The heroes of ONE Championship made a thunderous return to the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and participated in a dramatic night of martial arts action on Friday, 12 July.
At ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY, the world-class athletes delivered everything in their respective performances — from enthralling knockouts and heart-racing submissions to pulsating back-and-forth action.
Now that the dust has settled on another spectacular event, we take a look at what could be next for the night’s biggest winners.
Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan showed the world why he is widely considered the pound-for-pound best on the planet with a performance of slick striking to outpoint Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy in their main event clash.
The Italian kickboxing ace’s victory sees him progress to the semifinals of the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix, where he will face Thai star “Smokin’” Jo Nattawut.
This match-up might be best described using ONE commentator Michael Schiavello’s descriptions of both men. He described Petrosyan as “The Ferrari Of Kickboxing,” while he has often referred to Nattawut as the “Muay Thai Monster Truck.”
It is an apt comparison, with the sleek, speedy striking of the Italian contrasting with the rough, tough power of Nattawut. This spectacular clash of styles will undoubtedly capture the imagination of fans when they meet in the tournament’s final four.
The Brazilian’s unanimous decision victory over ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee not only demonstrated her ability to transition her grappling skills to mixed martial arts, but it also showed that she can compete with one of the best and most well-rounded female titleholders in the organization.
Most importantly, it proved she is now worthy of a shot at the ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title, which is currently held by “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan. A match-up between the pair will pit a pure grappler against a World Champion who loves nothing more than to stand and trade.
Xiong will test Nicolini’s striking abilities to the limit, while the Brazilian will pose a serious threat to the Chinese hero on the mat. The big question will be which of these two athletes can adapt best to the other’s dominant skill set in order to claim victory and leave with the belt?
Ev “E.T.” Ting bounced back in style in Kuala Lumpur by submitting Pancrase Welterweight World Champion Daichi Abe via rear-naked choke to propel himself back into the ONE Lightweight World Title conversation.
Now, he needs to follow up with a massive win over one of the top contenders in the division, and a match-up against Singapore’s Amir Khan would offer a mouth-watering clash between two of the most established knockout artists in the weight class.
The Malaysian star’s punching power and gritty toughness would present an interesting contrast to Khan’s footwork and slick striking, and it would surely deliver an exciting spectacle for the fans.
India’s Gurdarshan “Saint Lion” Mangat looked comfortable in his unanimous decision victory over Indonesia’s Abro Fernandes at ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY, and a potential match-up with one of the night’s other big winners may make a lot of sense.
Aleksi “Giant” Toivonen impressed hugely in his promotional debut, as he submitted Japanese contender Akihiro Fujisawa in the first round via rear-naked choke. The Finnish newcomer could offer a step up in competition for Mangat, who is quickly climbing the flyweight ranks.
Toivonen has similar aspirations, too, and he would surely relish the opportunity to leapfrog a fellow rising contender.
Adrian “Papua Badboy” Mattheis delivered an all-action performance to defeat teenage Chinese prodigy Li Zhe via second-round TKO in his strawweight outing in Kuala Lumpur. After four wins in a row, and seven victories from his last eight contests, the Indonesian’s form demands he be given a step up in competition.
One possible dance partner for a future match-up could be Jeremy “The Jaguar” Miado.
The Filipino striker has defeated respected names like former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke and Chinese wrestler Peng Xue Wen, so he could certainly test the Indonesian’s mettle.
Myanmar’s Bozhena Antoniyar was given all she could handle in her atomweight bout with Bi Nguyen and came away with a razor-thin split decision. That puts her on a two-bout win streak, and she is looking to extend that now.
The next test could potentially come in the form of a relative newcomer. Undefeated Japanese star Itsuki “Strong Heart Fighter” Hirata has only competed once under the ONE banner, but she kicked off her professional career with a first-round finish of Angelie Sabanal at ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST in June.
A potential clash between the two would help gauge both athletes’ level of development and see which of the pair is ready for a step up in competition later this year.