ONE: Reign Of Valor goes down this Friday, March 8, 2019, at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.
A welterweight title clash between reigning champ Zebaztian Kadestam and newcomer Georgiy Kichigin will headline the 14-bout card.
The event may lack the star power of the upcoming Tokyo event, but it contains a number of fun bouts and should not lack for action. When you have names like Alain Ngalani, Tarik Khbabez and Phoe Thaw in the mix, it would be fair to say that bombs will be thrown.
The Myanmar fans will also create a cauldron-like atmosphere for the local athletes. This should help the set the scene for a lively night of fights.
Return Of The Bandit
ONE welterweight champion Zebaztian” The Bandit” Kadestam makes the first defense of his title this Friday, against Kazakhstan’s Georgiy Kichigin. The hard-hitting Swede claimed the vacant belt after knocking out undefeated American Tyler McGuire last November.
In Kichigin, Kadestam will be facing a fighter unbeaten since 2014, riding a 14-bout win streak.
Kichigin has 16 submission wins to his name and against a powerful striker like Kadestam, will look to take the fight to the ground as soon as possible. However, that is easier said than done. Kadestam showed impressive takedown defense in his last outing against McGuire, also a submission specialist.
Kadestam currently has nine KO wins next to his name, and the odds are after this weekend that number rises to ten. The Swede’s striking has continued to improve and it is also a tough ask for a newcomer to ONE, to defeat the champion in their first bout.
A Strawweight Top Contender Bout
Former strawweight Champion Yoshitaka Naito returns to the cage for the first time since losing his belt to Joshua Pacio. The 35-year-old Japanese fighter will take on surging strawweight contender Rene Catalan in a bout that will put the winner into title contention.
Catalan, a Wushu World Champion, comes into this contest on a five-fight winning streak. A striking specialist the 40-year-old put on an impressive showing in his last outing when he stifled the much-vaunted ground game of Stefer Rahardian
He will need to produce a similar performance against Natio, who is regarded as one of the top grapplers in the division. Natio has also only fought the best of the best since arriving in ONE while the same cannot be said of Catalan.
The Filipino, cannot afford to put a foot wrong on Friday night. He will be aware that at his age this is likely his last chance at a title run. While for Natio two losses in a row will see him pushed to the back of the strawweight title queue.
A lot is a lot riding on the outcome of this bout for both men.
A Spotlight On The Local Fighters
The last five Myanmar cards have been headlined by ONE Lightweight and Middleweight Champion Aung La N Sang. The 33-year-old is a rockstar in his homeland with a huge following.
However, the “ Burmese Python” will not compete this Friday. He is set to defend his middleweight belt against Ken Hasegawa on March 31
Aung La’s absence gives his compatriots an opportunity to carve out a name of their own.
The fighters flying the home flag are featherweight Phoe Thaw, female atomweight Bozhena Antoniyar and Tial Thang who will be fighting a 149 lbs catchweight bout.
Phoe Thaw will be the one to keep an eye on. He will compete in the co-main event.
The 34-year-old has wicked kicking game and is the most high profile athlete of the home based fighters.
The country of 52 million has few stars, either sporting or otherwise, appearing on the international stage. So expect the intensely passionate local crowd to throw their full support behind all three fighters.
ONE: Reign of Valor Lineup
(c) Zebaztian Kadestam VS Georgiy Kichigin (ONE Welterweight World Title)
Phoe Thaw VS Yohan Mulia Legowo
Alain Ngalani VS Mauro Cerilli
Yoshitaka Naito VS Rene Catalan
Toni Tauru VS Gurdarshan Mangat
Kenta Yamada VS Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy
Tial Thang VS Rin Saroth
Liam Nolan VS Enriko Kehl
Andrei Stoica VS Tarik Khbabez
Lin Heqin VS Jomary Torres
Chen Rui VS Roman Alvarez
Bozhena Antoniyar VS Audreylaura Boniface
Yuta Watanabe VS Rui Botelho
Kohei Kodera VS Kenny Tse