Every match-up set for ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE presents a ton of intrigue and excitement as we approach event day next Friday, 28 February, in Singapore.
Here are five big questions that we will find out the answers to when the Circle returns to “The Lion City” for another stacked evening of martial arts action.
#1 Repeat Or Redemption?
The Japanese-American has looked better, hungrier, and more dangerous in her three contests since then and done more than enough to earn her chance at redemption.
However, whether that will be enough to dethrone a true martial arts phenom is another matter. Stamp followed up her capture of the ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Title with her first defense of the belt. Even though she was not at 100 percent, she dug deep to get the edge against Alma Juniku over five rounds.
Every time Stamp has been put to the test, she has risen to the occasion to turn her challengers away. Despite her young age, she also has the experience advantage over Todd, but if anyone has the heart, strength, and skill to pull off an upset and snatch the ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Title away, it could be “JT.”
#2 Will The Legend Or Phenom Prevail?
The athletes in the co-main event will come into the inaugural ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Title match at polar opposite ends of their careers.
Sam-A Gaiyanghadao has done it all in more than 25 years as an athlete, winning 368 bouts and more World Titles than most men would ever dream of – including two ONE Super Series belts so far. He will face Rocky Ogden, who has won one World Championship, but at just 20, could have at least a decade ahead of him to win many more.
Some fans will say Sam-A has seen it all and will have too much skill and veteran experience for his young rival. However, Ogden’s defenders would argue he is hungry, fearless, and has the power to score a huge upset.
Last May, Jonathan “The General” Haggerty shocked the world when he stole the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Title from the Thai icon, but we will have to wait to find out whether the Aussie is ready to fulfill his potential and make lightning strike again.
#3 Can Khan Recapture His Finishing Touch?
However, the last time Khan was in action, he admits he did not compete in his usual style. The Singaporean was more cautious as he pursued a safety-first strategy to get back in the win column at all costs.
Now that he is back on track, the 25-year-old is determined to do what he does best against Kimihiro Eto. If he can, he will re-establish himself in the upper echelon of his stacked weight class.
#4 Can The Icon Do What He Does Best?
Yoshihiro “Sexy Yama” Akiyama is one of those athletes that gets martial arts fans excited all over the world.
The Japanese-South Korean is like no one else in his industry with his stunning looks, iconic entrances, and captivating charisma. Most importantly, though, he is always a joy to watch when he competes because of his beautiful judo techniques that contrast with his predilection for standing and trading strikes.
Akiyama’s opponent, Sherif “The Shark” Mohamed, is determined to throw everything at his rival in search of a finish. The prospect of a huge welterweight like the Egyptian going all-out like that could be a concern for some, but it is more likely to bring the best out of “Sexy Yama” – whether he is countering grappling offense with trips and sweeps, or going blow-for-blow.
#5 Who Will Be Xiong’s Next Challenger?
Miura was one of the breakout stars in The Home Of Martial Arts last year, and her third straight scarf-hold Americana submission in January elevated her to within striking distance of her division’s summit. It also extended her overall winning streak to six bouts, making her the most in-form athlete in the weight class.
Teo has challenged for the belt before and is also coming off the biggest victory of her career – an inspiring win against eight-time BJJ World Champion Michelle Nicolini, who went on to defeat “Unstoppable” Angela Lee. A second straight win against a competitor of Miura’s caliber would solidify her status as the top contender.
Now all that remains to be seen is whether the Singaporean can hold her own on the ground as well as she did in her last match and implement her striking, or the Japanese athlete will grab another trademark submission and make Teo tap for the first time in her career.