ONE Championship is ringing in the new year with a card packed with power.
This Friday, 14 January, the promotion broadcasts ONE: HEAVY HITTERS live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and every competitor scheduled for action wants to get their respective 2022 campaigns started on the right foot.
A pair of World Title fights and a highly anticipated debut are among 12 crucial battles that will undoubtedly impact the ONE Athlete Rankings.
With that said, here are five of the biggest reasons why you must watch ONE: HEAVY HITTERS on Friday.
#1 A Fight For Women’s Strawweight World Title Gold
ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan returns to the Circle in the night’s main event, and the Chinese MMA superstar has a chance to clear out her division.
Since claiming the division’s inaugural gold in January 2018, the Beijing native has been the most dominant force the weight class has ever seen. To date, she holds a 16-2 record, which includes a pair of victories over #1-ranked Tiffany “No Chill” Teo, a unanimous decision over #2-ranked Michelle Nicolini, and even a TKO win over #3-ranked “Unstoppable” Angela Lee.
In addition to that, Xiong owns the organization’s record for most knockouts across all female divisions with four – and she would love to add to that number on Friday. However, she could meet her match with #4-ranked Ayaka “Zombie” Miura – her polar opposite.
Miura may not be known for her immense KO power, but the third-degree judo black belt is famous for her submission prowess.
The Japanese phenom owns an impressive 11-3 (1 NC) record with four of those victories coming via scarf-hold Americana. It’s become her trademark submission, a technique she dubbed the “Ayaka Lock.” Moreover, three of her four victories using the unique move came in the strawweight division, which means she leads the weight class in submissions wins.
This clash is a classic striker versus grappler matchup, and with each woman’s finishing ability, fans could witness an epic highlight-reel conclusion to this main event showdown.
#2 Light Heavyweight Monsters Collide For The Belt
Kryklia, who dwarfs the challenger by 3 inches (or 7 centimeters), has looked flawless since making his organizational debut in 2019. He first gained revenge on surging old foe Tarik “The Tank” Khbabez to win the title and then picked apart Andrei “Mister KO” Stoica over the course of five rounds.
Aygun has less bouts in ONE, but the 17-1 fighter pummeled respected veteran Anderson “Braddock” Silva in his organizational debut.
Kryklia and Aygun were supposed to fight multiple times for over a year, but the bout kept getting delayed for various reasons. Still, the fire in each massive kickboxer has only grown.
The World Champion believes the Dutch-Turkish juggernaut is predictable, but Aygun feels insulted that the Ukrainian colossus thinks he is “easy prey” and is gunning for a statement-making KO.
Don’t blink when these two enter the Circle. The big boys are coming to play, and they won’t hold anything back.
#3 Khabib’s Protege Makes His ONE Debut
On Friday, the wait will end.
When Izagakhmaev steps into the Circle for the first time, he will have the multiple-time World Champion in his corner for the big moment.
Nurmagomedov said the young Dagestani grappler’s style is similar to his, but added that he is taller, longer, and has great Muay Thai technique. If “The Eagle’s” prediction comes true and Izagakhmaev does earn another victory, he’ll push his record to 20-2.
But the win is not a given, especially against a stud like former ONE World Title challenger James Nakashima.
Nakashima is a wrestling standout too. And after suffering the first two losses of his career, the American lightweight spent a year away from competition to level-up his skills. Should Nakashima spoil Izagakhmaev’s big moment, it would definitely get his back off the wall.
#4 The Long-Awaited Bantamweight Muay Thai Showdown
It had been booked several times over the past six months, but COVID-19 protocols and injuries have derailed the Muay Thai clash between top-ranked bantamweight contender Saemapetch Fairtex and Tawanchai PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym.
As long as there isn’t a freak injury in the coming days, then this match will finally go down on Friday.
An impressive victory by either man could line them up for a crack at reigning ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao’s belt. But while a shot at gold is an exciting prospect, what makes this fight even more interesting is the fact that they are friends outside of the Circle.
In fact, when Tawanchai debuted last year, he went to the Fairtex star for some advice in regards to the rule set and hydration protocols. He also picked his brain about simpler things like flying abroad for the first time. The PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym fighter even went to Saemapetch’s gym and trained with him.
Both athletes know each other well and have a tremendous amount of respect for one another. It’s certainly a long-awaited showdown and the two will give it their all on Friday. However, the friendship adds an interesting twist to the clash.
#5 Young Female Rising Stars Look To Continue Ascent
Two potential cornerstones of the strawweight Muay Thai and mixed martial arts divisions make their returns at ONE: HEAVY HITTERS.
Eighteen-year-old phenom Supergirl is coming off a jaw-dropping 60-second KO. Now, the Muay Thai sensation wants to be even more impressive in her sophomore appearance.
If the teen star can beat multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Ekaterina “Barbie” Vandaryeva, then she would undoubtedly place herself among the division’s top names. Perhaps she would even get to challenge Jackie Buntan, who defeated her sister, Wondergirl, last year.
In mixed martial arts, Meng Bo is ready to begin a new journey.
After suffering an upset in the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix quarterfinals, the revered Chinese knockout artist has dusted herself off and is looking for a fresh start in the strawweight division.
Meng’s first task is a tough one though, as she collides with Teo. However, if she defeats the top-ranked women’s strawweight contender, she’ll make a case to challenge her compatriot, “The Panda.”