The blockbuster events just keep coming from ONE Championship, as the world’s most exciting martial arts action returns on Saturday, 7 July.
The Home Of Martial Arts will land in Guangzhou, China, for ONE: BATTLE FOR THE HEAVENS, which features compelling match-ups that promise to deliver unforgettable contests.
Many of those bouts have serious implications at the highest level of martial arts – from finding top contenders to actually determining a new World Champion.
Here are the encounters that will carry the highest stakes in the Guangzhou Tianhe Gymnasium on Saturday, 7 July.
A Historic World Title
Yodcherry Sityodtong (81-18-1) and Kai Ting “Killer Bee” Chuang (16-5) stand on the cusp of making martial arts history. The winner of their bout will become the first ONE Super Series Women’s World Champion.
The pair will meet for the ONE Super Series Women’s Atomweight Kickboxing World Title in a five-round main-event contest.
At just 19 years old, Yodcherry can add to her glittering record and multiple Muay Thai World Championships by overcoming her Chinese opponent.
She can also become Evolve MMA’s second titleholder in the promotion’s stand-up league, following in the footsteps of Sam-A Gaiyanghadao, who won the ONE Super Series Flyweight Muay Thai World Title at ONE: UNSTOPPABLE DREAMS.
Though 23-year-old Chuang does not possess the same in-ring experience of her opponent, she is a three-time WAKO Kickboxing Champion who even defeated another multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion in Ayaka “Little Tiger” Miyauchi.
Her experience in high-stakes contests will be valuable against such a skilled opponent on the biggest stage of her career.
Reece “Lightning” McLaren (11-5) had his dream opportunity snatched away from him in March.
The Australian was booked to face then-ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes for the title at ONE: VISIONS OF VICTORY in Kuala Lumpur, but the Brazilian suffered a knee injury that ruled him out of the contest.
In Moraes’ stead, Gianni Subba stepped up to face McLaren, and “Lightning” took him out with an impressive second-round submission to maintain his place as the number one contender to face the division’s king.
That man is now Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio following the Filipino’s win against Moraes at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER. To challenge for the belt, Mclaren will now have to overcome Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada (19-8-2) in Guangzhou.
The Japanese star is known around the world as the DEEP Flyweight Champion, and for his remarkable eight-bout winning streak. If he makes it nine in a row, he would likely jump to the front of the queue to face “Gravity” for the coveted World Title.
Elite Atomweights Aiming To Lead The Pack
The ONE women’s atomweight division has never been stronger, and that is reflected by the caliber of the athletes in this thrilling women’s match-up.
Team Lakay’s Iniong has enjoyed an excellent first 18 months in ONE, using the skills from her background as a six-time Philippine Wushu Champion, allied with rapidly-improving grappling skills, to earn three victories. She displayed all of those abilities in April against Jenny “Lady GoGo” Huang.
Another win would equal Lee’s record for the most in the division’s history.
Nunes has been less active than her opponent, but her only win was a stunning one. The two-time Muay Thai World Champion defeated former ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title challenger, Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi in her promotional debut.
That earned her a shot at Lee’s title in Singapore, but she unfortunately fell to the reigning queen.
If she can have her hand raised at the end of her battle with Iniong, then few would argue against a second chance at winning ONE gold.
After Tarik Khbabez emerged as the first heavyweight to watch in ONE Super Series, Andre “The Giant” Meunier (42-7) and Ibrahim “Mr. Cool” El Bouni (36-6-1) will face off to earn similar honors.
Meeting at a catch weight of 105 kilograms, this contest promises to be a meeting of world-class kickboxers with serious knockout power.
Australia’s Meunier is already a four-time kickboxing world champion. Passing this tough test in Guangzhou could put him in line to win his most prestigious prize yet.
Moroccan-born El Bouni is only 25, but already has a wealth of experience and the A1WCC Kickboxing World Title on his résumé.
He will expect to mark another notch on his belt with a victory on Saturday, and take a huge step towards getting his hands on ONE’s biggest striking prize when the inaugural Heavyweight World Title match is inevitably made.
With such heavy leather being thrown, both men will need to be on top of their game, because one false move could easily end in a knockout for one of these giants.