5 Burning Questions Ahead Of ONE Fight Night 12 On Prime Video

Amir Aliakbari celebrates his win at ONE 164

ONE Fight Night 12 on Prime Video has some incredible matchups in store that offer up just as much intrigue as excitement. 

From a potentially massive upset to matchups between World Title contenders and even an athlete stepping into a new sport for the first time, the stacked North American primetime card could go any number of ways this Friday, July 14.

Here are five burning questions that we can’t wait to answer when all the MMA, kickboxing, Muay Thai, and submission grappling action begins at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

#1 Can Khalilov Shock Superlek And Earn World Title Shot?

Superlek Kiatmoo9 will headline the event in a flyweight Muay Thai battle against Tagir Khalilov. But after pouring cold water on the idea of challenging Thai compatriot Rodtang Jitmuangnon for the division’s gold, there’s a big chance here for his Russian foe.

Superlek is the #1-ranked flyweight Muay Thai contender, so “Samingpri” could jump to the front of the line with a career-best victory over the pound-for-pound superstar.

It’s certainly possible, as Khalilov gave Rodtang a tough test under kickboxing rules in his ONE debut and has become known as “The Thai Killer” in recent outings. Now following a pair of first-round knockout wins, the 30-year-old could potentially earn a rematch with “The Iron Man” by scoring an upset in Bangkok.

On the other side of the coin, ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion Superlek is eyeing a move up to challenge newly crowned ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Jonathan Haggerty.

If the Kiatmoo9 Gym representative can log a ninth straight win, it would continue his positive momentum toward a shot at two-sport supremacy.

#2 Which Featherweight Grappler Will Remain In World Title Hunt?

Ever since his dominant debut win over Kim Jae Woong last year, Shamil Gasanov has been calling for a matchup with Garry Tonon to truly determine the featherweight MMA division’s best grappler.

The unbeaten Russian now has his wish. He’ll face the American BJJ legend in a crucial clash between two of the division’s top-ranked contenders.

Fifth-ranked Gasanov is bringing an impressive 13-0 slate to the ring, which includes nine submission victories. Known as “The Cobra,” the Dagestan native’s most potent weapon is his rear-naked choke.

However, Tonon is on a different level from the competition Gasanov has faced before. He won countless prestigious accolades in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and submission grappling before seamlessly transitioning to mixed martial arts.

As the #2-ranked contender and a former ONE Featherweight World Title challenger, “The Lion Killer” knows he could go for gold once again with a win – but that prospect is also motivating his foe.

If Gasanov can pick up another landmark victory, he would surely fly up through the ranks with his eyes on the World Title rematch between Tang Kai and Thanh Le, which is expected to be rescheduled for later in the year. 

#3 Can Aliakbari Continue Momentum In Heavyweight MMA Division?

Amir Aliakbari entered ONE with the intention of making an immediate assault on the ONE Heavyweight World Title picture. Back-to-back defeats saw those plans fade, but now, the Iranian giant has found his form. 

Bludgeoning his way to stoppage wins over former ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera and former World Title challenger Mauro Cerilli, another victory could put the 35-year-old on track for his original goal. 

Next, he must get through Dustin Joynson, who owns a 7-1 MMA record, with his only loss coming in a tight contest against Kirill Grishenko.

The Canadian rebounded in his last outing and has both strikes and submissions in his repertoire. Knowing Aliakbari’s reputation, Joynson will also recognize the huge opportunity to demand respect in the heavyweight MMA ranks. 

With Anatoly Malykhin recently establishing himself as the undisputed divisional king, the winner of this clash could be next in line to challenge for the gold.

#4 Will Goncalves Make A Smooth Transition To MMA?

Several athletes have crossed over into different sports in ONE, and the results have been varied.

It’s never easy to go from concentrating on one area to competing in an all-around game, so it’ll be interesting to see how Muay Thai star Walter Goncalves looks in his MMA debut.

With an impressive 66-8 professional record, the Brazilian has the striking to go toe-to-toe with anybody – as he demonstrated in his 2019 World Title war with Rodtang – and he’s been training his grappling for years to prepare for this moment.

However, Goncalves will still need to be ready for an entirely different challenge when he faces Chinese sensation Banma Duoji in a flyweight MMA clash.

With 13 career knockouts, Banma is a striker who loves to duke it out on the feet. But knowing his opponent is switching over from Muay Thai, he might look to mix it up and bring this contest to the ground.

#5 Which Hard-Hitting Flyweight Can Rise Up The Ranks?

The title of hardest hitter in the flyweight MMA division could be decided when Yuya Wakamatsu and Xie Wei square off in Bangkok.

Wakamatsu – a former ONE Flyweight World Title challenger – recently dropped out of the top-five rankings, but he’s determined to move forward and bring back his glory days of stopping opponents with his fists. 

“Little Piranha” has knocked out 11 opponents in his 15 career wins, and he knows that an emphatic finish of #5-ranked Xie would likely put him back in the division’s rankings. 

On the other side, “The Hunter” will look to impose his own impressive striking game, as he boasts 12 KOs in 17 professional wins.

Both men have been working hard to round out their all-around skill sets, but when they have the power to make opponents fall down with one shot, they’ll always be a threat as long as they’re standing.

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