ONE Championship is ready to finish the BATTLEGROUND event series with more thrilling martial arts affairs.
This Friday, 27 August, the organization will premiere ONE: BATTLEGROUND III across the globe, and there is a lot on the line for the dozen world-class athletes who are scheduled for action.
A pair of Muay Thai stars will look to earn a ONE World Title opportunity, while two competitors will vie to enter the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix as an alternate. Plus, the card features a plethora of names who are trying to claw their way into ONE’s Athlete Rankings.
Here, we break down the stakes for every fighter competing at ONE: BATTLEGROUND III this Friday.
Sitthichai & Tawanchai
A Muay Thai dream match will headline the show, and the winning performer could earn a ONE World Title challenge for their next act.
Sitthichai “Killer Kid” Sitsongpeenong has spent the last seven years establishing himself as the premier featherweight kickboxer on the planet. He is a seven-time Glory Kickboxing World Champion and was widely considered the top pound-for-pound competitor in the sport for three years.
On Friday, he’ll compete in “the art of eight limbs” for the first time since 2015, and a victory could catapult him toward a crack at ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Champion Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy.
Meanwhile, Tawanchai PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym finds himself in a similar situation.
The #4-ranked bantamweight Muay Thai contender is moving up a weight class to challenge his famed compatriot, and he knows a win of this magnitude would propel him to “worldwide fame.”
Moreover, the 22-year-old could earn a shot at bantamweight Muay Thai king Nong-O Gaiyanghadao or decide to remain at featherweight and challenge Petchmorakot.
Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke & Banma Duoji
The co-main event features a strawweight icon and a rising star looking to make a statement in one of the promotion’s most talent-rich divisions.
Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke has achieved quite a lot in his combat sports career. The Singapore-based Thai is a multiple-time Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai World Champion and the inaugural ONE Strawweight World Champion.
The 42-year-old has experienced some adversity since losing the strawweight gold, but he plans to prove he can still compete at the elite level in mixed martial arts.
The living legend will be fighting in a record-setting 14th strawweight matchup (the most in ONE history), and a victory would put him in the upper echelon of the division. Plus, if that victory comes via KO or TKO, he would have the most strawweight knockout (5) and tie reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio for the second-most strawweight wins (6).
But “The Prince” Banma Duoji looks to spoil the veteran’s plans.
The 24-year-old Chinese hotshot will be making his promotional debut on Friday, and he’s eager to beat a former World Champion and take a huge first step toward the gold.
Unless he gets a 22-second KO or a 69-second submission, Banma won’t be entering ONE’s record books. Still, a stoppage victory of any sort would maintain his stunning 100 percent finishing rate and improve his overall slate to 14-1.
Dae Hwan Kim & Xie Wei
Another competitive weight class will be under the spotlight, as two of Asia’s most talented flyweight stars are set to collide in the Circle.
“Holy Beast” Dae Hwan Kim was previously considered one of the top bantamweights in mixed martial arts, even challenging bantamweight king Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes for the crown. But the South Korean has suffered some difficult losses since his transition to flyweight, falling to a trio of top-five contenders.
On Friday, “Holy Beast” will aim to break the cycle, get back in the win column, and claim his first victory in the weight class.
But standing in his way is “The Hunter” Xie Wei, who is riding a two-bout winning streak and could be just one victory away from claiming a spot in the division’s top five.
The Chinese knockout artist has already stopped Cambodian Kun Khmer stylist Chan Rothana and Indian grappling ace Kantharaj Agasa “Kannadiga,” and another strong performance against a former ONE World Title challenger like Dae could be the breakthrough he needs to join the rankings.
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Bi Nguyen & Jenelyn Olsim
They may not be in the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix, but one of these athletes will become an alternate after Friday’s matchup.
Jenelyn Olsim is coming off a huge victory, as she submitted Maira Mazar in her main roster debut and claimed the #5-ranked women’s strawweight contender spot. Now, she is dropping down to atomweight and looking to prove herself once more.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese-American star Bi “Killer Bee” Nguyen is coming off the biggest win of her career, as she defeated Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat via split decision to hand the wrestling megastar her first mixed martial arts loss.
Adding some extra intrigue, Nguyen trained with Mazar at Xtreme Couture in preparation for this bout against Olsim.
Tial Thang & Song Min Jong
This bantamweight mixed martial arts matchup will feature an undefeated phenom and a national titleholder.
Myanmar’s “The Dragon Leg” Tial Thang is widely known as the protege of former two-division ONE World Champion Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang, and just like his mentor, he’s gone on a tear in The Home Of Martial Arts.
Tial Thang has earned three dominant victories on the global stage, but the unbeaten rising star will be facing his toughest challenge yet this Friday.
South Korean MMA Champion “Double Hearts” Song Min Jong is a true veteran of the game. The Seoul native trains at the acclaimed Monster House gym and is a handful for even the most accomplished mixed martial artists.
After an intense bout against former ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, Song is still searching for his first promotional win, and he expects to get it on Friday.
Purev Otgonjargal & Ben Royle
Opening the show will be a bantamweight fight between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialists who also possess explosive striking.
This time, however, he wants to stick to his bread and butter. The Englishman has predicted a rear-naked or triangle-choke finish, and fans will find out if Royle can truly call his shot.
On the other side, Purev Otgonjargal wants to make a loud statement in his first ONE appearance. The Mongolian has earned all seven of his career victories via submission, and he would love nothing more than to leave Singapore with his 100 percent finishing rate intact.