3 Fights That Could Steal The Show At ONE 165: Superlek Vs. Takeru
ONE 165: Superlek vs. Takeru is stacked with thrilling encounters from top to bottom, offering up kickboxing, MMA, submission grappling, and even a mixed-rules contest this Sunday, January 28.
Plus, a pair of World Championship showdowns will headline the bill inside the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan, so the Asia primetime event is guaranteed to finish in style.
Before those featured battles, some of the other matchups stand out due to the styles of each competitor or the high stakes involved.
With that in mind, here are three epic contests that could end up stealing the show when the world’s largest martial arts organization returns to “The Land of the Rising Sun.”
#1 Danny Kingad Vs. Yuya Wakamatsu II
These athletes met back in 2018 when Wakamatsu was making his ONE debut – and he almost got off to the perfect start when he dropped Kingad with a thudding right hand in round one.
However, “The King’s” toughness and versatility saw him turn the tide, as he employed wushu-style striking and effective grappling to subdue the Japanese slugger en route to a unanimous decision win.
The Filipino star’s exciting victory leaves a lot to live up to, but both men have evolved drastically since then, adding skills to their arsenals in every area that should lead to an even more entertaining contest.
There’s the chance for a dramatic finish or a war of attrition for 15 minutes, and either way, it’ll be fascinating.
#2 Nieky Holzken Vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama
Multiple-time Kickboxing World Champion and former professional boxer Holzken will get the early advantage, with round one being contested under boxing rules and round two under Muay Thai.
However, if former judoka Akiyama can make it past the first six minutes, the ball will be in his court when the MMA rules kick in for round three.
Like every special rules battle, each athlete will have a preferred rule set – but that doesn’t guarantee victory.
For instance, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson survived an intense Muay Thai round with Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon before submitting Thai striker in MMA, so there’s a precedent set for Akiyama.
But will the Japanese-South Korean’s striking make it through two frames against a concussive hitter like “The Natural,” who is hungry to make an impression in this unique contest?
It’s impossible to know given the all-new variables in play, but it will certainly have fans on the edge of their seats for as long as it lasts.
#3 Marat Grigorian Vs. Sitthichai Sitsonpeenong VI
The kickboxing greats have shared 21 rounds inside the ring, and although Sitthichai is up 4-1 in the series, every bout has been hotly contested.
Along with the close nature of all five matchups, it was Grigorian who finally broke through in their last encounter, earning a clear-cut decision victory to prove he won’t play second fiddle.
And if fans need to get excited for Grigorian and Sitthichai’s sixth meeting, they simply need to watch any of the previous bouts to get a taste of the all-out war that is likely to ensue. Plus, Sitthichai even said himself that he’s never fought the Armenian star without leaving in pain.
Now, the famous duo are extra motivated to succeed due to the importance of this fight.
Grigorian is the featherweight kickboxing division’s #2-ranked contender while Sitthichai is #3, and this could be the final chance for each of them to make a run at gold.
With Chingiz Allazov’s ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Title playing on their minds, Grigorian and “Killer Kid” will leave everything in the ring in hopes of securing a shot at the sport’s biggest prize.