ONE Championship hosted a pair of exciting cards in Malaysia on October 21, with a slew of intriguing storylines playing out inside the Circle.
Some athletes stood out for their performances, while other battles made the headlines due to their wild endings.
With all of that now in the history books, it’s time to look ahead and see what potential matchups could be next for a handful of the competitors who were in action.
John Lineker Vs. Fabricio Andrade II
Andrade was still eligible to claim the gold, and his performance brought him extremely close.
“Wonder Boy” hurt his heavy-handed rival on several occasions and appeared seconds away from a finish in round three until he went low with a knee and Lineker could not continue.
That groin strike led to a no contest, which wasn’t the type of ending anybody wanted.
This is the match that makes itself, with both fans and fighters even more invested in the all-Brazilian rivalry after the roller coaster of last week.
Jeremy Miado Vs. Gustavo Balart
With Williams occupying the #5 position in the strawweight rankings, “The Jaguar” made a strong case to enter the upper echelon and seems primed to aim for a World Title shot.
Balart has now won three in a row against some elite opposition, his schedule aligns with Miado’s, and neither man has faced either Brooks or Pacio before.
The winner could offer up a fresh face at the top of the division while riding a huge wave of momentum.
Shamil Gasanov Vs. Garry Tonon
One of October 21’s most stunning performances came from newcomer Shamil Gasanov at ONE on Prime Video 3.
The unbeaten Russian finished #2 featherweight contender Kim Jae Woong after just 2:09 of the opening frame, improving his MMA record to 13-0 with his ninth submission victory.
There are several opponents who would be intriguing for Gasanov, but “The Cobra” did his own matchmaking when he suggested a showdown with BJJ icon Garry Tonon.
Tonon suffered the first defeat of his MMA career when he lost to Thanh Le for the ONE Featherweight World Title, but he’s still the #2-ranked contender with a skill set that can trouble anybody.
Both men are high-level submission specialists, and there aren’t many better grappler vs. grappler bouts that could be made in the Circle.
The winner would emerge as the best ground fighter in the division, making them an interesting test for reigning king and formidable striker Tang Kai in the future.
Eko Roni Saputra Vs. Danny Kingad
Still just eight fights into his pro career, the former wrestler has added strikes and submissions to his MMA arsenal, and he’ll be looking to face a top-five opponent next.
Fourth-ranked Danny Kingad could be the perfect foil for Saputra, with the Team Lakay man’s sharp striking and excellent scrambling ability sure to offer up stern resistance.
“The King” has gone the distance in 13 of his 17 career bouts, so he might push the Indonesian in the only element of his game that fans have yet to see – conditioning.
Both men are increasingly well-rounded and have plenty of time to assert themselves as top flyweight contenders, but the winner would mark themselves out as the most immediate threat to the top tier.
Reece McLaren Vs. Adriano Moraes
The Australian BJJ black belt has been one of the flyweight division’s perennial contenders since he entered the ranks five years ago, but he’s never quite gotten to the top.
Given his current form, the #5-ranked athlete might just punch his ticket to a World Title shot with another commanding victory over an elite opponent.
The division’s most dominant athlete to date, Adriano Moraes, is gunning for a rubber match with Johnson, but if that won’t happen immediately, there’s a lot to gain for both “Mikinho” and McLaren in a head-to-head showdown.
Both are expert grapplers who’ve also shown their ability to finish on the feet. And if “Lightning” could overcome the division’s #1 contender, he might finally get his own opportunity to compete for the most sought-after prize in MMA.