ONE: NEXTGEN is right around the corner, and fans will have plenty to look forward to when the epic show gets underway.
From crucial tournament bouts to undefeated heavyweights slugging it out, every matchup is balanced on a knife-edge. This means guaranteed excitement as the athletes put it all on the line for victory.
Here are the five biggest reasons to watch the thrilling card this Friday, 29 October.
#1 The Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix Semifinals
The biggest tournament in women’s mixed martial arts history resumes at ONE: NEXTGEN with two semifinal contests in the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix.
The Thai star redeemed her sole mixed martial arts loss to Alyona Rassohyna in the quarterfinals, while Mezabarba impressed when she took out Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi in the alternate bout on the same bill.
Stamp will bring her powerful Muay Thai to the table, while the Brazilian believes her kickboxing background will give her the edge in speed. All of that should result in a fascinating encounter, and the winner will move on to the tournament final.
On the other side of the draw is a classic grappler versus striker clash, as wrestling star Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat and Filipina Muay Thai competitor Jenelyn Olsim square off for the second spot in the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship Final.
Phogat showed incredible heart to defeat Meng Bo after being badly hurt in the first round of their quarterfinal bout. Meanwhile, Olsim replaces Itsuki “Android 18” Hirata after the Japanese judoka was forced to withdraw due to an undisclosed medical issue.
The Filipina is currently the #5-ranked women’s strawweight contender, but she certainly turned heads in her atomweight debut by tearing through Bi “Killer Bee” Nguyen – who also happens to be the only person to defeat “The Indian Tigress” in her mixed martial arts career.
#2 A First Look At Azizpour
Iranian kickboxing behemoth Iraj Azizpour was originally scheduled to make his promotional debut against light heavyweight king Roman Kryklia in a highly anticipated trilogy bout to crown the first-ever ONE Heavyweight Kickboxing World Champion.
An undisclosed medical issue has forced Kryklia to withdraw from the World Title affair. But, even though Azizpour won’t be competing for gold on Friday night, he will still be in action.
That means the global fan base will get its first look at the Iranian veteran, who is known for packing tremendous power behind his punches and head kicks.
The first man to welcome him into the Circle is Brazilian knockout artist Anderson “Braddock” Silva, who will carry a 4-centimeter height advantage into the battle.
Silva already has a pair of first-round knockouts in ONE Super Series, and should he defeat Azizpour in a similar manner, he could potentially knock him out of contention for a future ONE Heavyweight Kickboxing World Title challenge.
#3 Undefeated Heavyweights Collide
Grishenko got off to a good start when he defeated “Reug Reug” Oumar Kane in his promotional debut at “ONE on TNT IV” in April. That TKO victory pushed his professional record to 4-0 and handed the Senegalese wrestling sensation his first career defeat in the process.
The Belarusian has more eyes on him than ever before after that signature win, and Canada’s Joynson has a chance to steal some of that shine.
Joynson is 6-0 (1 NC) with four stoppage wins, and he’ll make a big statement if he can topple to the surging Grishenko in his first ONE appearance.
As with any heavyweight clash, both men have the ability to turn the match on its head in an instant, meaning fans should strap themselves in for a nail-biter.
#4 Miado And Miao Run It Back
The Chinese slugger is more than capable of exacting revenge in a similar fashion. His concussive punches can turn anybody’s lights out, and that will be his main goal when they meet in the rematch.
However, Miado is a well-versed striker with effective hands, alongside his other attacks. The Filipino knows that Miao will come at him fast, and that could offer openings for him to exploit.
Both men are capable of highlight-reel finishes, and with pride at stake, they won’t be satisfied without one.
#5 Hard-Hitting Opener
He’ll welcome Bogdan “Bucharest Bad Boy” Stoica to The Home of Martial Arts on Friday, with the Romanian veteran also bringing serious firepower to the Circle.
Of his 54 career victories, Stoica has won 38 of those battles via knockout. And on the biggest platform of his career, he’ll look to make it 39 and prove that he belongs among the elite in ONE Super Series.
Isaev has already shown he can get it done on the global stage, while Stoica is hungry to make an impression, so expect these big men to throw powerful leather from the opening bell.