5 Burning Questions Ahead Of ONE Fight Night 22: Sundell Vs. Diachkova

Smilla Sundell Allycia Hellen Rodrigues ONE Fight Night 14 29

This Friday, May 3, ONE Championship will return with a U.S. primetime card packed with 11 compelling bouts designed to produce fireworks.

Set to air live from Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, ONE Fight Night 22: Sundell vs. Diachkova on Prime Video has all the makings of an unforgettable event.

With a massive World Title contest atop the bill and plenty of other high-stakes matchups, the showcase will have big implications for a number of divisions.

Before the action gets underway later this week, we look at five key questions that will be answered at ONE Fight Night 22.

#1 Can Diachkova End Sundell’s Reign Of Domination?

In the main event, 19-year-old prodigy Smilla “The Hurricane” Sundell will put her ONE Women’s Strawweight Muay Thai World Title on the line against red-hot knockout artist Natalia “Karelian Lynx” Diachkova.

The young Swede has looked nothing short of unstoppable through four fights in the world’s largest martial arts organization, taking out dangerous contenders with relative ease.

Given her incredible dominance, Sundell has struggled to find opponents willing to share the ring. Diachkova, though, was happy to step up.

The 29-year-old Russian boasts a trio of first-round knockouts across four victories in ONE and has quickly proven to be a worthy challenger for “The Hurricane’s” gold.

Now, as Diachkova braces for the biggest opportunity of her career, striking fans worldwide are anxiously waiting to see how this matchup plays out.

#2 Can Wei Rui Live Up To The Hype?

Lower on the card, Chinese superstar “Demon Blade” Wei Rui will make his hotly anticipated ONE debut when he takes on former ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion Hiroki Akimoto.

As China’s first K-1 World Champion who currently owns a 20-fight winning streak, the 34-year-old is widely considered a top-10 pound-for-pound kickboxer – and he is carrying lofty expectations into Friday’s appearance.

With his dynamic, sanda-based style of striking and extensive experience at the elite level, “Demon Blade” is poised to make waves in the talent-laden bantamweight kickboxing division.

However, he’s been given no easy task in his promotional debut.

Akimoto is a master technician and one of the most difficult puzzles to solve in the sport. Plus, the Japanese star is undoubtedly hungry to reclaim the 26 pounds of gold he once held.

#3 Which World Title Challengers Will Emerge?

Several top contenders could earn cracks at gold with impressive performances at ONE Fight Night 22.

In lightweight Muay Thai action, surging knockout artists Sinsamut “Aquaman” Klinmee and Dmitry Menshikov will go to war in a clash that’s unlikely to need the judges.

Both men are former ONE World Title challengers – each suffering a defeat to reigning divisional king Regian “The Immortal” Eersel – and both are riding impressive two-fight winning streaks.

Whoever emerges victorious this Friday might just earn another date with the titleholder.

Before that, Rungrawee “Legatron” Sitsongpeenong and Bogdan Shumarov will collide in hopes of becoming the first challenger for freshly crowned ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Champion Alexis “Barboza” Nicolas.

Rungrawee has enjoyed an impressive 4-1 run in ONE’s lightweight Muay Thai division and is now hoping to make a statement in his ONE kickboxing debut.

Standing in his way is Belarusian scrapper Shumarov.

After making a name for himself on the ultra-tough European kickboxing scene, the 27-year-old made his ONE debut last February and has since earned back-to-back knockout wins to continue his meteoric rise.

Finally, the aforementioned Wei and Akimoto could each make their case for a shot at reigning ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion Jonathan “The General” Haggerty with a big result in Bangkok.

#4 Who Will Taste Defeat For The First Time?

A handful of undefeated fighters will put their unblemished records on the line.

In the co-main event, Turkish phenom Halil “No Mercy” Amir is moving down from lightweight (where he previously earned a top-five ranking) to square off with talented featherweight finisher Akbar “Bakal” Abdullaev in a crucial MMA scrap.

Both men sport 10-0 career records, firmly establishing themselves as two of MMA’s most dangerous rising stars. Considering their well-rounded skill sets and proven affinity for finding the finish, this contest has the makings of an all-out war.

Also, former Shooto Champion Chihiro Sawada will aim to continue her climb toward the atomweight MMA gold and keep her spotless professional record intact when she locks horns with French-Thai star Noelle “Lil’ Monkey” Grandjean.

#5 Has Reece McLaren Found His Groove With A New Camp?

With 15 thrilling fights in ONE, #4-ranked flyweight MMA contender Reece “Lightning” McLaren is still leveling up his game – and could be in the finest shape of his impressive career.

After fine-tuning his striking under the guidance of Muay Thai legend John Wayne Parr in Australia, the BJJ black belt has relocated his camp to Combat Training Centre.

Naturally, fans and pundits are wondering if the change of scenery will pay off.

McLaren will put any improvements he’s made to the test against surging Chinese striking specialist “Wolf Warrior” Hu Yong, who’s won three in a row to earn the #5 spot in the stacked flyweight MMA rankings.

Was the change of camp just what McLaren needed to round out his already dangerous game, or will Hu prove to be too fast and too powerful for the Australian veteran?

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