The Jakarta Convention Center will host a card full of ONE Championship superstars on Saturday, 22 September, but there is one contest that has caught the attention of fans who value explosive action above all else.
Timofey Nastyukhin and Saygid “Dagi” Guseyn Arslanaliev will square off in a lightweight contest that has all the hallmarks of a classic, with both athletes renowned for their aggressive, offensive styles.
Their battle at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES practically guarantees excitement, and looks set to steal the show. Here’s why.
The Tale Of The Tape
Nastyukhin (12-3) brings an incredible finishing ratio of 83 percent in the cage. This includes six knockouts and four submissions – though it is his striking that has come to the fore in recent bouts.
Of the 28-year-old’s last seven victories, five have come by way of knockout, and several have gone down in ONE history. One of the most memorable is his flying knee finish of Filipino icon Eduard Folayang, while his six-second stoppage of Rob Lisita is the joint-fastest in ONE history.
The Russian athlete from the Raty team is coming off back-to-back wins over strong opposition in Amir Khan and Koji Ando, which have put him back on track after a broken leg caused him to fall against Kotetsu Boku in 2016. Incredibly, the hardened warrior still made it to his corner before he was forced to stop.
Arslanaliev (5-1) may be less experienced, but he is no less ferocious than Nastyukhin. He hails from the Dagestan region of Russia, which is famous for producing high-level martial artists.
Now residing in Istanbul, Turkey, the Corvos Combat representative has a perfect finishing rate, garnering three knockouts and two submissions from his victories to date, and only one of his opponent has made it out of the first round.
The 23-year-old faced the toughest test of his career last time out against Tetsuya Yamada, who made it into the third round. However, “Dagi” dominated the bout and earned a third-round armbar submission at ONE: IRON WILL in March.
The Keys To Victory
Nastyukhin has experienced success at the elite level of the ONE lightweight division, and has proven himself to be dangerous at all times.
However, his 10 first-round finishes show that he poses the most threat in the opening moments, when he can finish the job quickly with powerful strikes.
If he puts pressure on Arslanaliev and gets in his face with a variety of strikes in combination, he could catch him cold before “Dagi” has an opportunity to impose his strategy.
Much like his adversary, “Dagi” is known for his aggression, which starts the moment the bell rings. And if he gets his opponent to the mat, they may not be able to get up until the referee separates them at the end of a round.
He proved his gas tank is deep when he maintained his intensity for almost 13 minutes against Yamada, and he also confirmed his ability to close the show on the ground.
Though he throws every shot with the intention to finish on the feet, a ground-based approach would neutralize his opponent’s best weapons and give him more ways to win.
The Spoils Of Victory
The lightweight division is packed to the brim with talent, which makes it difficult to break through to top contender status.
Shinya Aoki and Ev Ting are already scheduled to square off in Bangkok to determine the next challenger for the ONE Lightweight World Championship currently held by Martin Nguyen. That means a win in Jakarta is unlikely to give either of these men a direct route to the belt, but it is vital to stay on course.
Nastyukhin would likely be closer to the gold with a win, due to the level of opposition he has faced and defeated thus far. He would almost guarantee his next bout would come against another top-tier competitor with World Title implications if his hand is raised.
Arslanaliev’s pedigree in the cage is not as high, but a win would raise his profile, and put him on a platform above his opponent’s lofty position. It would also prove that all the hype around him is real, and that we have another legitimate contender on our hands.