5 Rising Stars To Watch At ONE: FULL CIRCLE

Pictures from the MMA fight between Fabricio Andrade and Li Kai Wen at ONE: WINTER WARRIORS II

Every ONE Championship event brings a fresh batch of upstarts who are hoping to make a name for themselves on the global stage.

At ONE: FULL CIRCLE next Friday, 25 February, fans will get a taste of that immense potential before the night is capped off by three World Title showdowns.

Given their hard-hitting striking, explosive wrestling, and devastating submissions skills, here are five rising stars to keep an eye on when the action gets underway at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Fabricio Andrade

Pictures from the MMA fight between Fabricio Andrade and Li Kai Wen at ONE: WINTER WARRIORS II

Fabricio “Wonder Boy” Andrade has certainly lived up to his moniker since arriving in The Home of Martial Arts.

The Brazilian striker has amassed three straight victories over elite opposition, earning himself the #4 spot in the bantamweight mixed martial arts rankings despite being just eight bouts into his professional mixed martial arts career.

The 24-year-old used his world-class Muay Thai base to dispatch “The Underdog” Li Kai Wen, his improved grappling to submit Mark “Tyson” Abelardo, and his all-around game to defeat veteran Shoko Sato via decision.

Andrade has risen to meet every difficult challenge so far, and Jeremy “The Juggernaut” Pacatiw will present another one.

The wushu stylist from Team Lakay possesses a striking game unlike any other “Wonder Boy” has faced since transitioning to MMA, but Andrade will look for a way to negotiate Pacatiw’s intriguing offense en route to another statement victory.

Drex Zamboanga

Drex Zamboanga staring down Detchadin Sornsirisuphathin

Following his impressive debut win over Detchadin “Detchpool” Sornsirisuphathin at ONE: A NEW BREED  in August 2020, Drex “T-Rex” Zamboanga is hoping to claim another scalp in the packed lightweight MMA ranks.

Veteran campaigner Rahul “The Kerala Krusher” Raju will be a tough test for the Marrok Force man, but if Zamboanga can overcome the Indian, then he’ll start to show up on the radar of the division’s elite. 

The 28-year-old has nine wins in his career to date. Eight of those have come inside the distance, with an even split of submissions and knockouts, proving that he has the versatility to finish rivals in any range.

He’s blended his karate base with a variety of other styles to form a potent mixed martial arts arsenal, but he won’t have it easy against “The Kerala Krusher,” who’s gone up against the likes of Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon, Amir Khan, and Honorio “The Rock” Banario

As the older brother of #2-ranked women’s atomweight contender Denice “Lycan Queen” Zamboanga, a win for “T-Rex” would make them the new sibling pair to watch out for inside the Circle. 

Valmir Da Silva 

Surging Brazilian Valmir “Junior” da Silva will make his big-league debut against former ONE Welterweight World Champion Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam.

Silva started martial arts with BJJ when he was 14 years old, but after adding Muay Thai to his training at 18, he knew it would take him to the next level in mixed martial arts.

The 25-year-old opened his professional slate with a KO in his native Manaus back in 2017, and he’s compiled a stunning 8-1 record since then. Most notably, “Junior” has earned all of those victories by knockout, largely driven by his ferocious punching power.

Unlike some other big hitters who start off as a threat and fade as the bout wears on, Silva has shown his ability to carry his power into the later rounds – just like Kadestam – so there’s never a good time to switch off against him. 

“Junior” is hungry to make a big impression, and it would send shockwaves through the division if he takes out one of the biggest hitters in his first promotional appearance.

Vladimir Kuzmin

Vladimir Kuzmin will step onto the global stage in a Muay Thai clash against Chris Shaw, and he’ll bring a lot of momentum into the biggest moment of his combat sports career.

The Russian has won his last 10 fights, which includes a one-night “Road to ONE” tournament in his homeland. 

The 25-year-old is a lifelong martial artist who started with sanda when he was 6 before moving into Muay Thai at 11. He collected a slew of accolades at the youth and amateur levels, and he is now 16-1 in the pro ranks. 

Kuzmin has a wide array of tools in his arsenal, including his favored spinning elbows and spinning backfists, so you can expect the unexpected when he enters the Circle against his Scottish rival. 

Shaw showed his resilience when he pushed Rodlek PK.Saenchai the distance in his sole ONE Super Series appearance to date, so the Russian will have to fire on all cylinders to win their bantamweight encounter. 

Smilla Sundell

Smilla “The Storm” Sundell already has an incredible amount of experience for a 17-year-old Westerner in the world of Muay Thai, and with a 31-5-1 record, she’s only just scratching the surface of her athletic capabilities. 

The Swede has lived in Thailand since she was 12 and now fights out of the world-famous Fairtex Training Center, which is home to the likes of superstars Stamp Fairtex and Saemapetch Fairtex

After working alongside some of the biggest names in ONE Super Series, “The Storm” will be well-prepared for her debut against Diandra Martin.

Moreover, Sundell has competed against some of Thailand’s finest competitors, and her relentless style makes her hard to deal with.

More akin to the likes of Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon and Rodlek than the muay femur slicksters, the Swede will be on the front foot from the opening bell as she plans a big future in The Home of Martial Arts. 

Read more: The Best Pictures From ONE: BAD BLOOD

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