The 5 Biggest Questions Ahead Of ONE Fight Night 9: Nong-O Vs. Haggerty

Jonathan Haggerty celebrates his victory

ONE Fight Night 9 on Prime Video boasts an impressive lineup of Muay Thai and mixed martial arts action, with intriguing storylines built into every battle on Friday, April 21.

Topped by the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Title clash between Nong-O Hama and Jonathan Haggerty, there are matchups with incredibly high stakes at the top, as well as rising stars eager to work their way up the ladder.

Nobody knows how the night will play out, but there’s the potential for some massive statements to be made at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.

Here are five of the most pressing questions that will be answered when the action gets underway in Bangkok, Thailand.

#1 Is Haggerty The Man To Finally End Nong-O’s Reign?

Nong-O has ruled the bantamweight Muay Thai ranks with an iron fist, posting eight World Title victories and five straight knockouts during his dominant reign.

However, Haggerty is feeling stronger than ever after moving up from flyweight and thinks he can dethrone the Thai legend in Bangkok.

As the former ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion, “The General” certainly has the credentials. At the same time, many other stars have stepped up to challenge Nong-O – and they’ve all fallen short. 

Still, Haggerty believes he has the power to trouble the reigning king, with the added durability in his body to withstand his foe’s best shots. 

The British striker has proven that he will never back down from a firefight and is happy to wade in with concussive punches, kicks, and elbows. Will that be a recipe for success or disaster when Nong-O starts to unload his bombs? 

#2 Could Minowa Or Masunyane Earn A World Title Challenge?

Bokang Masunyane and Hiroba Minowa are already two of the top strawweight MMA contenders, ranked #2 and #3 in the division, respectively.

This puts them within touching distance of the crown, but both men suffered tough defeats to Jarred Brooks before the latter claimed the divisional throne.

Now, Masunyane and Minowa are hoping to earn a rematch with “The Monkey God” – this time for the World Title – but only one man can make their case on Friday.

Brooks most recently dethroned Joshua Pacio to become the ONE Strawweight World Champion in December, and an immediate rematch isn’t off the table. That means it would take an impressive performance for anyone to jump ahead of #1-ranked Pacio.

Knowing it’ll take a stunning performance to earn the next shot, both Maunyane and Minowa will be aiming for a highlight-reel victory in their critical matchup.

#3 Can Saemapetch Get A Long-Awaited Second Shot At Gold?

Saemapetch Fairtex has been the perennial top contender in the bantamweight Muay Thai division, holding the #1 spot for a long time. 

He’s suffered setbacks since his first meeting with Nong-O for the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Title, but he’s righted the ship with back-to-back victories and five wins overall since he last faced the division’s ruler. 

In that time, the Fairtex man has knocked out three elite rivals, and another scalp would solidify his claim as the next challenger. 

On Friday, he will square off with Felipe Lobo, who also lost a World Title challenge to Nong-O.

Lobo is a dangerous foe for anyone, so it’s not a given that Saemapetch will prevail. But if he does, he’ll likely be ready to face the top dog in his next outing – either Nong-O or Haggerty.

#4 Can Zamboanga Continue To Bounce Back?

Denice Zamboanga appeared set for a ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title shot until she fell to South Korean juggernaut Ham Seo Hee in consecutive bouts. 

While their first contest was hotly debated, Ham dominated the second meeting, and this put a dampener on “The Menace’s” aspirations. 

Zamboanga’s reaction to that skid would speak volumes about her future potential, as many greats have lost but defined themselves with their response. 

The 26-year-old promptly rebounded with a win over Lin Heqin in December and is still ranked #3 in the atomweight MMA division, so she’s within shouting distance of the elite.

However, Julie Mezabarba is motivated to upset the Filipina and crash the rankings.

The Brazilian upstart knows she can force her way into the top five if she gets past Zamboanga, so she won’t be short on inspiration when they clash this Friday.

#5 Can Asa Ten Pow Deal With Han Zi Hao’s Experience?

Asa Ten Pow has a big test ahead in China’s Han Zi Hao, pitting his 12-2 record against the Chinese fighter’s lengthy 64-19 slate.

“The American Ninja” has a point to prove following his debut defeat to Mehdi Zatout, but his second battle against former ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Title challenger Han will be no easier.

Han is never fazed by any rival, having already faced the division’s best, and he’s operated on the global stage for much longer than his foe. 

While it’s certainly a big opportunity for Ten Pow, it’s also the biggest test of his career.

He wants to show that he belongs on the global stage, but there are levels to the game that he’s not yet operated on. Han has – and that could give him the edge this Friday.

If the Florida Kickboxing Academy representative can overcome the experienced Chinese slugger, he’ll elevate himself to a new plane in his martial arts journey. 

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