The Kazakh challenger will arrive on the global stage for martial arts with a fearsome reputation thanks to his 20-5 record – which includes 18 stoppage wins – and his history as FNG Welterweight Champion.
Though he admits “the pressure is on,” he is thrilled to make a high-profile entrance in this main event bout.
“It is always exciting to start a new chapter,” Kichigin says.
“I‘ve already got a title back in Russia – I became a Fight Nights Global Welterweight Champion – and the next step was to join an international promotion.
“Being signed to ONE will make me a more popular fighter because its events get broadcast to more than 100 countries in the world.”
His first contest in the world’s largest organization could not be bigger – or more dangerous.
ONE Welterweight World Champion Kadestam has achieved all three of his victories by knockout in the final round – proving he is always dangerous and capable of getting his hand raised even when he is down on the scorecards.
The Swede is a phenomenal striker, but “Knight” says he will have no problem standing with the Swede in Yangon, but his real strength lies on the ground.
His 16 stoppages by submission show he is as dangerous as mixed martial artists come on the mat, and he is prepared to put those finishing skills to the test against his tenacious rival.
“I am sure he will be pressing me with his striking skills and will use kicks a lot, too. He loves to fight in the stand-up, and I can meet him there,” the 30-year-old says.
“I think grappling is his weak point, so let’s see if I could exploit that. I am physically stronger than him, and my endurance is better. I’ve previously fought fighters much stronger than him, to be honest.”
Kichigin will be well-prepared, whatever his strategy is in the cage.
The representative of the Fight Club gym in Almaty, Khazakstan also sharpens his skills at Raty MMA in Ekaterinburg, Russia, and has traveled to Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand for the final month of his training camp to get acclimatized.
Everything has gone smoothly for “Knight,” and he is confident he will announce his arrival in ONE by lifting the gold.
“Nobody knows 100 percent how the fight will go, but I know that every time I step inside the cage, I have only one goal – to win, and it doesn’t matter how,” he says.
“I just need to have my hand raised in the end. Ideally, I would win this fight in the first or second round.
“Like every fighter, I would like to become a champion and defend my title for as long as possible.”