ONE Championship descended upon the capital city of China on Saturday, 16 November, as ONE: AGE OF DRAGONS ignited Beijing with a card filled with amazing bouts.
The show was highlighted by some signature victories from some of the most talented martial artists on the global stage, who earned the right to move onwards and upwards with their impressive performances.
These are the kinds of exciting match-ups that could be in store for them in 2020.
The Thai star is a legend with more than 300 bouts on his résumé, as well as a perfect 4-0 ONE Super Series record, and comfortable competing under kickboxing or Muay Thai rules.
However, the 38-year-old does not want to face one of his countrymen for a belt. With Rodtang “Iron Man” Jitmuangnon in possession of the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Title, that makes Ennahachi his top target.
Lerdsila would offer a completely new challenge for the man from Utrecht with his unique, slippery style, but he will first have to get past Elias “The Sniper” Mahmoudi next month at ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS.
The French-Algerian has already challenged for the gold, but his attempt to add to his three World Titles was cut short by injury. If he can pull off the biggest win of his career, he will be a worthy challenger for “Tweety” next year, too.
Though he is also primarily a practitioner of “the art of eight limbs,” his fast hands and slick technique make him the perfect candidate for a good old tear-up with the world number one.
Chinese star Meng Bo kicked off her ONE career with a win in front of a home audience and jumped straight into the sharp end of the women’s atomweight division.
With 14 professional wins under her belt, including four in a row now, she is worthy of facing an established opponent, next. Gina “Conviction” Iniong could be the perfect challenge.
The Team Lakay representative has a wealth of experience in The Home Of Martial Arts including a win over Jihin “Shadowcat” Radzuan in her last match. She is a well-rounded martial artist with superb striking, as well as the ability to control a contest with her grappling and ground and pound.
That would present a very interesting test for a veteran like Meng. If she could pass it, she could have a case to step up and face ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee.
Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat made an immediate impact in mixed martial arts by kicking off her campaign in her new sport with an impressive first-round TKO.
Phogat is still learning on the job as she builds on her top-class grappling skills, but she looks ready to take a step up in competition.
Angelie “D Explorer” Sabanal would seem like the right kind of athlete to test her next. Though the Filipina is also still relatively young in her career, she has shown well-rounded skills on the global stage so far, including in a win by unanimous decision against Rika “Tiny Doll” Ishige.
All eyes are going to be on Phogat as she forges ahead with her career and Sabanal will offer her a much different look than what she faced in her debut thanks to her Muay Thai abilities.
The Chinese athlete is looking more and more like the kind of talented martial artist who could eventually put himself into World Title contention, and an encounter with one of the featherweight division’s best and most well-rounded contenders could test that theory.
Former World Title challenger Koyomi “Moushigo” Matsushima fits that bill, and his powerful wrestling game could test the Dragon Warrior Shanghai representative’s takedown defense like never before.
However, the Japanese taekwondo specialist is happiest when he is exchanging strikes, and that could create a crowd-pleasing affair against a man who earned his first nine victories via KO.
A record that is littered with legendary names shows the German is not afraid to mix it up with the best around, so he would certainly have no issue with facing another offensive dynamo to create a tantalizing match-up.
“Smokin” Jo Nattawut is another knockout artist who keeps fans on the edge of their seats from the first punch thrown until the last, and never seems to be happy if he does not give the judges the night off.
It is hard to believe Kehl versus Nattawut would produce anything less than an eye-popping display in the ONE Super Series featherweight division.
Read more: Top 5 Highlights From ONE: AGE OF DRAGONS