5 Reasons To Watch ONE: NEXTGEN II
ONE: NEXTGEN II features a varied offering of mixed martial arts, kickboxing, and Muay Thai matchups that will deliver nonstop excitement for the global fan base.
From knockout artists to submission specialists, every facet of combat sports will be on display when a dozen elite athletes enter the Circle this Friday, 12 November.
Here are five reasons to watch all the action from the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
#5 A Rip-Roaring Muay Thai Opener
The night’s curtain-raiser will showcase Han Zi Hao – the joint-leading knockout artist in ONE Super Series – against a tough opponent in Victor “Leo” Pinto.
The former ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Title challenger has scored four stoppage wins in ONE’s all-striking league, a feat that’s only been matched by strawweight kickboxing king Sam-A Gaiyanghadao and featherweight Muay Thai king Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy.
His rocket of a right hand means any bout is only a split-second away from a dramatic ending, but Pinto is a tough customer with 108 fights to his credit and a long history against elite opponents.
The pair also have their own history. They squared off in Thailand back in 2016, with “Leo” earning the nod after five rounds. Han will certainly hope to level the score with his old rival when they clash at ONE: NEXTGEN II.
Meanwhile, Pinto’s hunger is fueled by his desire to pick up his first ONE Super Series victory, and he’ll be confident in his ability to defeat a man he’s bested once already.
#4 Welterweights Trying To Enter World Title Conversation
Malaysian star Agilan “Alligator” Thani is hoping to kick-start a resurgence in a crucial 86-kilogram catchweight clash against hard-hitting Hiroyuki “Japanese Beast” Tetsuka.
Thani challenged for the ONE Welterweight World Title back in 2017, but he’s suffered some setbacks against the division’s upper echelon since then. Now, he’s determined to prove that his best is yet to come.
“Alligator” plans on bringing his grappling to bear versus “Japanese Beast,” but he’ll have to navigate Tetsuka’s powerful striking to make that happen.
With six knockouts in nine victories, Tetsuka has the stopping power to make a big impression in the welterweight ranks, and taking out a seasoned campaigner like Thani would send out a warning shot to his peers.
#3 A Pair Of Kickboxing Grand Prix Alternate Bouts
The 2021 ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix is the biggest tournament in the striking world, and there are four athletes on the ONE: NEXTGEN II bill who would love to join the fray.
Smokin’ Jo Nattawut will take on Yurik “Mee Khao Jomhot” Davtyan, while “Bamboo Sword” Zhang Chunyu will face Dovydas “Rimkenzo” Rimkus in Grand Prix alternate bouts. All of these competitors will be hunting for an emphatic victory that would give them an edge to enter the tournament if any semifinalist is forced to withdraw.
Power-punchers Nattawut and Davtyan will not take a backward step when they meet, and fans can expect a toe-to-toe battle of attrition.
In the other showdown, Zhang brings a ton of experience against the world’s elite, while promotional newcomer Rimkus has the confidence and swagger of an unbeaten rising star.
These matchups are interesting enough in their own right, but with the outside chance of being called into the World Grand Prix also at stake, a victory will mean even more.
#2 Rising Featherweight MMA Stars Collide
Tang Kai and “The Big Heart” Yoon Chang Min both have massive aspirations in the featherweight mixed martial arts division.
With a combined 9-1 record in ONE, the Chinese and South Korean athletes have been making a name for themselves – but they are both aiming much higher.
Their level of competition has been rising, and this bout could nudge one of them into the division’s top-five rankings.
Tang’s recent knockout of Ryogo “Kaitai” Takahashi was his biggest victory to date, and he believes that his striking will be enough to dispatch Yoon.
On the other side, “The Big Heart” feels disrespected by Tang’s apparent disregard for his skills. Now that he’s back on the winning track, he wants to build more momentum and let his opponent know that he shouldn’t be overlooked.
#1 A Colossal Muay Thai Main Event
Saemapetch Fairtex and Rittewada Petchyindee Academy will square off in the hard-hitting main event, with ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao in their sights.
As the division’s #1 contender, Saemapetch has been one of the most active ONE Super Series campaigners and already had one shot at gold. Meanwhile, Rittewada is one of the hottest competitors in the entire Muay Thai industry and could jump to the front of the line with a big victory in his ONE debut.
The Fairtex product has three wins and two KOs since he fell short against Nong-O, and now he is ready to defend his top ranking and meet the reigning king once again.
However, Rittewada has claimed prestigious titles on the famed Bangkok stadium circuit while putting together an incredible 90-25-5 record against a who’s who of Muay Thai opponents. Now, he’s looking to make a name for himself and claim gold in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
Both men are certified elite, and with the stakes so high, they’ll leave it all inside the Circle on the hunt for a massive victory.
Read more: Saemapetch: ‘No Way’ Rittewada Will Take My #1 Ranking