A ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Title eliminator between Tawanchai PK.Saenchai and Niclas Larsen will headline ONE 158 this Friday, but the card is filled with plenty of other contests that are guaranteed to deliver excitement.
With hard-hitting contenders and exciting rising stars competing in MMA, Muay Thai, and kickboxing, fans can expect memorable moments from start to finish.
Here, we look at three matchups that could steal the show when the action gets underway at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Rade Opacic vs. Guto Inocente
Rade Opacic has raced to a perfect 4-0 record with four knockouts in ONE Championship’s heavyweight kickboxing division, so it’s clear that a finish is never more than a moment away.
On Friday, the Serbian phenom will battle legendary Brazilian striker Guto Inocente – and this showdown has all the makings of a classic.
Opacic uses a high-pressure style to lay his punches, kicks, and knees on his rivals, and once they’re hurt, he’s ruthless in hunting for the finish.
However, Inocente is one of the most durable athletes in the sport and has never been stopped despite facing the best heavyweights in the world. The Brazilian’s movement could also cause some issues for his younger foe, especially if Opacic tries to chase him down too eagerly.
This clash of styles is interesting enough, and when one mistake can have concussive consequences, nobody should blink once the opening bell rings.
Moreover, the winner of this matchup would likely establish themselves as the front-runner for the inaugural ONE Heavyweight Kickboxing World Title.
Odie Delaney vs. Mehdi Barghi
It’s not just the heavyweight strikers who are bringing the intrigue – these wrestlers are also ready to put on a show.
Delaney stayed undefeated in MMA with a dominant and unique submission victory in his promotional debut against Thomas Narmo, while Barghi is hungry to earn his first ONE Championship win after a thrilling clash with Kang Ji Won.
The American and his Iranian counterpart both bring legitimate wrestling credentials into the Circle, with Delaney an NCAA Division 1 All-American and Barghi a National Wrestling Champion in his home country.
There will definitely be elite wrestling on display, but if neither man can gain an advantage in that area, their fight could be determined by the other aspects of their developing MMA skill sets – and that could be the most fascinating element.
Jenelyn Olsim vs. Julie Mezabarba
Jenelyn Olsim and Julie Mezabarba are two of the most exciting strikers in the women’s atomweight mixed martial arts division, and they will square off in a bout that pits the Filipina’s Muay Thai against the Brazilian’s kickboxing style.
Olsim’s aggressive nature means she is not afraid to wade in with heavy punches, and she doesn’t stop once she gets inside, where her knees and elbows come into play.
That game plan could play right into Mezabarba’s strengths, though, as the 29-year-old is also strong on the front foot and has stinging counter-punches and kicks.
Neither of these athletes is likely to take a backward step, and their striking exchanges will be feisty – but they can also snatch submissions if they need to.
Wherever this fight plays out, fans should not expect any lulls in the action.