The last few weeks have been a publicity bonanza for ONE Championship. In the lead up to ONE: Heart of the Lion, the Singapore-based promotion released one major media announcement after another, generating constant headlines for themselves in the process.
Now that the dust has settled in Singapore, attention turns to Jakarta, Indonesia where ONE: Warrior’s Dream is scheduled to take place on November 17.
From a distance, the card may not appear to have the same star power that ONE: Heart of the Lion brought with it, but upon closer inspection fans will discover a number of bouts worth setting the alarm for.
Sweden’s Zebaztian Kadestam and undefeated American Tyler McGuire will headline the event. The two will compete for the vacant ONE Championship welterweight title. Kadestam previously fought for the belt back in 2017, falling to then-champion Ben Askren via second-round TKO. An aggressive striker who likes to push forward, Kadestam has worked diligently on developing his skillset since his loss to Askren.
The powerful Swede earned his second shot at the title after dismantling Agilan Thani at ONE: Pursuit of Power. McGuire, who made his ONE debut on the same card, received his, after overcoming Brazilian veteran Luis Santos.
Santos, one of the mainstays of ONE’s welterweight division was unable to cope with McGuire’s slick submission skills. Santos even found himself outgunned on his feet with McGuire showcasing to the world at large that he has more in his toolkit than just a high-level ground game.
This match-up has flown somewhat under the radar of the mixed martial arts media. But that should not put fans off from getting excited. The bout has all the makings of a genuine barnburner.
Kadestam is determined not to relive his Askren experience while McGuire, a Staff Sargent in the US Air Force, has publicly stated that he is not fazed if the contest turns into a stand-up battle.
Both men have predicted that the fight will not go the distance and considering the natural aggressive tendencies of Kadestam, it is hard to see this bout lasting the full five.
An Explosive Co-Main Event
The night’s co-main event will feature the eagerly awaited ONE Super Series debut of former GLORY welterweight champion Nieky Holzken. The 34-year-old is regarded as one of the top kickboxers of his generation and has an impressive 90-14-0 record with fifty knockouts to his name.
Holzken also happens to be one of the top super middleweight boxers in the world, with his only loss coming at the hands of the number one ranked Callum Smith. Holzken’s first bout under the ONE banner is a rematch with Brazilian Cosmo Alexandre. The pair first fought back in 2010 with Holzken getting the win via majority decision.
Alexandre, the 2015 Lion Fight Promotions Super Middleweight Champion, will be making his second ONE Super Series appearance. The 36-year-old’s first outing ended in victory after he delivered a punishing knee to the liver of Elliot Compton, finishing the bout in the second round.
After sharing the ring with such stand-up luminaries as Giorgio Petrosyan, John Wayne Parr, and Yodsanklai Fairtex, Alexandre will not feel daunted by the prospect of squaring off once more with Holzken. He will likely be relishing the chance to get one back over the Dutchman, and fans of world-class striking should be in for quite a show.
Return Of Lumban Gaol
The athlete destined get the biggest crowd pop is Indonesian Atomweight Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol, who will be taking on Angelie Sabanal.
Lumban Gaol is arguably the busiest athlete in ONE Championship. This weekend’s clash will mark her sixth appearance of 2018. The 30-year-old has gone 4-1 in her five bouts to date this year. One more win looks set to be put her firmly in title contention.
A former national wushu champion, Lumban Gaol medalled in the sport at the Southeast Asian Games. She is one of the more technical strikers in the division, but her grappling was exposed when she took on future star Jihin Radzuan. Radzuan smothered Lumban Gaol for three rounds to earn a unanimous decision victory. Lumban Gaol and her team used the loss as a learning opportunity. When she returned to face the undefeated Jomary Torres, there was a noticeable improvement in the Indonesian’s takedown defense and ground game.
Lumban Gaol got back to the winning column against Torres and will be the heavy favorite going into this weekend’s bout. Sabanal comes from a Muay Thai background which should make for an entertaining clash of styles.
Another highlight is the return of Thailand’s Pongsiri Mitsatit. The 22-year strawweight was cutting his way through the division. That came to a halt when he was submitted by the recently crowned strawweight champion Joshua Pacio.
Mitsatit, a stand-up specialist was unable to compete with Pacio once the fight went to the ground. The Thai will be facing Hayato Suzuki, who is no slouch on the mat. It should not take long to see whether or not Mitsatit has ironed out the holes in his game.
Check out the full lineup here.
ONE: Warrior’s Dream Lineup
Zebaztian Kadestam vs Tyler McGuire
Nieky Holzken vs Cosmo Alexandre
Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol vs Angelie Sabanal
Pongsiri Mitsatit vs Hayato Suzuki
Lerdsila Phuket Top Team vs Sok Thy
Anthony Engelen vs Jimmy Yabo
Elipitua Siregar vs Muhammad Imran
Egi Rozten vs Eddey Kalai
Zhao Zhi Kang vs Dae Hwan Kim
Eugene Toquero vs Tatsumitsu Wada
Adrian Mattheis vs Aziz Calim
Brown Pinas vs Yohann Fairtex Drai
Xie Chao vs Bruno Pucci
Putri Padmi vs Dwi Ani Retno Wulan