On Friday, 11 March, ONE Featherweight World Champion Thanh Le defends his belt against BJJ wizard Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon, while fans will witness the heated ONE Bantamweight World Title clash between Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes and #1-ranked John “Hands of Stone” Lineker.
But while those matchups feature some of the promotion’s biggest superstars, the rest of the lineup is absolutely stacked with finishers. Here are three mixed martial arts and kickboxing fights that could rival the headliners and steal the show at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
#1 Josh Tonna vs. Zhang Peimian
In this ONE Super Series strawweight kickboxing bout, #5-ranked Josh “Timebomb” Tonna will look to earn some redemption after being dispatched in the second round by now-retired ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Champion Sam-A Gaiyanghadao.
Prior to that loss, Tonna scored his own second-round finish of legendary striker Andy “Punisher” Howson under Muay Thai rules and positioned himself as the #2 contender in that division.
Now, the Australian will try to regain the same elite status in kickboxing against organizational newcomer “Fighting Rooster” Zhang Peimian.
Zhang will step into his ONE Super Series debut carrying a 26-5-1 record and with the support of his talented contingent at Shengli Fight Club in China – men such as “Bamboo Sword” Zhang Chunyu and “Muay Thai Boy” Zhang Chenglong.
“Fighting Rooster” wants to use the seasoned Tonna to spring himself into the top-five strawweight kickboxing rankings and perhaps even challenge for the vacant ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Title.
With so much on the line for both athletes, expect them to come out hard and fast at ONE: LIGHTS OUT.
#2 Eko Roni Saputra vs. Chan Rothana
Eko Roni Saputra has recorded five straight finishes in ONE Championship, and he’s aiming for a sixth against Cambodian Chan Rothana in their flyweight MMA bout on Friday night. But with an 85 percent finishing rate, Rothana won’t be an easy man to take out.
All but one of Rothana’s career victories ended before the final bell. Moreover, he’s fired up to get the win after a tough setback versus “The Hunter” Xie Wei. If Rothana is triumphant, he’ll also become the first man in nearly three years to defeat Saputra.
However, the Indonesian is a flyweight tank who shoots leather and locks limbs. No matter where the fight lands, Saputra can handle himself exceptionally well and has proven that throughout his career.
The man who gets their hand raised could step up to challenge a top-five ranked contender next. With that kind of motivation, these finishers won’t be pulling any punches – or submissions – come fight night.
#3 Martin Nguyen vs. Kirill Gorobets
Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen is coming into this featherweight MMA duel with Kirill Gorobets on the only two-fight losing skid of his storied career, but fans should never count out the hard-hitting Vietnamese-Australian, who owns a 92 percent finishing rate.
After all, Nguyen’s powerful punches and slick submission skills earned him the ONE Featherweight World Title, and he hopes to retain his #3 contender spot against promotional newcomer Gorobets.
A win would certainly do that, while a loss would drop “The Situ-Asian” further away from the World Title picture he so desperately wants to re-enter.
Trying to take Nguyen’s stop is Gorobets, who’s entering The Home of Martial Arts on a nine-fight winning streak. Four of those victories have come by knockout and three via submission, meaning he can touch chins just as well as he can take necks.
Given the finishing skills on both sides – plus the huge stakes between a former champ and a rising star – this fight has show-stopper written all over it.