Friday nights in Manila are hectic, as people across the metro scramble to hit up the city’s best spots.
That spot would be the Mall Of Asia Arena on 10 November, as ONE Championship puts on its latest blockbuster, ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD. The event is slated to be the biggest martial arts show in the Philippines’ history.
Here are five major reasons why you absolutely need to watch ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD, either live, on ONE Championship’s global broadcast to 1 billion potential viewers across 128 countries, or on the official livestream.
#1 ONE’s First-Ever World Champion Super-Bout
The main event of ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD will be record-setting, because it is quite simply the first of its kind.
Reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang (18-5) is set to defend his title against ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen (9-1), and it is a barnburner fans are certainly looking forward to seeing.
Folayang, who won the lightweight world title with a scintillating knockout of Japanese legend Shinya Aoki in November 2016, made his first title defense against Ev Ting last April, and bested him via unanimous decision. The Filipino is a winner of four in a row, and appears to be unstoppable.
Nguyen (9-1), on the other hand, just recently snatched the featherweight world title from previously unbeaten champion Marat “Cobra” Gafurov last August. The Vietnamese-Australian is riding a five-bout win streak, and has stopped all nine of his opponents in his five-year career.
Only Folayang’s ONE Lightweight World Championship is on the line, however, so a victory for the Filipino means he retains the strap while tying Aoki for the most title defenses in the belt’s history.
A victory for Nguyen, on the other hand, translates into ONE’s first two-division world champion, but he will have to bring his A-game, because he is entering Folayang’s home turf, and “Landslide” is more driven than ever.
#2 Adriano Moraes Begins His Second Flyweight Reign
It took a lot of courage and determination to get back to this point, but the reigning and defending ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes (16-2) is back, and a much more complete martial artist than ever before.
Moraes initially dropped the strap to Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov in November of 2015, falling by closely-contested split decision. Moraes says the day he lost his title was one of the worst memories of his career. But just like the true world champion that he is, he dusted himself off, and worked his way back up to the top.
In his next two contests, The Brazilian defeated Eugene Toquero and Tilek Batyrov with a pair of chokes, showcasing his always-dangerous black belt Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The successive victories earned him the interim flyweight title, and the unification bout with Akhmetov became inevitable. Last August, Moraes outclassed Akhmetov over five full rounds to reclaim the throne, and the title of flyweight’s best.
Undisputed once again, “Mikinho” begins his second reign against a promising up-and-comer in Danny Kingad (8-0). Will it be a showcase of Moraes’ awesome skills once more? Or will Kingad end Moraes’ party early?
#3 Danny Kingad’s Ultimate Test
Undefeated 22-year-old Kingad says he is ready to face the biggest challenges at flyweight, so why not face the best of them all?
The Filipino standout owns an undefeated 8-0 record and is riding high on a three-bout winning streak inside the ONE cage. However, being younger and more inexperienced compared to his esteemed opponent, Kingad will step into the cage as an underdog.
His best victories have come over compatriot Eugene Toquero and top Malaysian prospect Muhammad Aiman, which featured a complete showcase of skills from the Filipino superstar, but Moraes is a sharp step up in competition.
If Kingad can pass this ultimate test, he will come away with ONE gold draped over his shoulder, instantly becoming the man to beat at flyweight. In front of his hometown crowd, Kingad can set the Mall of Asia Arena ablaze with another fiery performance, and become the youngest-ever male world champion in ONE history.
#4 Team Philippines’ March For Glory
The last time ONE came to Manila was back in April, and ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY ended up being the highest-rated live sporting event in the country’s history. ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD promises to surpass even that, but to do so, it would have to rely on its strong Philippine contingent.
Luckily, the nation has some of the most talented martial artists in the world. Set to grace the cage are Team Lakay’s Folayang, Kingad, Kevin Belingon, Joshua Pacio, and Gina Iniong, as well as Filipino-Australian flyweight Reece McLaren and former strawweight world title challenger Roy Doliguez.
Belingon, who is riding an impressive three-bout win streak including two knockouts in his last two outings, will take on South Korean-American talent Kevin Chung. Iniong makes her second appearance inside the ONE Championship cage against Indonesian Sanda Champion Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol. McLaren makes his flyweight debut against the highly-skilled Anatpong Bunrad, while Pacio takes on the veteran Doliguez.
With the exception of the Pacio-Doliguez rare all-Filipino matchup, it is safe to say that Team Philippines is aiming to make the country proud, and looking for a clean sweep.
#5 The Card Is Filled With Spectacular Finishers
ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD is rife with organization’s best finishers, both in knockouts and in submissions.
For instance, Nguyen owns a 100 per cent finishing rate, while more than half of Moraes’ wins have come within the distance. Perhaps the most incredible finisher of all, Belingon, owns the second-most KOs in ONE history. Also, BJJ black belt Alex Silva and Japanese wrestler Hayato Suzuki are ready to treat fans to a high-level grappling showdown.
If you are into highlight-reel stoppages and incredibly technical submissions, then you have come to the right place. ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD has a little bit of everything for everyone. The event promises to be action-packed from top to bottom, so do not blink, or you just might miss it.
Manila | 10 November | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | PPV: Official Livestream at oneppv.com | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onelegends17