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ONE: ‘Age of Domination’ preview (Pt. 2)

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ONE: “Age of Domination” features two title fights and a whole host of Filipino fighters. The top half of the card is stacked with heavyweight champion Brandon Vera and long term bantamweight titleholder Bibiano Fernandes both defending their belts.

There’s also some established Filipino stars like Mark Striegl, Geje Eusatquio, and Honorio Banario in action as well as up and coming local talent like April Osenio and Danny Kingad. Here’s my preview of the last five fights on the card (for part one click here.)

As always with ONE Championship the weights listed are walking weights.

170 lbs.: Honorio Banario vs Rajinder Meena

Honorio Banario (10-6) is on the comeback trail. After five straight losses the former featherweight champion is coming off back-to-back wins and looks to be enjoying life as a lightweight. He’s been in with some very tough opponents but had been handed a slightly easier assignment here.

Rajinder Meena (8-2) is a former SFL lightweight champion but his performance on his ONE Championship debut did not reflect well on that particular organization. The Indian appeared to have almost no knowledged of the ground game and it would be a surprise if Banario wasn’t able to register his first stoppage win since 2013.

145 lbs.: Toni Tauru vs Geje Eustaquio

Toni Tauru (10-4-1) is a former bantamweight title challenger and is primarily a grappler. The majority of his wins are by submission and he will have a huge advantage in terms of reach and height here, standing 15 cms taller than his opponent.

Geje Eustaquio (8-4) has showcased some very impressive striking in his last two fights. His stand up game is far superior to Tauru’s but he won’t want to end up underneath the Finnish fighter so the Filipino’s takedown defense will need to be on point. This could go either way.

145 lbs.: Mark Striegl vs Sotir Kichukov

Sotir Kichukov (13-4) comes from a kickboxing background and is now based in Saigon but you could definitely question the calibre of opposition the Bulgarian had beaten prior to signing with ONE Championship. He comes into this fight as a replacement for Rafael Nunes but accepted the bout nearly a month ago so should be in shape.

By contrast Mark Striegl (14-2) has been in with some of the best bantamweights and featherweights in Asia. He is a high level wrestler with a solid ground game but there are question marks over his stamina and if Kichukov can make it into the third round without being submitted that could be a factor in the Bulgarian’s favor.

145 lbs.: Bibiano Fernandes vs Reece McLaren (For Fernandes’ bantamweight title)

At this stage of his career Bibiano Fernandes (19-3) is basically expected to win every fight and this one is no exception. The Brazilian has won 11 on the trot and has finished his last three opponents inside the distance, showcasing a newfound ruthless streak.

Reece McLaren (9-3) earned his title shot with wins over two of the top bantamweights on the roster. He deserves to be fighting for the belt but whether the newly minted Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) black belt brings enough to the table to be able to trouble Fernandes remains to be seen.

McLaren’s strengh is his ground game but as a multiple time BJJ world champion Fernandes’ should be better. The Brazilian also looks to haev superior striking and the only factor in the Australian’s favour here is that he is 11 years younger than the former two division Dream champion.

Upsets do happen, just ask Shinya Aoki. But it would be a surprise if one was to happen here.

265 lbs.: Hedeki Sakine vs Brandon Vera (For Vera’s heavyweight title)

After nearly a decade on the UFC roster we all know what Brandon Vera (14-7-0-1) brings to the table. He’s a high level kickboxer who is very dangerous with kicks and knees as well as being a former high school wrestling star who holds a black belt in BJJ.

Hedeki Sekine (7-0) is more of a mystery. There are plenty of videos online of him participating in very high level BJJ tournaments but I couldn’t find any footage of his seven mixed martial arts (MMA) fights. He’s 43 years old and hasn’t fought since 2014, two factors which are very much in Vera’s favor.

Vera is no slouch on the ground but Sekine should have the edge in terms of grappling. The Filipino American’s 15 cms reach advantage will come in very handy if he can keep the fight standing but he definitely won’t want to end up underneath the Japanese heavyweight who is built like the proverbial tank.

ONE Championship’s heavyweight division is for fighters whose walking weight is 265 pounds or less and given that Sekine has regularly competed at super heavyweight it will be interesting to see how much heavier he is than Vera. On paper this looks a very winnable fight for the champion.

ONE: “Age of Domination” is set for Friday night (local time) at the MOA Arena in Manila and is being broadcast by various TV networks around the world. The entire card can be purchased for $9.99 from here.


Source:: mma mania