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ONE: ‘Kings & Conquerors’ preview (Pt. 2)

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ONE: “Kings & Conquerors” is set for the Cotai Arena in Macau this Saturday night (local time) and the card features 12 fights including two title matches. Bibiano Fernandes defends his bantamweight belt in the main event while the co-headliner will be a flyweight unification bout.

The first five fights on the card will all be streamed live on Facebook. As always with ONE fights, they are listed as walking weight, for the sake of clarity this means that if a fighter competes at 135 pounds with ONE (without cutting weight) they would compete at 125 pounds if they were with another organization (and allowed to cut weight).

For the first half of our preview click here. The remaining breakdown can be found below:

145 lbs.: Lei Chen vs. Saiful Merican

ONE Championship has yet to find a marquee Chinese star who can spearhead the promotion’s efforts in that country. Lei Chen (2-0) ticks all the boxes in terms of aggression, at least if his last fight was anything to go by.

Saiful Merican (5-3) has a much more cautious style although his last four fights have all ended inside the distance. If Chen starts as fast as he did last time out this could be over very quickly.

155 lbs.: Shannon Wiratchai vs. Rob Lisita

Rob Lisita hasn’t won a fight since 2014 and pulled out of his last fight citing personal problems so there are numerous question marks hanging over the Australian as he heads into his sixth ONE Championship fight.

In his day Lisita can be a devastating fighter with heavy hands but the same goes for Shannon Wiratchai and the Thai is significantly younger and sharper. Perhaps the veteran will roll back the years and put in a big performance but he’s definitely an underdog.

125 lbs.: Joshua Pacio vs. Hayato Suzuki

Joshua Pacio (9-1) is the top prospect coming out of the Philippines today. He has a Wushu striking style but is very comfortable on the ground and is highly experienced for a 21 year old.

Hayato Suzuki (16-0-2) brings a stellar record into his ONE Championship debut but has not faced quite the same level of opposition as Pacio. More than two thirds of his wins have come inside the distance and it will be fascinating to see how he fares against the young FIlipino in what must surely be a title eliminator.

170 lbs.: Koji Ando vs. Timofey Nastyukhin

This matchup pits patience against power. Koji Ando (12-5-2) is an experienced southpaw who knows how to time the straight left and can use his Judo to control where the action takes place.

While Ando will bide his time waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike Timofey Nastyukhin (10-3) is likely to go looking for the finish right from the bell. The Russian has some devastating striking but suffered a broken tibula in his last bout, wil lthere be lingering physical or mental effects from that injury?

135 lbs.: Kairat Akhmetov vs. Adriano Moraes

Kairat Akmetov outwrestled Adriano Moraes in their first fight although it couldn’t have been much closer, with the Kazakh claiming a split decision win. The interim champion has a more diverse skillset but has a tendency to pace himself during fights.

Having only ever lost by split decision Moraes might not want to leave this in the hands of the judges. With Akhmetov returning from close to a two year layoff the Brazilian could well try and make a fast start.

The extent to which Akhmetov is affected by the cagerust or cobwebs or whatever you want to call it will be key. His key to victory will be wrestling and he will be looking to put the Brazilian on his back at every available opportunity.

145 lbs.: Bibiano Fernandes vs. Andrew Leone

Bibiano Fernandes (20-3) hasn’t lost a fight in seven years and never really looked like losing until Reece McLaren pushed him all the way last December. The Brazilian needed a split decision to scrape through on that occasion.

Stylistically this is a bad matchup for Leone (8-2). He’s a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) black belt with a background in wrestling, but his submission game is nowhere near as good as Fernandes’ is.

That poses a problem for Leone because his instinct is to take opponent’s down but Fernandes is much more of a threat on the ground. The Brazilian will feel his striking is superior and he knows for a fact his submission game is.

Perhaps Leone can use his wrestling to nullify Fernandes by taking him down and keeping him down. Perhaps his BJJ will be good enough to stop the Brazilian from reversing position or attacking with submissions but the odds are against it.

ONE: “Kings & Conquerors” can be purchased for $9.99 USD from here.

Source:: mma mania