars Ev Ting and Agilan Thani while the Subba brothers have both been handed tough assignments. Former strawweight champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke is also in action on a strong card.
The first three fights are expected to be streamed live on Facebook while the rest of the card is available on pay-per-view (PPV). As always with ONE Championship, the fighters compete at their normal walking weight.
Here is my preview of the final five fights (for part one of our preview click here).
135lbs.: Riku Shibaya vs Gianni Subba
Riku Shibuya (13-3-2) earned himself an army of fans in Malaysia when he pushed Adriano Moraes all the way en route to a five round decision loss. He’s a southpaw with an unconventional striking style, who likes to shoot for takedowns and normally goes the distance.
Gianni Subba (8-2) burst onto the scene with five finishes in his first six ONE Championship fights but since then he’s been the distance four times. This looks odds on to go the full 15 minutes, but it’s difficult to pick a winner.
145lbs.: Kevin Belingon vs Reece McLaren
Reece McLaren has taken the ONE Championship bantamweight division by storm and pushed Bibiano Fernandes all the way in a five rounder. He will definitely look to take Kevin Belingon down and if he does the Australian should be able to secure a submission win.
We’ve never seen Belingon outstruck and it’s unlikely McLaren will be the man to snap that streak. So if the Filipino keeps things standing he should win but if he can’t stop the Australian taking him down then it could be a bad night for the Team Lakay veteran.
205lbs.: Agilan Thani vs Sherif Mohamed
Malaysian fans were shocked and disappointed when Agilan Thani (7-1) lost to Ben Askren. A bit more perspective is probably called for but it’s vital he bounces back with a win here.
Thani’s a grappler with a heavy top game and is very takedown orientated. Sherif Mohamed (8-3) had a very underwhelming ONE Championship debut.
170lbs.: Ev Ting vs Nobutatsu Suzuki
This is a very interesting matchup between a former lightweight challenger and a former welterweight champion. Suzuki (11-2-2) hasn’t competed in MMA since a 2014 loss to Ben Askren but he’s had matches under other rulesets during this period.
Suzuki has a Karate base and his strength is his striking. Ting’s more well rounded but has been a bit reluctant to pull the trigger in his two previous bouts. The Malaysian looked like he could have outstruck Eduard Folayang but instead played it safe, if he takes a more aggressive approach this could be a barnburner.
155lbs.: Marat Gafurov vs Martin Nguyen
Marat Gafurov (14-0) looks unstoppable. He’s won all six of his fights by way of rear naked choke and it’s difficult to see who on the current ONE Championship roster is going to be able to stop him.
Martin Nguyen (8-1) looks like the complete package. He’s got highlight reel KOs and submission victories but he only lasted 41 seconds against Gafurov last time out which doesn’t exactly bode well for the rematch.
On his ONE Championship debut Gafurov dropped Rob Lisita with a head kick and he also held his own against Narantungalag Jadambaa in the striking exchanges. However his greatest strength will always be his grappling, so Nguyen’s best (only?) chance of victory is to keep this standing and aggressively attack the Russian.
ONE: “Quest for Greatness” can be purchased for $9.99 USD from here.