ONE 156: Eersel vs. Sadikovic has been tasked with carrying the momentum set forth by the historic ONE X last month, and with a lineup of elite athletes across four different sports, the showcase will undoubtedly deliver this Friday, 22 April.
In the main event, ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Champion Regian Eersel defends his belt against dangerous challenger Arian Sadikovic, while Jackie Buntan and Smilla Sundell battle for the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight Muay Thai World Title in the co-headliner.
Those matchups are rightfully receiving much of the hype, but the supporting card also features some of the organization’s most exciting competitors.
With that in mind, here are three bouts that could steal the show on Friday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Liam Harrison vs. Muangthai PK.Saenchai
Three-time Muay Thai World Champion Liam “Hitman” Harrison has built a legacy as one of the baddest strikers on the planet.
For the first 12 years of his professional career, the British superstar never lost to a non-Thai under Muay Thai rules – a testament to his place in the sport. Moreover, he never shied away from facing Thailand’s best.
Although the 36-year-old is nearing the end of his competitive days, he remains motivated to take on big challenges, and he’ll get that when he faces Lumpinee Muay Thai World Champion “Elbow Zombie” Muangthai PK.Saenchai on the main card of ONE 156.
What makes this matchup so tantalizing is that these athletes feature complimentary fight styles. Harrison has built his 89-24-2 record with punches and low kicks, while Muangthai has gone 200-42-4 with the help of his famed elbows.
In the Muay Thai world, elbows stop strong punchers – but that’s only if the elbow lands first.
So, if Muangthai can thrust one of his fight-ending ‘bows down the middle while Harrison swings for a hook – which he often uses to set up the low kick – it could propel him to victory. However, “Hitman” could tilt the bout in his favor if he finds the mark first.
Danial Williams vs. Namiki Kawahara
“Mini T” Danial Williams has been a chameleon since joining ONE Championship, switching between Muay Thai and MMA with entertaining results.
But when Williams returned this February, he switched sports. In that appearance, he took on former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke and knocked out the legend with a thudding second-round body shot.
Now, “Mini T” will try to improve his 4-1 MMA record against Namiki Kawahara, who owns more experience in the all-encompassing sport and has shared the Circle with former #5-ranked strawweight contender Lito Adiwang.
Kawahara wants to prove that his debut loss to Adiwang was a fluke, while Williams wants to enter the top-five rankings and score another memorable finish.
With plenty of motivation, both men will put it all on the line when they meet in the main card opener
Andrei Stoica vs. Giannis Stoforidis
Andrei makes up one-half of the Stoica brothers, but make no mistake about it – this giant of a man carries his own weight.
“Mister KO” has been the only light heavyweight kickboxer in ONE to go the distance with reigning World Champion Roman Kryklia. Moreover, he’s got tremendous power in his hands, which was evident in his first-round KO of Anderson “Braddock” Silva.
At ONE 156, he’ll put his 53-13 (1 NC) record up against Giannis Stoforidis, who might just pack even more of a punch. In the Greek’s ONE debut opposite fan favorite Beybulat Isaev, he flopped the Russian with a first-round KO that improved his record to 30-7.
That devastating finish shot Stoforidis’ name into the spotlight and sent a warning to the entire division. Now, he’ll try to earn the next challenge of Kryklia by scoring an emphatic victory over Stoica.
Of course, “Mister KO” also wants another shot at the reigning king, and he’ll be motivated to stop the Greek in his tracks this Friday.
No matter who gets their hand raised, fans should not expect this clash of light heavyweights to reach the scorecards.