ONE Championship has announced the first two bouts for their much-anticipated lightweight Grand Prix.
The promotion announced earile that veteran Honorio “The Rock” Banario will take on undefeated American Lowen Tynanes in the quarterfinal on January 25 in Manila.
Eddie Alvarez will make his anticipated debut two months later when he takes on Russia’s Timofey Nastyukhin at ONE’s first event in Tokyo on March 31.
Thus far, these are the only two bouts announced for the lightweight Grand Prix.
The tournament format is making a comeback in the MMA landscape. The Professional Fighters League (PFL) just completed their inaugural season. And Bellator has had success with their heavyweight GP and now the welterweight GP.
ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong announced the lightweight Grand Prix late last year to immediate fanfare. The hope is that an eight man tournament will flesh out the ‘true’ 155 pound champ.
ONE’s current lightweight champion is Banario’s teammate Eduard Folayang. He is scheduled to defend the ONE Lightweight World Title against Japanese legend Shinya Aoki also in Tokyo.
Banario has won seven of his last eight fights inside the ONE cage. He most recently defeated Rahul Raju in November to improve to 14-7.
As for his opponent, Tynanes boasts a an unbeaten 9-0 record. Five of his wins have came inside the ONE cage.