ONE Championship will make a glorious return to Shanghai, China, this weekend.
The world’s largest martial arts organization is scheduled to host its latest spectacle, ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON, at the Baoshan Arena on Saturday, 8 September, and fans are buzzing about the explosive 10-bout card.
Now, just a few days away from event night, we checked in with three of ONE’s most popular heroes – Alain “The Panther” Ngalani, Arnaud “The Game” Lepont, and two-division ONE World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen – to get their thoughts on the most anticipated contests taking place at ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON.
Alain Ngalani: Xiong Jing Nan is on fire at the moment. Considering she is fighting on home turf, that is even more of an incentive to win. I think it will take more than Santos to stop her, so I am backing Xiong on this one.
Martin Nguyen: I am a massive fan of “The Panda.” When she goes out there, she puts on a show. I am a big fan of watching her fight. I love girls who can swing, and she is one of the girls who puts her heart on the line. It will be a good fight, but I am picking her.
Arnaud Lepont: Xiong Jing Nan is surrounded by an incredible team. She is on a big run, and her three last fights showed she can dominate the elite of her division. If you compare their past performances, I have not a single doubt that Xiong will get her hand raised. I see her keeping the fight on her feet, and finishing this bout with a highlight-reel knockout.
The Evolve–Team Lakay rivalry is renewed at ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON, as Singaporean knockout artist Amir Khan meets former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario in a lightweight showdown.
Alain Ngalani: Honorio and Amir are two fast-paced strikers who will make for an interesting match. I think Honorio is a bit more well-rounded with his ground work than Amir, and has more experience, so I am going with him on this one.
Martin Nguyen: Honorio, all day. The guy is a top talent, and I am a fan of his fighting style. He is a smart fighter. I think Amir is going to be aggressive and come forward with his strikes, but I think Honorio is going to keep countering. I think Honorio has a wrestling advantage – Amir has not shown it that much for me to say he is a better wrestler, but you never know.
Arnaud Lepont: Evolve just got a new head coach in Eduardo Pamplona, and he will make sure Amir comes 100 percent prepared. I feel that he will pressure Honorio, keep the center of the cage, and confuse him with a mix of striking and well-timed takedowns. I see Amir getting his hand raised at the end of this beautiful back-and-forth battle.
Martin Nguyen: I think Christian Lee is going to win. I think Christian has a little bit of an edge in terms of wrestling, striking, and explosiveness. He has youth, as well. But you can never count Edward out. Edward is a powerful striker with good takedown defense.
Arnaud Lepont: They are very similar in style, but “The Warrior” got his BJJ black belt earlier this year. I do not see “The Ferocious” being able to handle the ground game of a young and aggressive black belt. Using his reach and unmatchable cardio, I see Christian peppering him with strikes, getting the fight to the ground, and finishing Edward by submission.