ONE Championship held one of its most exciting shows of the year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Earlier this month at ONE: PURSUIT OF POWER, heroes were motivated to make a statement to continue their climbs towards World Title contention.
A pair of welterweights moved closer to the divisional throne, two featherweights earned their second victory in three weeks, and a host of other athletes made their presence felt in their weight classes.
Here is what could be in store for the biggest winners from an incredible night in the Axiata Arena.
Former ONE Welterweight World Title challenger Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam defeated hometown hero Agilan “Alligator” Thani in the main event of ONE: PURSUIT OF POWER via third-round TKO.
The Swedish striker dazzled with a wide array of powerful combinations to become the first man to knock out the Malaysian sensation, as well as the only man to beat Thani in his native Kuala Lumpur.
Kadestam considers himself the “top dog” in the welterweight division, and he would love to defend that status against the man below.
Shortly before the headline attractions took to the cage, undefeated promotional newcomer Tyler McGuire scored a huge victory over dangerous Brazilian Luis “Sapo” Santos.
The American notched a dominant unanimous decision victory over the veteran and former ONE Welterweight World Title challenger, and elevated his unblemished record to 11-0 in the process.
With ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren retired, the division’s throne is up for grabs. This puts both Kadestam and McGuire in the perfect position to battle it out for welterweight supremacy.
Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Narantungalag “Tungaa” Jadambaa might be 42 years old, but not age – or anything else – can slow him down.
He followed that up with his second act three weeks later in Malaysia, when he edged out Pancrase Lightweight Champion Kazuki Tokudome via unanimous decision.
Jadambaa’s goal is to reclaim the featherweight belt, and a contest against another top contender with two victories in the same timeframe would go a long way to putting him in position to do that.
“The Underdog” Li Kai Wen is well-rounded, explosive, and likes to push the pace, which would make him a great test for the former champion.
He could also get an immediate shot at the belt, after Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen revealed it would be “an honor” for Jadambaa to be his next challenge.
Speaking of featherweights, Malaysian wunderkind Keanu Subba made his highly-anticipated return at ONE: PURSUIT OF POWER, where he finished “White Dragon” Xie Chao with a scintillating first-round submission.
Now, back to peak condition after an 11-month layoff, Subba is prepared to contend with the division’s most promising contenders.
One of those could be “Cannon” Ma Jia Wen, a Chinese National Freestyle Wrestling silver medalist who fearlessly stood toe-to-toe with Muay Thai legend Sagetdao “Deadly Star” Petpayathai, and defeated him in a close three-round affair.
Another intriguing option could be Tetsuya Yamada, an all-around competitor who is coming off a quick submission win of former ONE Featherweight World Title challenger Eric Kelly.
Li Kai Wen
“The Underdog” Li Kai Wen is one of the hottest commodities in the featherweight division. He captivated fans with his fearsome knockout power and relentless offensive arsenal.
Like Jadambaa, the Chinese 22-year-old had a tremendous few weeks in June and July. First, he set the record for the fastest stoppage victory in the ONE featherweight division with his 10-second knockout of Rodian Menchavez.
Three weeks later, at ONE: PURSUIT OF POWER, he returned for a tilt against ultra-tough warrior Emilio Urrutia, and he finished the American via TKO in the third round to conclude one of the yar’s most exciting bouts.
Li could find himself taking on Jadambaa next, but he could also clash with an equally dangerous, aggressive, and young warrior like Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev.
Since joining ONE in 2016, the Turkish martial artist has built a reputation as a bonafide finisher, and a clash between “The Underdog” and him would undoubtedly produce fireworks.
In February, Costa Rican grappling sensation Ariel “Tarzan” Sexton shook off the cage rust to earn his first victory in two years at ONE: PURSUIT OF POWER.
“Tarzan” looked like his usual, dangerous self, as he finished Shooto Welterweight Tournament Champion Kota Shimoishi in the final round of their lightweight affair. He submitted him with an Americana from the reverse triangle choke position, which is guaranteed to put him in the conversation of the year’s best stoppages at the end of the year.
Next, Sexton could find himself opposite one of the division’s biggest names, like Adrian “The Hunter” Pang.
The Australian is a battle-tested veteran who always brings the action to his opponents, and just like Sexton, is usually involved in some the most exciting bouts of any card. This dream scenario could steal the show whenever and wherever it is made a reality.
Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan is quickly emerging as Malaysia’s next female martial arts superstar.
Four months on from her successful debut, the 19-year-old made a spectacular return by snapping Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol’s three-bout win streak. She outworked the Indonesian atomweight en route to a clear-cut unanimous decision victory.
While she is still very young in her career, Radzuan is likely to face another step up in competition in her next outing. Unbeaten Filipina Jomary Torres immediately comes to mind.
Torres, who is only three years older than the Malaysian, has surprised many with her tenacious offense and unwavering will to win. The unbeaten athlete has defeated some of Asia’s most respected names, including Rika “Tinydoll” Ishige and Team Lakay’s April Osenio, and is looking to rise even higher up the ranks.
It is only a matter of time before these two ladies collide in the center of the ONE cage.