Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series held six events in 2019, and it unearthed plenty of burgeoning talent along the way.
Now nine live events deep, ONE Championship’s developmental league has become a reliable path to the big show – with many of its mixed martial artists moving up the ranks and achieving success on the global stage.
With another year in the books, we take a look at some of the most talented prospects to watch out for in 2020.
Myanmar’s Punnya Sai extended his unbeaten streak in 2019, as he added a pair of victories to his growing mixed martial arts record.
Still a relative newcomer to the sport, the Bali MMA product has excelled since he made his professional debut in July 2018.
He opened up his 2019 slate with a decision win over Shafkat Khodzhakulov at OWS 5 in April, and then followed it up with a second-round submission against Raghvendra Singh at OWS 7 in August.
Now armed with four victories — including three finishes — he cannot be far from the step-up to the main roster, and the 21-year-old will surely ignite the passionate Myanmar fanbase when he gets his chance on the global stage.
Kristy “KO” Obst entered mixed martial arts from the world of Muay Thai, and she has beautifully displayed her striking pedigree in the OWS ring.
The surging Aussie moved into the pro ranks this year following a successful amateur stint, and she went 2-0 in ONE’s proving ground.
The latter earned her a Warrior Bonus for her extraordinary performance from Rich Franklin — which was only topped by her subsequent engagement to now-fiancé, Ryan Robertson, in the ring moments later.
He may have only stepped into the OWS ring once, but Japan’s Ryoji Kudo made an instant impact.
If he won, Olsim would have been practically guaranteed the call-up with a 6-0 record – especially with what would have been five straight OWS victories to his credit.
However, Kudo used his exciting blend of striking and wrestling to control the action. Because of that, he took the baton from the Filipino to edge ahead in the race towards the six-figure contract and main roster spot.
Ji Yeon Seo
“Honey Bee” Ji Yeon Seo’s OWS tenure did not get off to the best start, as she fell to Yuko Suzuki in April.
But the South Korean’s return to form has put her in a phenomenal position.
The athlete’s stoic demeanor and unflinching disposition make her stand out, alongside her crisp striking skills and finishing ability.
Viet Anh Do
After that performance, his second victory was less of a shock, but just as impressive.
The Auckland MMA representative — a teammate of ONE superstar Ev Ting — added another huge KO to his resume against Govind “The Mountain Boy” Singh at OWS 9.
No opponent has been able to drag him into deep waters just yet, but Do is confident he can deliver in the grappling department, too. If that’s true, he will be a threat to any flyweight on the OWS roster.