It’ll be hard to blink without missing the action at ONE 159: De Ridder vs. Bigdash because the card is filled with knockout artists and submission specialists who are guaranteed to deliver fireworks.
Two World Titles will be up for grabs in the main events, while top contenders, rising phenoms, and decorated champions will all be competing at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Before the MMA, kickboxing, and Muay Thai contests go down on Friday, July 22, we look at the biggest questions on everyone’s minds.
How Will De Ridder Handle Bigdash’s Striking And Wrestling?
Two-division ONE World Champion Reinier “The Dutch Knight” de Ridder has used elite grappling skills to put together a 15-0 MMA record.
However, Russian powerhouse Vitaly Bigdash will be his most difficult test yet when he challenges for the ONE Middleweight World Title in the main event of ONE 159.
The former divisional king is known for his striking and wrestling – a combination that De Ridder hasn’t yet faced. So when the defending champ shoots for takedowns, expect Bigdash to stuff them, stay on his feet, and try to outbox his foe.
If this does happen, we’ll finally get to see how De Ridder handles himself when he can’t easily drag his opponent down and sniff out a submission.
Will Janet Todd Become A Two-Sport World Champion?
The American striking icon will face WBC Muay Thai World Champion Lara Fernandez for the ONE Interim Atomweight Muay Thai World Title, and the winner will unify the belts with current divisional queen Allycia Hellen Rodrigues sometime in the future.
Now riding a six-fight winning streak, Todd owns all the necessary tools to emerge victorious – from crushing kicks to pinpoint punches – and she’ll need each of them to defeat ONE newcomer Fernandez.
That’s because the Spanish phenom is almost a mirror image of Todd, efficient in the same tactics. And when they meet for gold on July 22, she will attempt to crush “JT’s” dream of two-sport supremacy.
Can Danial Williams Continue His MMA Ascent?
But since switching to MMA, the Thai-Australian slugger has been the one submerging fighters into the flames.
The former WMC Muay Thai World Champion has won his last four outings in the all-around sport – including two appearances in ONE Championship – knocking out former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke and dominating Namiki Kawahara.
At ONE 159, he’ll meet Chinese rising star “Small Gun” Zelang Zhaxi in a strawweight MMA duel that could see Williams continue his rise through the division and challenge a top-five contender next – if he wins.
Will Muangthai Bounce Back From His Tough Loss To Harrison?
Imagine losing a chance to challenge for the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Title, a potential US$50,000 performance bonus, and a top-five spot in the divisional rankings. Just a few months ago, that’s exactly what happened to “Elbow Zombie” Muangthai PK.Saenchai.
In a fight that featured more plot twists than a mystery novel, Muangthai scored two first-round knockdowns on English legend Liam “Hitman” Harrison and seemed to be heading toward a breezy TKO win.
However, Harrison produced a comeback for the ages when he dropped Muangthai three times and earned an unbelievable first-round TKO of his own.
It had to be disheartening for the Thai, so it’ll be interesting to see if he bounces back against Vladimir Kuzmin at ONE 159.
However, Muangthai is also a former Lumpinee Muay Thai World Champion with 200 career wins, and nobody should doubt his abilities in the Circle.
Is Zhang Peimian The Next Strawweight Kickboxing Superstar?
When former two-sport king Sam-A Gaiyanghadao retired from ONE, he left a void in the strawweight striking divisions that many men are trying to fill.
Perhaps “Fighting Rooster” Zhang Peimian will be the one to step up.
The 18-year-old rolled into ONE Championship as unexpectedly as a midnight tsunami, and by the time he was done, he’d left veteran star Josh “Timebomb” Tonna in his wake.
This past March, the young phenom stopped #5-ranked Tonna by second-round KO and immediately captured the attention of fans around the world.
At ONE 159, Zhang will return against #2-ranked strawweight Muay Thai contender Aslanbek Zikreev to compete under kickboxing rules once again.
If “Fighting Rooster” pummels the Russian like he did to Tonna, we might just see him challenge for the vacant ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Title next.