The promotion has announced that “Little Rock” will now be challenging reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka Naito in Bangkok later this year. Set for the Impact Arena on 9 December, Naito (12-0) will put his title on the line against Silva (6-1) in the new five-round main event of ONE: WARRIORS OF THE WORLD.
The reigning strawweight kingpin, Naito most recently defended his prestigious world title by defeating top Filipino contender Joshua “The Passion” Pacio of Team Lakay via stunning submission.
Now, the Japanese world champion returns to the place he first claimed the belt from former titleholder Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke.
On his promotional debut back in May of 2016, Naito thrilled Bangkok’s Impact Arena by choking out the Muay Thai legend, and he hopes to do that against Silva, who also happens to be Amnuaysirichoke’s friend and teammate.
“Winning the ONE Strawweight World Championship and becoming world champion was always a dream of mine. To be recognized amongst my peers as the best at what I do is important to me,” Naito stated.
“Having this belt means I am a master of my craft. It hasn’t been easy. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but I am prepared to do whatever it takes. Alex Silva is a worthy challenger and an amazing competitor. I look forward to testing my skills against him.”
The 35-year-old Silva is a member of the prestigious Evolve Fight Team in Singapore, a group of elite martial artists which include athletes such as ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben “Funky” Askren and ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee.
In his most recent outing, Silva routed the highly-regarded Suzuki to win via armbar submission, just a little over a minute into the very first round. Suzuki went into the contest riding a surging wave of momentum, but Silva quickly brought the Japanese champion back to Earth with a spectacular performance.
Now with five straight victories in the promotion — all of which have come by highlight-reel submission — Silva has no doubt earned a date with destiny.
“Defeating Hayato Suzuki has been one of my greatest accomplishments inside the ONE Championship cage. I was very well prepared to for him. I expected a tougher match, and I did not expect him to try to take me down and compete with me on the ground, because I knew if it went to the ground that I would submit him,” Silva stated.
“So I saw the armbar, I went for it, and now we’re here. I’m competing for the ONE Strawweight World Championship ,and have a chance to be known as the best strawweight in the world. I’m excited for the opportunity.”
Wiratchai will feature in the night’s co-main event against Russian competitor Rasul Yakhyaev, in what had been previously announced as a ONE Lightweight World Championship title eliminator.