A week after Kevin Belingon became the undisputed ONE Bantamweight World Champion with a split-decision win over Bibiano Fernandes, another ONE world title is on the line.
At ONE: WARRIOR’S DREAM in Jakarta, Indonesia on 17 November, Tyler McGuire and Zebaztian Kadestam will compete to become the next ONE Welterweight World Champion. The belt was vacated when Ben Askren was traded from ONE to the UFC for Demetrious Johnson.
The matchup is an interesting contrast of styles, and here’s what each man needs to do if he hopes to come away victorious, and with a world title around his waist.
McGuire’s Keys to Becoming the Next ONE Welterweight World Champion
McGuire doesn’t bring in any secret weapons. His bread and butter is his wrestling and grappling skills. On the strengths of those qualities, he’s put together a perfect 11-0 record. Against Kadestam, he needs to get the fight to the ground. Everyone knows that, so the question is how does McGuire initiate the grappling sequences. Kadestam is a come-forward striker who likes to put pressure on his opponents. That approach could be tailor-made for McGuire, which is why he must be prepared for Kadestam to alter his gameplan.
Changing levels will be key for McGuire. That likely means showing off some boxing skills, primarily a jab that he can use to preoccupy Kadestam long enough to shoot for a takedown. If and when McGuire takes Kadestam down, he has to be cognizant of the amount of energy he expends securing the takedown. If McGuire works too hard to complete a takedown or to maintain an advantageous spot on the ground, Kadestam may get to his feet with momentum after surviving the takedown. Poise, patience, and technique should be the calling cards for McGuire in this bout.
Kadestam’s Keys to Becoming the Next ONE Welterweight World Champion
It’s not as if Kadestam is devoid of ground skills. His base in martial arts is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. However, by nature, he is more of a striker/brawler. He’s powerfully built and likes to use that weight to overpower his opponents on the inside. His approach didn’t work well against Askren when he challenged him for the world title back in September 2017. Askren’s wrestling was too much for him, and Kadestam simply couldn’t disengage long enough to establish his stand-up exchanges. McGuire will likely give him more opportunities.
McGuire likes to keep his hands low, and he tests his stand-up game a lot more than Askren. If he maintains this approach against Kadestam, the Swede will have more opportunities to strike. It is important for Kadestam to keep the pressure on Mcguire throughout the bout. Walking forward, with his hands up and ready to counter is his best default posture for this matchup. McGuire can tend to be herky-jerky with his movements. That can be a stamina-draining tendency. If Kadestam can maintain pressure, he may be able to tire his opponent out to make him more vulnerable late in the bout.
If Kadestam can make McGuire’s wrestling less effective, he’ll have put himself in the best position to win a world title. It should be a chess match and a fun bout to watch.