What’s At Stake For Every Athlete At ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX IV

Nov 19, 2020
Wang Junguang celebrates his win against Federico Roma at ONE DAWN OF VALOR

This Friday, 20 November, ONE Championship will close out its most thrilling event series yet with ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX IV.

The previously recorded show will feature a top-ranked kickboxer begin his road to redemption, a captivating co-main event between Muay Thai World Champions, and three riveting mixed martial arts fights.

Before the action goes down in Singapore, let’s take a look at what every athlete will be fighting for.

Aslanbek Zikreev & Wang Junguang

The evening’s main event will see former ONE World Title challenger “Golden Boy” Wang Junguang take on promotional newcomer Aslanbek Zikreev in a 58.3-kilogram catch weight bout with major implications.

After delivering a thunderous first-round knockout in his ONE debut back in October 2019, Wang fell short of defeating Thai legend Sam-A Gaiyanghadao and claiming the inaugural ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Championship in December.

Eleven months later, the Henan native is ready to kick-start his road to redemption. “Golden Boy,” who’s currently the #2-ranked strawweight kickboxing contender, wants another crack at Sam-A. More importantly, he hopes to become China’s first-ever male ONE World Champion.

In order to do that, Wang must get past a dangerous promotional newcomer in Zikreev.

The debutant is a Russian and European Muay Thai Champion who’s looking to make an instant impact in ONE Super Series. 

There’s no doubt that Zikreev would make a loud statement by defeating the highly revered “Golden Boy” in his first bout on the global stage.

Rocky Ogden & Joseph Lasiri

There may be bragging rights on the line in this Muay Thai World Champion versus Muay Thai World Champion co-main event showdown, but each man is also fighting for so much more.

At only 21 years old, WPMF Muay Thai World Champion Rocky Ogden is one of the most talented young stars in the world’s largest martial arts organization.

The Aussie endured a rough outing in his debut, losing to Sam-A in the inaugural ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Title contest in February. But just like Wang, Ogden believes he can earn a rematch and dethrone the Thai legend.

The #2-ranked strawweight Muay Thai contender will take a difficult first step on Friday, as he’s competing outside of his usual weight class to battle WBC Muay Thai World Champion Joseph “The Hurricane” Lasiri in a 59-kilogram catch weight affair.

Lasiri is an ultra-dangerous competitor who takes a licking and keeps on ticking. The Italian has engaged in many close battles and experienced a breakout moment when he became the first – and only – person to defeat #3-ranked bantamweight kickboxing contender Hiroki Akimoto.

While Ogden is looking to rejoin the World Title picture, “The Hurricane” will be aiming for an upset. And if he beats the Australian, perhaps Lasiri could decide to move down a weight class and begin his own charge toward the strawweight Muay Thai crown.

Bruno Pucci & Kwon Won Il

The bantamweight division’s ranks have gotten a whole lot richer, as former featherweight stars Bruno “Puccibull” Pucci and “Pretty Boy” Kwon Won Il both seem determined to make a run at Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes’ ONE Bantamweight World Championship.

Each man, however, must climb their way up the ladder, and the next step has only room for one set of feet.

Pucci is undoubtedly one of the top grapplers in the weight class. The Brazilian is a two-time BJJ No-Gi World Champion who has elevated his stand-up skills in recent years. And with a baby on the way, he is more motivated than ever to succeed in mixed martial arts.

Kwon may not become a dad in the next several months, but with three dazzling first-round knockouts in ONE, he’s one of the most dangerous strikers in the bantamweight field.

However, the South Korean phenom has had tough experiences against grapplers. He believes his game is ready for Pucci, and he’ll have a chance to display that improved ground game on Friday.

Both of these competitors are highly skilled in their respective crafts, but only one can emerge victorious at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX IV.

Ryogo Takahashi & Yoon Chang Min

This featherweight matchup will feature a thrilling styles clash, and the winner could find themselves knocking on the door of ONE’s Athlete Rankings.

Shooto Pacific Rim Champion Ryogo “Kaitai” Takahashi was riding an eight-bout winning streak before new featherweight king Thanh Le abruptly snapped it in their January firefight. That marked the Japanese man’s first loss in six years, but he’s ready to rebound from that debacle, begin a new streak, and ultimately earn a rematch with the Vietnamese-American.

But starting that streak will be immensely difficult against a rising superstar who’s shown no signs of weakness.

“The Big Heart” Yoon Chang Min is a master of several disciplines, and he has cleverly blended them together to become an unstoppable force in mixed martial arts. He’s 4-0 in his young career, has dominated every man who’s stood across from him, and has finished all of them before the halfway point of the second round.

When Yoon meets Takahashi, he’ll be taking on the toughest opponent of his career. And if he can defeat the Shooto Pacific Rim Champion, it would speak volumes and put the featherweight division on notice.

Maira Mazar & Choi Jeong Yun

Opening the show will be an intriguing battle between two rising female stars.

Maira Mazar is currently the #5-ranked contender in the women’s strawweight division. The Brazilian endured a difficult promotional debut, falling to #4-ranked Ayaka “Zombie” Miura this past January, so she is motivated to prove she deserves her spot in ONE’s Athlete Rankings.

To do so, she is moving up in weight and accepting a 61.35-kilogram catch weight bout against undefeated South Korean debutant Choi Jeong Yun, who has brilliantly transitioned to mixed martial arts from kickboxing and has used her stand-up arsenal to knock out every opponent who’s stood in her way.

On Friday, Choi wants to keep her undefeated record and KO streak alive. If she does that against the #5-ranked strawweight contender, the South Korean would truly announce herself as a force to be reckoned with in mixed martial arts.

Read more: 7 Fun Facts About BJJ World Champion Bruno Pucci

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