‘It Could Be Life-Changing’ – Liam Nolan Ready For Huge Opportunity At ONE Fight Night 18
Former WBC Muay Thai World Champion “Lethal” Liam Nolan may have had a topsy-turvy 2023, but now, he’s ready to get back to business and kick off his 2024 campaign on a high note at ONE Fight Night 18 on Prime Video, which broadcasts live in U.S. primetime on Friday, January 12.
The 26-year-old rising star will square off against undefeated Russian striker Ali Aliev in a lightweight Muay Thai clash at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, and he believes it could be a night that changes his life.
Nolan will be the first English Muay Thai fighter to appear on a live Sky Sports broadcast when ONE Championship debuts on its colossal platform.
And after a year of ups and downs, he’s thrilled to get that chance and set the tone for his compatriots in the United Kingdom.
The 26-year-old said:
“It’s a massive opportunity, so I’m very happy. I’m the first Brit to be on a Sky Sports card, so it’s huge to showcase my skills to everyone and a new audience. I’m excited about that. It could be life-changing.
“There’s no pressure, just excitement. I’m excited to make the most of the massive opportunity, and I’m coming to make a statement.”
Nolan hasn’t competed since his impressive victory over Eddie Abasolo in November 2022, as a series of injuries and illnesses kept him on the sidelines.
The Brit was last scheduled to face Sinsamut “Aquaman” Klinmee in a rematch at ONE Fight Night 16 in November 2023, but following a tough training camp in Thailand, an allergic reaction on event week forced him to withdraw from the contest.
Once Nolan recovered, he continued to train and stay sharp just in case a bout offer was presented to him, and he’s glad ONE trusted him with the chance to compete on the inaugural live card with Europe’s leading sports broadcaster.
“After the fight fell through with Sinsamut, I just needed to get in the ring as soon as possible. Cancel Christmas, whatever you have to do, I just have to be back in there and rebuild my momentum.
“After a year of injuries, I feel like ONE is really behind me. They’ve made sure I’ve had a fight every step of the way, and that’s been really important to me. They’ve been pushing me, too. It’s great to be a part of this [Sky Sports debut].
“This fight is about showing I’m back. I’m here to make up for lost time.”
Liam Nolan Predicts Bonus-Winning Performance
It hasn’t been plain sailing for Liam Nolan in his promotional tenure, and he’s desperate to get back on track in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
The “Lethal” Muay Thai practitioner will return at ONE Fight Night 18 on Prime Video, but even this card had a surprise in store. His originally scheduled opponent, Theo Avon, had to withdraw at late notice.
Fortunately, Russia’s Ali Aliev stepped up to the plate, so Nolan still has a dance partner for Friday night.
Despite the change, the Londoner is composed and ready to go, preferring to concentrate on his own game rather than coming up with a new strategy for a fresh rival.
“It’s been a whirlwind couple of days, so I haven’t been able to see much of him. But I’m expecting him to be very good as he represents Team Mehdi Zatout. The Russian fighters there are always strong. I’m anticipating a good fight, but I’m looking to take him out.
“Not much has changed in my approach. Aliev is slightly taller than Avon, but I’m sticking to what I’ve worked on and not really focusing on what my opponent is going to do. Focusing on me is what has gotten me over so many bumps in the road over the last year, and I’m going to do the same again.”
With three wins in his last four promotional outings, Nolan is in a strong position in the lightweight Muay Thai division.
Raring to go following his time away from the ring, the Knowlesy Academy product wants to push himself toward ONE Lightweight Muay Thai World Title contention, and an emphatic victory over Aliev will certainly move him closer toward that goal.
In fact, ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong may even give him a US$50,000 performance bonus if he beats the Russian in impressive fashion.
“I said it would be a bonus-winning fight against Avon, and it will be the same against Aliev. It makes no difference. I’m hitting so hard right now. The way I’ve been training, I’m going to put on a great show.”