Breaking Down The MMA Matchups At ONE Friday Fights 9
The ONE Friday Fights 9 card is dominated by nine elite-level Muay Thai contests, but there are also a couple of MMA bouts that should not be overlooked when the action gets underway on March 17.
While fans at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium will undoubtedly get their fill of stand-up battles, the all-around sport will bring just as much excitement to the audience at the iconic venue.
Here’s everything you need to know about the MMA showdowns slated for this Friday’s event in Bangkok, Thailand.
Tatsumitsu Wada vs. Ernesto Montilla
Japanese veteran Tatsumitsu Wada will welcome Filipino athlete Ernesto Montilla to ONE Championship in a flyweight MMA contest.
Wada has fought 10 times in the organization, picking up wins over the likes of Gustavo Balart and Daichi Takenaka and going the distance with current ONE Flyweight World Champion Demetrious Johnson.
“The Sweeper” has also battled to decisions with three of the division’s current top-five contenders – Kairat Akhmetov, Danny Kingad, and Reece McLaren – proving he can hold his own with the best.
And although Wada can engage in any range, his tricky grappling gives his rivals the most trouble.
However, Montilla is riding a five-fight winning streak, and four of those were via submission, so he’ll be happy to engage in a ground fight.
The Filipino’s victories have come on the regional circuit and against opponents with less experience than Wada, so this will be his chance to prove that he belongs in the big leagues.
He came close to earning that opportunity through ONE Warrior Series Philippines until an injury forced him out of the competition, but now, it has become a reality.
Still, “The Sweeper” doesn’t want to be anyone’s stepping stone, and he’ll be eager to get back on track and begin climbing back toward the top, where he feels he belongs.
Yoon Chang Min vs. Kirill Gorobets
Yoon Chang Min and Kirill Gorobets are both looking to continue their winning ways in this 159-pound catchweight MMA bout.
South Korea’s Yoon halted Keanu Subba’s winning streak with a hard-fought decision victory last October, while Gorobets bounced back from a debut defeat to Martin Nguyen with a dominant display against Bruno Pucci.
“The Big Heart” showcased all facets of his game against Subba last time out, and despite it being his first points victory after registering five stoppage wins, his stock rose when he got the nod over the established Malaysian.
Ukraine’s Gorobets had a tough first assignment against former two-division ONE World Champion Nguyen, but he rebounded quickly by pummelling BJJ stylist Pucci in his sophomore appearance.
Both men have concussive power in their strikes and potent submissions, as well as big ambitions in ONE’s featherweight ranks.
Whoever can come up with a win will likely get another crack at entering the division’s upper echelon, so expect them to come out firing with the direction of their careers at stake.