ONE: “Masters of Fate” is set for Manila on Friday night. In the main event Johua Pacio puts his 115-pound title on the line against Rene Catalan in a strawweight clash. The card also features Filipino star Eduard Folayang.
There is also an intriguing atomweight belt between Bi Nguyen and Stamp Fairtex. The former was beaten by a Burmese fighter on her promotional debut while the latter is the reigning kickboxing and Muay Thai champion.
Here’s my preview of the last seven fights:
Paul Lumihi vs. Li Kai Wen (Bantamweight)
Paul Lumihi (7-3) is a former One Pride MMA champion who signed for ONE Championship on the back of an impressive seven fight winning streak but is 0-2 for the promotion.
Li Kai Wen (9-4) is a ONE Championship veteran. He has been on the roster since 2014 and his only real loss came at the hands of Martin Nguyen, although he was also DQd due to illegal strikes.
Bi Nguyen vs. Stamp Fairtex (Atomweight)
Bi Nguyen (5-4) has gone to a split decision in her last two ONE Championship bouts and hasn’t looked too impressive on either occasion. She lost to a boxer from Myanmar after deciding to engage her in a striking battle.
That would surely be a mistake against Muay Thai veteran Stamp Fairtex (2-0) who might have a very limited ground game. If Nguyen can take her down it will be interesting, but if the Vietnamese American decides to make this a standup fight she will be at a considerable disadvantage.
Geje Eustaquio vs. Toni Tauru (Flyweight)
Geje Eustaquio (12-8) looks significantly smaller than Toni Tauru (11-7-1) who submitted the Filipino in the opening round the first time they fought. Since that loss the Filipino has gone five rounds with BJJ black belt Adriano Moraes on two occasions.
Eustaquio has the wushu based striking we associate with Team Lakay. If he can keep this standing he should punish Tauru despite the size difference but the Finnish fighter will have an advantage on the ground.
Muay Thai: Sangmanee Sathiangym vs. Azize Hlali (Bantamweight)
Sangmanee Sathiangym is at the absolute pinnacle of the Muay Thai world and has been there since he was a 15 year old. He is a clever southpaw with exceptional speed and timing and there’s only a handful of fighters on the planet good enough to share a ring with him.
Azize Hlali is a Glory veteran who has been in with top Thai fighters like Buakaw Banchamek. It is unlikely he will pose Sangmanee too many problems though.
Eduard Folayang vs. Amarsanaa Tsogookhuu (Lightweight)
Eduard Folayang (21-8) is coming off back to back losses at the hands of Eddie Alvare and Shinya Aoki. His opponent on Friday isn’t quite of that calibre and the Filipino will be looking to turn on the style in his homeland.
Amarsanaa Tsogookhuu (5-1) is a Mongolian who comes from a karate background. He was too good for Shannon Wiratchai on his ONE Championship debut but faces a serious step up in competition here.
Joshua Pacio (c) vs. Rene Catalan (For Strawweight Title)
Joshua Pacio (17-3) is a two time ONE strawweight champion and has been in with almost all of the top contenders in the division. He has the Team Lakay striking style but is comfortable shooting for takedowns and has several submissions on his record.
Rene Catalan (6-2) is a multiple time wushu world champion. He’s 17 years older than Pacio but will feel confident he can beat the champion in a striking match.
The entire ONE: “Masters of Fate” fight card will be available to view live and free in some territories using the newly launched app which you can download here.