The line-up for Saturday’s ONE: Kingdom of Heroes, which will take place inside Bangkok’s Impact Arena, is proof that the company has achieved its aim of transforming itself from an MMA promotion to a genuine multi-discipline martial arts organization.
The 14-bout card will consist of four kickboxing, three muay Thai and six MMA bouts and will be headlined by a boxing world title fight. It’s a bold move to have so many different combat sports competing on the same card, but the positive reception that greeted the arrival of ONE Super Series indicates that fans are enjoying the mix of contests.
In the main event, Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai will take on Mexico's Iran Diaz, for the third defense of his WBC Super Flyweight title. Srisaket has become a star in his native country, and this will be the first time he has defended his belt on home soil. The co-main event will see Taiwan’s Kai Ting Chuang defend her ONE Super Series Kickboxing Atomweight belt against Thailands Stamp Fairtex.
For MMA fans the fight that will generate the most interest is the lightweight title eliminator between Shinya Aoki and Ev Ting. The winner was originally set to compete against now former lightweight champion Martin Nguyen next March. However just this week Ngueyn vacated the title after confirming he will be out injured for the foreseeable future. The company then announced that former lightweight champion Eduard Folayang will take on Amir Khan for the title in November with the winner meeting the winner of Aoki-Ting.
The night will also see some of the world’s top muay Thai fighters in action with the Nong-O Gaiyanghadao vs. Mehdi Zatout matchup being the fight that fans will be circling as a must-see.
It will be a real surprise if Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
does not walk out with the belt he walked in with when he takes on
Mexico’s Iran Diaz in their WBC Super Flyweight title clash.
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (46-4-1) vs. Iran Diaz (14-2-3)
Boxing WBC Super Flyweight World Championship
The 31-year-old Srisaket is currently ranked by Ring Magazine as the number eight pound for pound fighter in the world. The Thai is coming off an intense 12 month period that saw him defeat two Nicaraguan Román González twice before following up his victories with a win over Juan Francisco Estrada. Gonzále and Estrada are the second and third-ranked fighters in the super flyweight division so one could argue that Srisaket had earned the right to return home and celebrate his success. The Thai did just that in July when he defeated South Korea’s Young Gil Bae in a non-title fight via a first-round KO. Diaz will pose more of a threat than Gil Bae did but will still enter the fight a heavy underdog.
Diaz is undefeated since 2016 but has not shared the ring with the same caliber of fighters that Srisaket has. The Mexican’s last bout ended in a draw with fellow countrymen Adolfo Castillo who is ranked 122 in the world. Srisaket should prove to have far too much in the tank for Diaz but the Mexican will be fighting for his first major title, and that type of motivation will often draw out the best in a fighter.
Continue Reading » Chuang vs. Fairtex