5 Reasons To Watch ONE 165: Superlek Vs. Takeru On January 28

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ONE Championship is set to make its long-awaited return to Japan this Sunday, January 28, and the organization is bringing a stacked 11-fight card featuring both global and national superstars.

Headlined by a monumental World Title showdown between Thai icon “The Kicking Machine” Superlek Kiatmoo9 and kickboxing great Takeru “The Natural Born Crusher” Segawa, the event will go down at Tokyo’s Ariake Arena and broadcast live to over 190 countries across the globe.

From heated rivalries steeped in bad blood to high-stakes contender fights and a unique special rules contest, ONE 165: Superlek vs. Takeru has something for every type of martial arts fan.

Here, we look at five of the biggest reasons why ONE 165 is a can’t-miss showcase.

#1 The World’s Best Flyweight Kickboxer Will Emerge

In the main event, historic three-division K-1 World Champion Takeru will make his hotly anticipated promotional debut, and he’ll do it against one of the planet’s top pound-for-pound strikers.

The Japanese megastar was originally slated to face Rodtang Jitmuangnon, but when the latter dropped out due to injury, reigning ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion Superlek stepped up to defend his gold.

Simply put, these men represent the pinnacle of kickboxing, and the winner can claim the undisputed honor of being the sport’s top flyweight.

While “The Natural Born Crusher” has won practically everything under the sun other than a ONE World Title, Superlek comes into the bout riding an eight-fight winning streak and is fresh off an unforgettable victory over Rodtang.

#2 A Rematch Of ONE’s Best Submission Grappling Match In 2023

The co-main event will see reigning ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Champion Kade Ruotolo defend his belt against Europe’s top Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Tommy Langaker, for the second time.

The pair first clashed in June 2023 in a high-paced, back-and-forth World Title affair that was named ONE’s best submission grappling match last year.

The American phenom won that bout by decision but is now hungry for a more definitive result against the talented Norwegian. 

For his part, Langaker has since won gold at the prestigious IBJJF No-Gi World Championships and is aiming to showcase his improvements, hand Ruotolo his first loss in ONE, and leave Tokyo as the newly crowned divisional king.

#3 An Innovative Must-See Super-Fight

The card will feature a first-of-its-kind super-fight between two combat sports icons.

Multiple-time Kickboxing World Champion Nieky “The Natural” Holzken will square off with beloved Japanese MMA legend Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama in a three-round hybrid clash that has fans salivating with anticipation.

With each athlete wearing 4-ounce MMA gloves, the first round will be contested under boxing rules, the second under Muay Thai rules, and – if it gets that far – the third frame will be mixed martial arts.

In short, this previously unimaginable matchup will come to life on January 28 and promises action for as long as it lasts.

#4 Rivals Settle Their Scores

Drama will be on the menu at ONE 165, as several grudge matches are set to go down.

American sensation “Super” Sage Northcutt and former ONE Lightweight MMA World Champion Shinya Aoki were originally slated for battle in 2021.

But after that fight fell through, the Japanese legend had some harsh words for the unflappable Northcutt, who will enter into this bout with something to prove as he looks to climb the lightweight MMA ranks.

After three years of calling out former two-division ONE World Champion Martin Nguyen, American BJJ icon Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon will finally get his wish in a high-stakes featherweight MMA showdown that could determine the division’s next World Title challenger.

In flyweight MMA action, Japanese knockout artist Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu will aim to avenge his 2018 loss to Filipino star Danny Kingad.

The pair’s first matchup was thrilling from start to finish, and fans can expect another all-out war between these contenders with a potential World Title opportunity hanging in the balance.

Finally, legendary strikers Marat Grigorian and Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong have gone toe-to-toe five times before, with Sitthichai leading the rivalry 4-1.

While Grigorian emerged victorious in their last battle, he’ll need to be in top form against this always-dangerous familiar foe.

#5 Japan Versus The World

It’s no surprise that ONE’s return to Japan’s capital city will feature many of the country’s best fighters.

First, undefeated phenom Keito Yamakita will square off with #2-ranked strawweight MMA contender Bokang Masunyane in a fight that could propel him directly into the World Title conversation.

In another pivotal strawweight MMA bout, #3-ranked contender Hiroba Minowa hopes to bounce back into the win column with a strong performance against Cuban powerhouse and #4-ranked Gustavo Balart.

In addition to the aforementioned fights featuring Aoki and Wakamatsu, the Tokyo faithful will be treated to an intriguing all-Japan women’s atomweight MMA tilt between fan favorites Ayaka “Zombie” Miura and Itsuki Hirata – with ultimate bragging rights on the line.

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