ONE Championship is headed to Shanghai for its inaugural event in the Chinese metropolis, and the promotion’s biggest stars are ready to put on a show. ONE CHAMPIONSHIP: SHANGHAI is set for the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center on 2 September, and will feature a stacked card filled with the best in local and international talent.
Here are five reasons why you absolutely cannot miss this tremendous blockbuster.
#1 The Main Event Between Ben Askren And Zebaztian Kadestam
Former US Olympian Ben Askren isn’t just the reigning ONE Welterweight World Champion, he is also universally recognized as one of the best welterweights in the entire world, bar none. Undefeated at 16-0, 1 No Contest, and at just 33 years of age, does not appear to be slowing down one bit.
“Funky” is facing his toughest challenge since joining ONE in 2014, though. Swedish warrior Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam gave up his PXC welterweight title to join the organization earlier this year, looking for his shot at superstardom. Kadestam certainly has his eyes set on beating Askren and claiming glory, and with the whole world watching, it becomes the perfect platform for him to achieve the pinnacle of his career.
Kadestam shocked the world when just last May, he upset the very dangerous Luis Santos, scoring a highlight-reel third-round knockout of the Brazilian. Askren, however, is on a totally different level, and exudes confidence and the poise of a world champion each time he takes to the cage.
After over eight years as a professional, Askren has rarely been challenged, and it’s an absolute marvel to watch him compete. What’s more, he’s finished five of his last six opponents, really transforming himself from a pure wrestler into a dangerous finisher.
#2 Narantungalag Jadambaa Faces Tetsuya Yamada
Now that the featherweight title has changed hands after Martin Nguyen took the belt from former champion Marat Gafurov, the window of opportunity for former ONE Featherweight World Champion Narantungalag Jadambaa has opened. After all, the Mongolian has fallen to Gafurov twice before, meaning a third bout was highly unlikely. Nguyen, however, is a different story.
Jadambaa has the type of confidence that allows him to laugh and look right at a television camera before saying with a straight face he had no weaknesses as a martial artist. The 41-year-old Mongolian beast of a featherweight destroys his opponents in the cage, and climbs snow-covered mountains with his shirt off. Simply put, he is no ordinary man.
“Tungaa’s” next challenge will be Japanese grappler Tetsuya Yamada, who was last seen in the ONE Championship cage in a decision loss to Eduard Folayang. Yamada is a high-level BJJ practitioner, and the right opponent to test Jadambaa’s grappling mastery at this stage of his career.
A win for Jadambaa could land him in contention for newly-minted ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin Nguyen’s belt, and it’s a good bet he’s aware of that, and fully intends to make the most of this opportunity. Similarly, Yamada will want to make a huge statement in a new weight class by taking out the former champion.
#3 Muay Thai Legend Sagetdao Petpayathai
In his second appearance inside the ONE Championship cage, Lumpinee Stadium legend and Muay Thai maestro Sagetdao “Deadly Star” Petpayathai is set to face Egypt’s Mahmoud Mohamed in a three-round featherweight contest.
Petpayathai has won every major title there is to win in Muay Thai, and is a superstar in the discipline. He is a four-time Lumpinee World Champion, Rajdamnern World Champion, two-time MAX Muay Thai World Champion, WBC Muay Thai World Champion, WPMF World Champion, and has beaten some of the biggest names in the sport.
After all that he achieved, he retired from Muay Thai, but has since found a new challenge in ONE Championship. He won his promotional debut last March by knockout, stopping Malaysia’s Kelvin Ong in just over two minutes, but he is not done there. He has one more belt he wants to add to his storied collection – the ONE Featherweight World Championship.
Widely-regarded by Thai media as one of the most aggressive and explosive Thai boxers in history, fans will get to witness Petpayathai’s journey as a martial artist unfold in Shanghai.
#4 The Rise Of Amir Khan
Promising young Singaporean lightweight Amir Khan has spent the early stages of his career as a prospect on the brink of a breakthrough. A litmus test against the dangerous Shannon Wiratchai in 2015 didn’t turn out in his favor, as Khan dropped a close-fought split decision.
Since then, however, Khan has rallied to four straight stoppage wins – one by submission and three by exciting knockout. The 22-year-old is set to take on Jaroslav Jartim next, who brings skill and experience to the table, and will provide the youngster with potentially the toughest test of his career.
Jartim was stopped by Honorio Banario in his ONE debut, and is looking to redeem himself with a resounding victory. On the other hand, if Khan is able to orchestrate his fifth straight victory, and in decisive fashion, it will open up the doors for bigger and better matchups in the near future.
As such, these two dynamic lightweights have all to compete for, and are bound to put on a show.
#5 China’s Finest Young Talents Make Their Debuts
ONE CHAMPIONSHIP: SHANGHAI features some of the most talented competitors in China, including top prospects Xu Chun Yan, “The Sweeping Monk” Chen Geng Min, Peng Xue Wen, Li Cheng Chao, and “The Ghost” Zhang Ze Hao.
The promotion’s inaugural event in Shanghai is definitely bringing out the best in the country, some of whom could turn out to be huge global martial arts superstars in the future. Fans looking for a taste of authentic Chinese martial arts cannot miss ONE CHAMPIONSHIP: SHANGHAI.