ONE Championship heads to the Philippines this week with ONE: Dawn Of Heroes set to take place on Friday, August 2. The event will go down inside Manila’s Mall Of Asia Arena. From start to finish, the 15-bout card is loaded with big names, exciting fights, and pivotal match-ups.
The main card starts at 8:30 am EST/5:30 am PST. The prelims will start at 5:00 am EST/2:00 am PST.
The main event features one of the promotion’s superstars, Vietnamese-Australian Martin Nguyen. The ONE Featherweight World Champion will make the third defense of his title when he takes on Japan’s Koyomi Matsushima.
However, for a lot of fans, it’s the co-main event that is generating the most excitement. ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Jonathan Haggerty will defend his belt for the first time against the seemingly unstoppable Thai, Rodtang Jitmuangnon. Since arriving at ONE, Rodtang has demolished his opponents, but in Haggerty, the 22-year-old will face a fighter unafraid to stand and trade with him. The bout has the hallmarks of a classic contest.
Eddie Alveraz and Demetrious Johnson will also be competing, while former UFC heavyweight Arjan Bhullar makes his promotional debut against Italy’s Mauro Cerilli.
A Pair Of Title Clashes
Since he started training at Florida’s Hard Knocks 365, ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin Nguyen has taken his game to another level. The 30-year-old’s dismantling of Mongolia’s Narantungalag Jadambaa at ONE: Roots Of Honor, was electrifying to witness.
Nguyen’s striking looked faster and sharper, no doubt the result of working under the tutelage of Henri Hooft. Still, this week’s fight promises to be a tougher outing for the Vietnamese-Australian.
Koyomi Matsushima is a talented fighter and a worthy challenger for Nguyen’s featherweight belt. The 26-year-old is a dangerous and versatile striker as well as being a capable grappler. Nguyen will start as favorite, but the key here will be if Matsushima can establish his attacking rhythm. If he does the contest could really open up. If Nguyen, takes control early on and performs to the level he is capable of then it would be hard picturing him losing.
The co-main event promises to be a straight war with both men confident of finishing each other. Britain’s Jonathan Haggerty captured the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship by comprehensively defeating Muay Thai legend Sam-A Gaiyanghadao. The 22-year-old Haggerty is tall, powerful, aggressive and determined to put on a show in the Philippines capital.
Rodtang has walked recent opponents down with an almost blatant disregard for their offensive capabilities, but Haggerty believes the Thai’s style suits him perfectly. This clash could go the full five or be over in the first. Regardless of how it unfolds this bout will likely steal the show.
Alveraz And Johnson Are Back In Action
They may not be headlining, but there will still be plenty of interest in Eddie Alveraz and Demetrious Johnson’s respective bouts this Friday.
After getting stopped on debut, Alveraz will be looking at redemption when he takes on former ONE lightweight champion Eduard Folayang. The pair’s clash now forms the second of the ONE Lightweight Grand Prix semifinals. Friday’s winner will go on to face Dagestan’s Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev in the final. The original semi-finalists, USA’s Lowen Tynanes and Russia’s Timofey Nastyukhin, both fell injured, removing them from the competition.
Folayang is a tough bounce-back fight for Alveraz. The 35-year-old has some of the best striking in the division. While Folayang is not the KO artist that Nastyukhin is, what he is good at is slowly dissecting his opponents throughout a fight. Alveraz will want to look at mixing it up early on before Folayang establishes his attacking tempo.
Johnson’s bout should be a lot more straightforward. The 32-year-old should not have too many problems with Japan’s Tatsumitsu Wada. While Wada will throw everything he has into this bout, it would be a massive upset if Johnson were to lose.
The winner of this bout will move on to the Flyweight Grand Prix final and will meet the winner of the Danny Kingad and Reece Mclaren clash. The Kingad-Mclaren fight takes place just before Johnson-Wada.
Best Of The Rest
Fans should take care not to sleep on some of the bouts set to go down on this week’s preliminary card.
Former UFC heavyweight Arjan Bhuller will be looking to make a statement when he takes on former Cage Warriors Heavyweight Champion Mauro Cerilli. The ONE heavyweight division is thin on talent at the moment. If Bhuller can comfortably defeat Cerilli, the Indian fighter could find himself next in line for a title shot.
Another fighter looking for a title shot is America’s, James Nakashima. The undefeated welterweight will take on Japanese legend Yushin Okami. Nakashima is riding a two-fight winning streak in ONE. If he can stretch it to three, then a title fight or a title eliminator should be his reward.
The full card can be watched for free via the ONE Super app.
- Martin Nguyen vs. Koyomi Matsushima (ONE Featherweight World Title)
- Jonathan Haggerty vs. Rodtang Jitmuangnon (ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Title)
- Eduard Folayang vs. Eddie Alvarez (ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix semifinal)
- Demetrious Johnson vs. Tatsumitsu Wada (ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix semifinal)
- Danny Kingad vs. Reece McLaren (ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix semifinal)
- Rodlek PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym vs. Andrew Miller (ONE Super Series Muay Thai — bantamweight)
- Geje Eustaquio vs. Yuya Wakamatsu (ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix reserve)
- Mauro Cerilli vs. Arjan Bhullar (mixed martial arts — heavyweight)
- Honorio Banario vs. Dae Sung Park (mixed martial arts — lightweight)
- Leandro Issa vs. Daichi Takenaka (mixed martial arts — bantamweight)
- James Nakashima vs. Yushin Okami (mixed martial arts — welterweight)
- Edward Kelly vs. Xie Bin (mixed martial arts — featherweight)
- Pongsiri Mitsatit vs. Miao Li Tao (mixed martial arts — strawweight)
- Samara Santos vs. Ayaka Miura (mixed martial arts — women’s strawweight)
- Sunoto vs. Muhammad Aiman (mixed martial arts — bantamweight)