Careers could change dramatically on Friday, 13 July when ONE Championship’s superstars compete at ONE: PURSUIT OF POWER.
Almost every bout in Kuala Lumpur’s Axiata Arena features top contenders from many of the promotion’s most stacked divisions, and they will make giant strides forward if they can get their hand raised in Malaysia.
With so much on the line, fans can expect some incredible bouts from ONE’s signature mixed martial arts bouts, as well as kickboxing and Muay Thai match-ups featuring the world’s best strikers.
Before all of that action kicks off, take a look at the athletes who have the most to gain when they enter the cage of the world’s biggest martial arts organization.
Welterweight Contender Showdowns
The overriding narrative on the ONE: PURSUIT OF POWER main card concerns four welterweights vying to be the top contenders in their division.
The evening’s headline attraction features the last two challengers for Ben “Funky” Askren‘s ONE Welterweight World Title, in a classic striker versus grappler match-up.
Local boy Thani, who is a native of Sentul, Kuala Lumpur, has employed his wrestling and jiu-jitsu skills to great effect – finishing seven of his eight victories with submissions and ground and pound.
Sweden’s Kadestam has an identical finishing rate, but he has earned most of his stoppages with his dangerous Muay Thai Skills.
A victory for either man over such elite opposition would make a huge statement.
Before the main event, the weight class’ most experienced athlete will meet its newest, undefeated addition.
If proven veteran Santos can snap his opponent’s perfect 10-0 run, or McGuire can defeat an opponent with 65 mixed martial arts wins, they will also make a massive proclamation about their top-class credentials.
World Champions Shoot For Super Series Supremacy
Drai is a Super Muay Thai Champion with a 42-6 record. Since moving from France to Thailand to train among some of the greatest strikers in history at Pattaya’s Fairtex gym, he has become renowned around the world as an elite martial artist.
He has already defeated a number of top-class Thais, and he will make his debut in ONE Super Series, knowing another victory in that vein will make him a leading contender for a World Title shot in the striking-only contests.
Nattawut also has an extensive list of accomplishments that have helped him build an outstanding 66-7-2 professional slate, including winning Lion Fight World Titles in two divisions.
Like his French opponent, a victory will go a long way to establish him as one of the organization’s best and most exciting recruits.
Jadambaa’s Comeback Quest Resumes
Another win would put the former ONE Featherweight World Champion on the precipice of another shot at the gold – currently held by Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen.
In the opposite corner to the Mongolian icon, Kazuki Tokudome will be looking to jump straight into the upper echelons of the weight class in his ONE debut.
A victory over such a well-known and respected warrior in his first bout in the Home Of Martial Arts will certainly achieve that.
Featherweight Power Players Battle To Move Up
“The Underdog” Li Kai Wen was ready for a quick turnaround.
It only took him 10 seconds to stop Rodian Menchavez on 23 June at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER, so he is unhurt, still in peak physical condition, and happy to jump back into action immediately.
Winning a second bout in a matter of two weeks would be a remarkable feat, and bring his 2018 win tally to three thanks to his 43-second choke of Roel Rosauro in February.
A run like that would present a strong case for the dream rematch he called for in Macau – a ONE Featherweight World Title shot against Nguyen, who defeated him earlier in his career.
His opponent will be no pushover, however. Emilio “The Honey Badger” Urrutia has his own ambitions to launch a fresh assault on the featherweight division.
Having his hand raised after a bout with another talented young athlete like Li will do wonders for his prospects of moving up the ranks, and fulfilling the promise he has shown in his two ONE triumphs so far.