The capacity crowd inside the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar had plenty to cheer about during a blockbuster night of martial arts action at ONE: REIGN OF VALOR on Friday, 8 March.
In the main event, ONE Welterweight World Champion Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam had a successful first World Title defense, and many other international and homegrown stars delighted the fans with tremendous performances on the undercard.
As the dust begins to settle, we take a look into the crystal ball and see what could be next for some of the night’s biggest winners.
After defeating previously unbeaten American Tyler McGuire to claim the ONE Welterweight World Title in November, Kadestam once again showcased his incredible ability to stave off intense grappling attacks.
The Swede fended off Georgiy Kichigin’s best efforts to secure the TKO victory. With improved takedown defense and arguably the best striking in the entire division, Kadestam could be a nightmare for anyone trying to rip the belt away from him.
His next challenger could come in the form of Kiamrian Abbasov, who possesses a unique blend of grappling and ferocious striking.
Abbasov is coming off back-to-back wins, including a stunning first-round victory over former ONE World Title challenger Agilan Thani. The Kyrgyzstan native battered Thani with his boxing, before submitting the Malaysian via rear-naked choke in December.
Kadestam has been tested by formidable grapplers, but perhaps Abbasov could be his biggest threat yet in the striking department.
It was an important victory for the local hero, who looked to bounce back from his first career loss in October.
Now that he is back in the win column, the 34-year-old featherweight is inching closer to World Title contention. But to get a shot at the gold, he needs a step up in competition.
Perhaps that next step could be Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly.
The Team Lakay representative has faced the division’s best, and his favored wushu stylings would make for an entertaining stand-up battle. Kelly’s game is constantly improving, and the veteran would be a solid test to see where “Bushido” ranks in the weight class.
Rene “The Challenger” Catalan has been on an incredible run over the past two and a half years. He has racked up six consecutive victories, including his latest win in Myanmar.
He made a statement to the top of the division, as he became the first person to stop former ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito. What’s more, he accomplished the feat in a single round.
Considering the run he has been on lately, it is virtually impossible to deny the Filipino a shot at the belt, so he could very well face the winner of the upcoming ONE: ROOTS OF HONOR co-main event on Friday, 12 April.
Former Cage Warriors Heavyweight Champion Mauro “The Hammer” Cerilli picked up his first win in The Home Of Martial Arts with a jaw-dropping knockout against veteran striker Alain “The Panther” Ngalani.
It was a huge victory for the Italian, who looks to work his way back into the ONE Heavyweight World Title picture.
With another knockout added to his resume, Cerilli could have a potential showdown with Alexandre “Bebezao” Machado next.
The Brazilian is coming off an impressive TKO win against Hideki “Shrek” Sekine, and with the kind of power he and Cerilli generate, it would almost be a guaranteed display of fireworks for the fans.