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Ask the Pros – Jadambaa vs Boku

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ONE Championship: Ascend to Power this friday in Singapore features 2 title fights, a women’s atomweight title between 19-year old Angela Lee and veteran Mei Yamaguchi, the first women’s title fight in the promotion’s history, and the clash between Michal Pasternak and Roger Gracie, which has been turned into title fight bumped into the co-main status when the middleweight champion Vitaly Bigdash was injured less than 2 weeks before the fight day.

The potential barnburner of the night, however, is likely to lie on the clash between 2 former champions Kotetsu Boku and Jadambaa Narantungalag. Both are dangerous strikers with strong chin, and are not afraid to push the action.

After winning the lightweight title in 2012, Boku went on 1-2 on his following 3 fights in lightweight and decided to move down to featherweight, where he is racking 2 straight wins at featherweight. The former lightweight champion Jadambaa, on the other hand, just came off a loss on his first featherweight title defense to the current champion Marat Gafurov.

As usual, we ask our panel of professionals on the thoughts of this fight.

Arnaud Lepont – Head of Programming, UFC Gyms Asia
This fight is really a 50/50 fight and the winner should get a title shot. I love Boku-san, I think he is an entertainer and has a granite chin. This goes to a Killer Bee Boxing Vs Kick Boxing. It will depend of who is pressing the action. There is nothing much to say about it. I would talk hours about the Main Event between experienced Japanese Jewels Atomweight Champion Mei Yamaguchi and Flyweight Hawaiian Marketable beautify Angela Lee. Back to our pick, I will go for Jadambaa by Decision, but my heart will scream Boku-san

Bashir Ahmad – ONE Championship fighter
Jadambaa vs Boku is an awesome match up. Two former champions go at it. I have fought many times on the same card as Boku. He’s got better movement than Jadambaa in my opinion. I think on the ground these guy cancel each other out so I see this as 2nd or 3rd round TKO for Boku

Casey Suire  – ONE Championship fighter
If ONE offered a fight of the night bonus, this would be my pick. Both guys have some particular accurate striking, so this will be a fun one to watch. Boku looked much faster in his last 2 fights then he had in the past, while Jadambaa performed well in his title loss. Boku has height & reach advantage, but Jadambaa can erase that by using his kicks or take Boku down to avoid his power. This is gonna be close fight & comes down to which guy wants it more. Coming off a loss is motivating, but winning the last 4 of 5 by KO/TKO breeds confidence. My Pick: Fight of the Night. Too close to call.

Martin Nguyen – ONE Championship fighter
Jadamba is tough as nails. Strong and loves to stand and bang but my choice is Boku for this one. Mark my words he will put the division on notice with this win.

Martijn De Jong – Founder, Tatsujin Dojo
I give the edge to Jadambaa. Both are seasoned fighters with Boku having almost 3 times the number of fights Jadambaa has. The fight is going to be amazing to watch as both fighters will probably slug it out on the feet. Boku is tough as nails but I think Jadambaa is a little bit too much for him with his solid striking and proper wrestling. I expect it to go the distance in a fight which easily can become the fight of the night. The fans will be the real winners!

Final Tally
Pros for Boku: 2
Pros for Jadambaa: 2
Pros undecided: 1

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Highest Ranked Strawweight Outside of the UFC challenged Angela Lee to a title fight in One Championship

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28 Years Old, Zhang Weili(16-1) from China has challenged Strawweight champion Angela Lee for her strap in One Championship according to a source close to the Chinese fighter. Zhang who is the champion and fighting for Chinese based promotion Kunlun FC is currently negotiating on a one fight deal to face Angela. According to the source, they would like to determine who is the best women fighter in Asia in a one-off match and would have no problems to fight under the One Championship banner.

Zhang Weili(Left) at Kunlun FC 12

Since her pro debut loss in 2013, Zhang has racked up 16 wins in 3 years with a total of 15 finishes. She is the number #6 ranked women strawweight in the World according to Fightmatrix.com, just behind Rose Namajunas who will be facing UFC champion and number #1 ranked strawweight Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the title next month. Angela, on the other hand, is 9 rungs below Zhang at number 15.

Fightmatrix rankings as per 9/10/2017

While ONE was very eager to have a cross-promotion fight between Angela Lee and Joanna Jedrzejczyk to determine who has the better strawweight, they seem less eager to have a Kunlun FC champion on board for a one fight deal. The source states that ONE would need for Zhang to sign a 2-year exclusive contract first before discussing further for a fight with Angela.

If the source is accurate, ONE seems to be covering their bases this time and would not like for their champion to lose the belt to another promotion without securing Zhang on an exclusive contract. Kunlun, on the other hand, would also not want to lose their best fighter to another Asian promotion. Zhang would be a huge asset to ONE for their expansion in China but it would be tough for them to pry off the Chinese fighter as the source states that Zhang is being paid handsomely on Kunlun FC.

While things are looking bleak for a match between Angela Lee and Zhang Weili to happen in the ONE Championship cage, the fans will be keeping their fingers crossed and hope that they could witness a fight between two of the best women Strawweights in Asia.

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Martin Nguyen to challenge Eduard Folayang’s title in Manila for the first champion vs champion fight in ONE Championship

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After speculations on who Martin Nguyen’s next opponent when he signed a fight contract, ONE Championship have confirmed that Martin Nguyen is set to challenge Eduard Folayang’s lightweight title in Manila on ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD on 10 November.

The fight is the latest in a series of cross-division fights announced after Shinya Aoki vs Ben Askren and Aung La NSang vs Alain Ngalani, but this will be the first time the reigning ONE Championship titleholders from two weight divisions will clash.

Nguyen’s coach, Fari Salievski, did tease on the idea of Nguyen fighting for the title in different weight divisions , but he teased on a bantamweight division since Martin was underweight for his featherweight title fight against Marat Gafurov.

Despite being on the lighter side of a featherweight division, the new champion decided to challenge the title against a fighter a weight class above him, and opens the possibility of the first fighter in ONE Championship to challenge the title in 3 weight divisions.

“I’m not out only to make a statement, but to go down in history as the best to ever compete under the ONE Championship banner” – Martin Nguyen

ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD will be held in Malls of Asia Arena in Manila on 10 November 2017

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Bashir Ahmad embraces new role in ONE Championship

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Bashir Ahmad is appointed as the Senior Manager of Industry Partnerships, the role made to develop and strengthen the relationships between ONE Championship and various MMA gyms and promotions.

“EssentiallyI see myself doing what I did in Pakistan and working to accelerate the growth of MMA in Asia with other players in the MMA scene,” Ahmad explained.

As the pioneer of Pakistani MMA, Bashir Ahmad has worked to promote MMA in Pakistan, most notably the Shaheen Gym project, a non-profit gym which serves to take at-risk youth off the street with the appeal and focus of MMA. With his new position in ONE, Ahmad believes he will be better positioned to develop MMA in Asia, particularly in his hometown Pakistan.

“I think it’s a win-win. I’ve learned about developing MMA in a really difficult market – Pakistan, and I bring that experience with me.”

“On the flip side, I get work with one of the world’s most professional martial arts brands and bring those lessons to my mission in Pakistan.”

4-3 on his professional MMA career, Ahmad has been fighting for ONE Championship since April 2013 and became the first ONE Championship athlete to make the transition from into the management role in the promotion. Despite this additional role, Ahmad is adamant that his new role in ONE Championship does not take him away from active competition.

“100% not retired. I can certainly train. If Martin can beat Gafurov while being a full-time mechanic, I can certainly train when I work in the MMA industry for a living. It’s about time management and training smart.”

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