ONE: Clash Of Legends Preview, Breakdown & Analysis

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ONE: Clash of Legends takes place this Saturday, February 16, 2019, from the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.

The main event of the 12-fight card sees Muay Thai superstar Nong-O Gaiyanghadao and China’s Han Zi Hao competing for the inaugural ONE Super Series Bantamweight Muay Thai World Title.

The card will consist of seven MMA and five ONE Super Series contests. Given the location of the event, it should come as no surprise that the stand-up bouts will be fought under Muay Thai rules.

Over half the fights will feature Thai athletes against foreign opposition, so expect to hear a loud home crowd roaring on their local fighters.

A Super Series World Title Clash

Nong-O Gaiyanghadao has achieved almost everything worth achieving in the sport of Muay Thai. The thee time Lumpinee Stadium champion has accumulated a treasure chest of awards and accolades; assuring himself a spot in the pantheon of Muay Thai greats.

After a three-year hiatus from competing during which time he became a trainer at Evolve MMA, Nong-O was tempted back into action after the creation of the ONE Super Series. Back to back victories over Frenchman Fabio Pinca and Mehdi Zatout proved the Thai hadn’t lost a step during his break from the ring.

Nong-O will be the heavy favorite going into Saturday’s bout with Han Zi Hao, but don’t expect a one-sided affair.

The 23-year-old Han recently become the first fighter in the ONE Super Series to record three victories with a stunning knockout of Ryan Jakiri. Training out of Bangkok’s Mad Muay Thai gym, a place he has called home for almost a decade. Han has transformed into one of China’s brightest Muay Thai fighters.

Han, through his years in Bankok, has grown up with the legend of Nong-O. He will be under no illusion as to the scale of the task he faces.

Young, powerful and with an excellent sense of timing, Han will need to use these abilities to find a way to disrupt Nong-O’s attacking rhythm long enough to implement his offensive game plan. Nong-O will control the tempo of the fight for the majority of the time, so Han will need to make his attacks count when the opportunities arise.

If he cannot, it will be a long night at the office for the Chinese fighter. One that will likely end up with Nong-O collecting another piece of silverware for his already overflowing chest.

A Pair Of Pivotal Bantamweight Matchups

The number one contender spot in the bantamweight division will be up for grabs once reigning champion Kevin Belingon and Bibiano Fernandes complete their rubber match on March 31 in Tokyo.

Regardless of that bout’s outcome, it is hard to imagine Belingon and Fernandes sharing the cage again anytime soon. This leaves the door open for a new contender to enter the picture. ONE: Clash Of Legends features a quartet of bantamweight fighters who can all lay claim to being genuine title threats.

The night’s first bantamweight contest sees New Zealand’s Mark Abelardo taking on Japan’s Daichi Takenaka. Immediately following their bout South Korea’s Dae Hwan Kim faces off against Takenaka’s compatriot Shuya Kamikubo.  

The undefeated Takenaka will be kept busy with the heavy hitting Abelardo. The  recently signed Kiwi earned his call up after two impressive victories in ONE Warrior Series, ONE’s feeder competition.

Training out of the prestigious Fairtex gym in Thailand, Abelardo will feel confident he has the tools and the game plan to upset the former Shooto Pacific Rim Featherweight Champion.

Kim and Kamikubo will both enter Saturday’s contest on two-fight winning streaks. A strong showing by either of them in Bangkok could be enough to earn one of them a title shot.

Kim has previously challenged for the strap back in 2014, falling to then-champion Fernandes. The South Korean also holds a submission win over the current champion. Kamikubo, meanwhile, has not lost since 2015 and is coming off an impressive victory over the highly rated Muhammad Aiman.

Radzuan Looks To Go To 5-0

Undefeated atomweight Jihin Radzuan is shaping up to be a breakout star. The 20-year-old has improved as a fighter with every new outing inside the cage.

On Saturday, Radzuan meets Team Lakay’s Gina Iniong. A six-time time Philippine Wushu Champion, Iniong will set out to test Radzuan’s stand-up game, which she believes is Radzuan’s weakness.

The Malaysian has not fought a striker as skilled as Iniong. So this matchup will be a litmus test for her. If she emerges with the win, it will prove she is ready to be classed as one of the division’s upper-tier fighters.

ONE: Clash Of Legends Full Lineup

Main Card:

Nong-O Gaiyanghadao vs Han Zi Hao

Kongsak P.K. Saenchaimuaythaigym vs Alaverdi Ramazanov

Dae Hwan Kim vs Shuya Kamikubo

Mark Abelardo vs Daichi Takenaka

Shannon Wiratchai vs Tae Kyun Kim

Jo Nattawut vs Samy Sana

Gina Iniong vs Jihin Radzuan

Superlek Kiatmoo9 vs Lao Chetra

Preliminary Card:

Chamuaktong Fightermuaythai vs Charlie Peters

Emilio Urrutia vs Yoshiki Nakahara

Rika Ishige vs Nou Srey Pov

Elipitua Siregar vs Liu Peng Shuai