This coming Friday, 31 January, ONE Championship returns to the Philippine capital for the first time this year.
The promotion brings ONE: FIRE & FURY to the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, and the 11-bout spectacle is jam-packed with thrilling match-ups, highly anticipated debuts, and a World Championship main event.
There is a tremendous amount of excitement around this blockbuster, and rightfully so. Here are five of the biggest reasons why you must watch the show live.
#1 A Main Event Battle For Strawweight Supremacy
ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio will try to make his compatriots proud and leave the Philippine capital with the belt around his waist, but former titleholder Alex “Little Rock” Silva will do everything in his power to take the gold back to Singapore.
Silva, a Copa do Mundo Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion, has brilliantly used his elite submission skills to score back-to-back armbar victories and earn another crack at the title.
The Singapore-based Brazilian has won 89 percent of his bouts via submission, and he believes his grappling magic will be his key to victory on Friday.
Pacio, however, is no slouch on the ground. Not only has he performed well against grapplers such as former World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, but the wushu specialist has elevated his BJJ game in recent years.
That is reflected in his win ratio too, as 56 percent of his victories have come via submission – including his latest conquest of Rene “The Challenger” Catalan.
Both of these athletes have well-rounded repertoires with clearly defined strengths, which makes this World Title bout between the prodigious young lion and the hungry accomplished veteran a can’t-miss affair.
#2 Former ONE World Champions Make Their Returns
On the main card, two former ONE World Champions will try to break back into World Title contention and achieve glory once again.
This will be the Thai’s first bout since he lost the kickboxing gold, and it will be a stiff challenge. The surging “Momotaro” is coming off a triumphant 41-second knockout of Singtongnoi Por Telakun, which is the fastest finish in ONE Super Series history.
Also, in the co-main event, former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang continues his chase back towards the belt.
After returning to the win column last November, the Filipino martial arts icon is trying to build some momentum on his way to the lightweight throne.
#3 Fireworks Guaranteed In Flyweight Tilt
There will be non-stop action when two of the most electric flyweights go toe-to-toe in Manila, as Danny “The King” Kingad meets “The Hunter” Xie Wei in what could potentially become the ‘Bout Of The Night.’
Since 2018, the Team Lakay representative stole the spotlight every single time he competed with his exemplary striking, his explosive grappling, and his never-ending motor.
During that time, he has rattled off six consecutive victories, and he only recently fell to Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Championship Final.
In the Philippine capital, he has the perfect opponent to produce the type of five-star effort fans have grown accustomed to seeing from him.
Xie, who has been invincible in ONE Hero Series and ONE Warrior Series, will make his main roster debut on the strength of a five-bout knockout streak.
However, it may be difficult to extend that number as his Filipino rival has never been knocked out in his nearly six-year mixed martial arts career.
#4 Three More ONE Debuts
Three new faces will make their first appearances in The Home Of Martial Arts on Friday.
First up will be Chris Shaw. The Scottish striker, who is an IMF Muay Thai World Champion, will kick off the ONE Super Series action on the lead card against the highly-revered Rodlek PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym in a Muay Thai bantamweight match-up. The clash of styles will pit Rodlek’s power strikes against Shaw’s intense cardio.
Later on the card, two-time ISKA Muay Thai World Champion Anne “Ninja” Line Hogstad will begin her campaign for atomweight glory. The Norwegian looks to use her speed and strength to beat Australian teenage sensation Alma Juniku in their ONE Super Series Muay Thai atomweight tilt.
Closing out the lead card will be a match originally scheduled for last year’s ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix quarterfinals. Undefeated Jungle Fight Flyweight Champion Ivanildo “Monstrinho” Delfino makes his first walk to the Circle, where he will face DEEP Flyweight Champion Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada.
#5 Local Heroes Lead The Way
A blockbuster event in the Philippines would not be complete without the local heroes, and there is a trio of home favorites scheduled for action on the lead card.
Baguio City’s own Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang will attempt to extend his win streak to seven when he squares off against Thai mixed martial artist Pongsiri “The Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit in strawweight action.