5 Burning Questions Ahead Of ONE Fight Night 17 On December 8
This Friday, December 8, ONE Championship will host its first all-Muay Thai card live in U.S. primetime from the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
Headlined by the inaugural ONE Heavyweight Muay Thai World Title clash between Ukrainian superstar Roman Kryklia and Australian sensation Alex Roberts, ONE Fight Night 17 on Prime Video offers no shortage of compelling contests from top to bottom.
From talented young stars making their primetime debuts to established veterans with something to prove, the lineup is packed with elite strikers, each competing in high-stakes bouts.
With that said, here are five questions that will be answered on Friday night.
#1 Can Roman Kryklia Make A Successful Switch Back To Muay Thai?
As the ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Champion and the 2022 ONE Heavyweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix Champion, Kryklia has firmly established himself as the planet’s most terrifying kickboxer – a devastating knockout artist with an unblemished 5-0 record in ONE.
The Ukrainian superstar will now take his shot at two-sport gold when he squares off with promotional newcomer Roberts, who most recently claimed the WBC Heavyweight Muay Thai World Title.
While there’s no question that Kryklia is supremely talented with devastating power, many fans and pundits wonder how well his game will translate to “the art of eight limbs.”
Even though Kryklia began his martial arts journey in Muay Thai, he has competed exclusively in kickboxing over the past several years, and his all-around striking will be put to the ultimate test against an accomplished Muay Thai specialist in “The Viking.”
#2 Will ‘Smokin’ Jo Prove He’s Still Elite?
Before the heavyweights take center stage in the main event, hard-hitting veteran “Smokin” Jo Nattawut will square off with American phenom Luke “The Chef” Lessei in a make-or-break contest for the Thai.
After going 5-2 through his first seven bouts in ONE, the 34-year-old knockout artist has dropped three straight – albeit against truly elite competition.
If “Smokin” Jo wants to keep his #4 spot in the featherweight Muay Thai rankings and remain in the World Title conversation, he’ll have to get through the unorthodox and uniquely talented Lessei, who plans to debut with a bang this Friday.
#3 Is Dmitry Menshikov Heading Toward Another World Title Shot?
But since then, the 25-year-old has bounced back to the win column while reminding fans of his show-stopping power with a highlight-reel stoppage of Rungrawee Sitsongpeenong.
Menshikov now hopes to take a massive step closer to another date with Eersel when he squares off with the dangerous Mouhcine Chafi.
If he can score another emphatic KO, the Prokopyevsk native could get his wish for another crack at the ONE Lightweight Muay Thai World Title sooner rather than later.
#4 Which Flyweight Muay Thai Athlete Will Stand Out?
ONE Fight Night 17 includes a trio of pivotal flyweight Muay Thai bouts featuring six fighters looking to climb the divisional rankings.
“No.1” Nguyen Tran Duy Nhat is returning for his first ONE fight in four years, hoping to pick up where he left off and continue his meteoric rise. But standing in his way is Denis “The Bosnian Menace” Puric – a grizzled veteran who’s hungry to prove he belongs among the top five.
After that, teen prodigy Johan “Jojo” Ghazali will aim to keep his unblemished ONE record intact and live up to the hype when he battles former ONE World Title challenger Edgar Tabares in a showdown that promises fireworks.
Finally, former ONE World Title challenger Walter “Iron Hands” Goncalves and British Muay Thai Champion Jacob Smith are set for war, as both men will look to get back to winning ways and make a statement in the division.
#5 Will Thongpoon And Ghazali Deliver In Their U.S. Primetime Debuts?
The card will showcase two of the top stars to come out of the ONE Friday Fights event series – each a winner of a coveted six-figure ONE contract and each set to make their U.S. primetime debut this Friday.
Still just 17 years old, the aforementioned Ghazali has all the makings of a global superstar, but he’ll need to perform at his best when the lights are brightest if he wants to keep his momentum going.
And in the opening fight, Thongpoon PK Saenchai – who’s produced a pair of first-minute knockouts at ONE Friday Fights – will bring his ruthlessly aggressive style to primetime when he goes toe-to-toe with Ellis Badr Barboza in an exciting 120-pound catchweight affair.