ONE Championship’s mixed martial arts superstars are ready to make an impact this Friday, 13 August.
That evening, the world’s largest martial arts organization will premiere ONE: BATTLEGROUND II across the globe, and every athlete on the card will be out to prove themselves in the Circle.
Some of those fighters are hoping to gate-crash the official rankings, while others are trying to silence their doubters and show they still have what it takes to hang at the elite level.
Without further ado, here are the stakes for everyone competing at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Zhang Lipeng & Eduard Folayang
The main event features a lightweight clash between a Filipino icon attempting to prove that he can still hang with the division’s elite and a Chinese phenom looking to kick-start his legacy in The Home Of Martial Arts.
Former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang was in a much different place a few years ago. He started 2019 as the division’s reigning king, but since then, he’s lost his crown and five of his last six fights.
Another loss would push Folayang even further away from his goal of regaining the belt, so a victory on Friday is crucial to his World Title aspirations. And if he wins, the 37-year-old would break a tie with old rival Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki for the most lightweight victories (13) in promotional history.
However, “The Warrior” Zhang Lipeng has no intention of letting that happen – at least not at his own expense.
Instead, the 31-year-old Foshan native is looking to carry his incredible success from the Chinese regional circuit over to the global stage. He’s gone 21-2-1 over the past six years, and he is planning to put the entire lightweight division on notice.
By defeating Folayang, “The Warrior” would certainly make a loud statement and get closer to his dream matchups with lightweight king Christian “The Warrior” Lee and #2-ranked Aoki.
Alex Silva & Miao Li Tao
The winner of this co-main event showdown will be the #5-ranked contender in the strawweight mixed martial arts division.
Former ONE Strawweight World Champion Alex “Little Rock” Silva currently holds down that spot, but he wants to leave no doubt that he deserves it – and a whole lot more.
After losing his last two bouts via razor-close split decision – a World Title challenge of reigning king Joshua “The Passion” Pacio and a clash with #4-ranked Hiroba Minowa – the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace wants nothing more than a finish.
Should Silva pull that off, he would tie Evolve teammate Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke for the third-most strawweight finishes (5) in promotional history. And if “Little Rock” accomplishes the feat via submission, he would own the most of any strawweight (also 5).
Unless Miao Li Tao knocks out the Brazilian within 22 seconds or submits him within 69 seconds, he won’t hold a strawweight record.
But the Chinese juggernaut has already proven to be kryptonite for Evolve MMA’s strawweight athletes, as he previously knocked out Dejdamrong and beat Ryuto “Dragon Boy” Sawada in their recent rematch.
If Miao takes out Silva, he’ll claim his spot in the rankings and own the distinction of defeating three of Evolve’s top strawweights.
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Thomas Narmo & Alain Ngalani
In this heavyweight mixed martial arts tilt, one debutant will be looking to make a statement, while a fan favorite will be trying to slay a true giant.
Former professional hockey player Thomas “The Last Viking” Narmo has been dominant so far in his MMA career, going 4-0 with all four victories ending in the first round.
Now, the 27-year-old Norwegian can follow in “Reug Reug” Oumar Kane’s footsteps by defeating one of the promotion’s most beloved superstars in his first appearance on the global stage.
Though Alain “The Panther” Ngalani holds a massive experience advantage over his European foe, he has a tall task in front of him – literally and figuratively.
Narmo will enter this clash with a 200-centimeter height advantage, but the Cameroon-born striker will look to hit his trademark “Panther High Kick” and create a highlight-reel moment for the ages.
This will be Ngalani’s 10th heavyweight bout – the most in divisional history. And should he get the KO, he would tie former ONE World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera for the most heavyweight wins, finishes, and knockouts (4).
Eko Roni Saputra & Liu Peng Shuai
Multiple-time Indonesian Wrestling Champion “Dynamite” Eko Roni Saputra will aim to continue his brilliant transition to mixed martial arts at ONE: BATTLEGROUND II.
The 30-year-old Evolve representative has quickly established himself as Indonesia’s top flyweight star; he’s currently riding a four-bout winning streak, with all of those victories coming in the first round.
At the Singapore Indoor Stadium, Saputra will look to notch his fifth straight win – and this one is a little bit personal.
Liu believes history will repeat itself Friday. He’s predicting a third-round finish of Saputra, which would make him 2-0 against Indonesia and elevate his profile in the flyweight division.
Otgonbaatar Nergui & Rahul Raju
Opening the show is a lightweight battle between a Mongolian newcomer who aspires to make an instant impact and an Indian veteran who’s looking to recapture some magic.
Otgonbaatar Nergui is following in the footsteps of two fellow Mongolians in former ONE Featherweight World Champion Narantungalag “Tungaa” Jadambaa and ONE Warrior Series alum Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg.
He earned an invite to ONE’s main roster after defeating Takuya Nagata at ONE Warrior Series 8. Now, he’ll bring his 100 percent finishing rate and assorted skills into this debut, but nothing will come easy against Rahul “The Kerala Krusher” Raju.
The Indian enjoyed a breakout 2019, earning a pair of rear-naked choke victories to end the year strong. But Raju saw his momentum derailed following back-to-back knockout losses.
Now, the Singapore-based fighter’s back is up against the wall, and he desperately wants to get back on the winning track. “The Kerala Krusher” can do that with a victory on Friday – and if he has his way, it’ll come via submission within the first two rounds.