ONE Championship is about to drop the curtain on its NEXTGEN event series.
This Friday, 26 November, the promotion will premiere ONE: NEXTGEN III from Singapore, and every kickboxer, mixed martial artist, and Muay Thai fighter on the card has something important on the line.
Whether they’re battling for a spot in the official rankings, hoping to become famous with a statement-making performance, or even settling a heated war of words, every competitor will leave everything they have in the Circle.
With that in mind, here are the stakes and storylines for all twelve athletes scheduled for action on Friday.
Lito Adiwang Vs. Jarred Brooks
The main event features a heated strawweight mixed martial arts showdown with a top-five contender spot up for grabs.
Current #5-ranked strawweight Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang and debuting American superstar Jarred “The Monkey God” Brooks have been exchanging words through the media ever since they were originally scheduled to fight at “ONE on TNT II” in April.
And even when the Filipino’s positive test for COVID-19 caused that bout to be postponed, the feud raged on.
First, Brooks playfully said he would beat Adiwang and then cut off his mullet. And more recently, he vowed to “go out and take his confidence away.”
In response, the usually laid-back Adiwang stated that Brooks has “many more problems other than my mullet.”
Between the trash talk and a spot in the rankings, don’t expect either man to hold back at ONE: NEXTGEN III.
Alaverdi Ramazanov Vs. Pongsiri PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym
Just like the headline attraction, the co-main event will feature a battle for the #5 ranking – this time in the bantamweight Muay Thai division.
The lanky Russian also admitted that his “approach to preparation was unprofessional” in the lead-up to his World Title match with Capitan, but he insists the issue has been corrected.
Despite losing the kickboxing gold, Ramazanov is still the #5-ranked bantamweight Muay Thai contender. Now, he is fully focused on climbing the rankings and joining the exclusive two-sport ONE World Title club that features Stamp Fairtex and Sam-A Gaiyanghadao.
Before he can target the belt, Ramazanov will need to fend off former ONE World Title challenger Pongsiri PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym, who has looked spectacular since moving down a weight class.
If the Thai can maintain his form against “Babyface Killer,” he will enter the rankings and join the World Title conversation below reigning bantamweight Muay Thai king Nong-O Gaiyanghadao.
Alex Silva Vs. Rene Catalan
A rematch eight years in the making will finally commence.
That gave the Brazilian his first ONE victory, while the Filipino lost his mixed martial arts debut – a mere two weeks after the passing of his wife.
Since then, each man has experienced tremendous highs and lows. Silva briefly held the ONE Strawweight World Title and now stands as the division’s #4-ranked contender.
As for Catalan, he went on an epic six-bout winning streak – one of the longest in divisional history – but failed to claim the belt in his World Title challenge two years ago.
Now veterans of the sport, these two competitors are crossing paths again. And by now, each man has dramatically strengthened their perceived weakness – BJJ World Champion Silva developed his Muay Thai at Evolve, while Wushu World Champion Catalan improved his grappling with the Philippine sambo team.
With these fine-tuned skill sets, plenty of career experience, and the chance to make a final run at the strawweight gold, expect both sides to come in hungry.
Panpayak Jitmuangnon Vs. Daniel Puertas
A new contender will emerge in the ONE Super Series flyweight kickboxing ranks.
After ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon was forced to withdraw from this bout due to a positive COVID-19 test, his teammate – #3-ranked flyweight Muay Thai contender “The Angel Warrior” Panpayak Jitmuangnon – stepped in.
Other than representing his longtime training partner and gym, Panpayak has big goals in his new sport.
The Thai wants to become a ONE World Champion, and while he would never agree to fight Rodtang for Muay Thai gold, he would certainly challenge ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion Ilias “Tweety” Ennahachi.
The next step, however, is a tough one.
Daniel Puertas is a veteran of kickboxing – and a successful one at that. He’s a two-division ISKA World K-1 Champion, so he’ll bring plenty of expertise and technical brilliance into the Circle.
The Spaniard is looking to make an instant impact in ONE Super Series, and defeating a revered striker like Panpayak would surely capture the attention of every flyweight.
Pieter Buist Vs. Ruslan Emilbek Uulu
A lightweight showdown between two exciting mixed martial artists with their backs up against the wall could be a recipe for Fight of the Night.
Both men were dealt some hard defeats, but they are using those setbacks to kick off their comebacks.
Buist is ready to prove that his potent striking game and much-improved grappling will carry him back to prominence, while Emilbek Uulu has moved up to the lightweight division – his more natural weight class – to show the global fan base what he’s truly made of.
Felipe Lobo Vs. Rodlek PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym
In the opening bout of the night, a pair of Muay Thai strikers will switch sports and begin their charge at Capitan’s ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Title.
After unsuccessfully lifting the gold from Nong-O in “the art of eight limbs,” #2-ranked bantamweight Muay Thai contender Rodlek PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym is ready for a new challenge.
The famed Thai will make his kickboxing debut at ONE: NEXTGEN III, and just like the newly crowned king, he expects to quickly climb the rankings and get his crack at the crown.
But standing in his way is Felipe “Demolition Man” Lobo, who surprised many when he outgunned highly respected veteran Yodpanomrung “Lightning Knee” Jitmuangnon with his technical prowess in a Muay Thai battle to win via split decision.
Things are about to get very exciting in the ONE Super Series bantamweight kickboxing division, especially with the clash between #3-ranked Hiroki Akimoto and debuting Chinese superstar Qiu Jianliang coming up at ONE: WINTER WARRIORS on 3 December.
The winner of Rodlek vs. Lobo will emerge as a key name to watch in this bustling class.