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Ask the Pros – ONE: Global Rivals Double or Nothing

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“This is a very surprising and honestly, well putted together, fight card.
The only one sided fight is “Funky” Askren fight (and we all hope to see this rematch with Santos)
Glad to see OneC back again after such a long time on a free live coverage on Fox Sport” – Arnaud Lepont, Head of Programming UFC Gyms Asia

The above comment pretty much sums up ONE: Global Rivals in Manila, Philippines this Friday. Despite the promotion around Ben Askren’s title defense against Nikolay Aleksakhin, the fight seem one-sided, especially if we base Russian’s performance on his ONE Championship debut.

The rest of the card, however, are filled with many interesting fights, which is why on this edition’s Ask the Pros, we ask our panel of professionals not one, but TWO fights – Lowen Tynanes vs Koji Ando and Geje Eustaquio vs Gianni Subba

Lowen Tynanes vs Koji “Commander” Ando

Arnaud “The Game” Lepont, Head of Programming UFC Gyms Asia

I think Ando will get Tynanes to the distance with his superior striking and takedown defense. We saw what Tynanes can do against Colossa, and Ando forcing Aoki to butt scoot even after round 3 of their fight. I pick Ando with a Decision victory and a future rematch with Aoki.
Bashir Ahmad, ONE Championship Fighter
I think Koji Ando has this fight. I saw Lowen fight Kuat Khamitov and I think he’s a super athletic guy but he’s still primarily a wrestler. I’m sure his submissions are decent and his striking at a minimal level for a pro but Ando is way more advanced in the all around MMA game. Ando by decision.
Fransino Tirta, ONE Championship Fighter

Tynanes vs Ando, tynanes has very good grappling and ground fight, if Tynanes can take this fight to the ground thevictory is his. Ando will have to keep this fight standing to get the victory. I can see Tynanes take this fight to the ground and win by gnp or submission.
Martin Nguyen, ONE Championship Fighter
Lowen is tough as nails and very skilled but when its comes to choosing this fight, I’m all for the commando. He is hands down one of my favourite fighters.
Tynanes vs Ando Final Tally:
Pros for Tynanes: 1
Pros for Ando: 3
Pros Undecided: 0
Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio vs Gianni Subba
Arnaud “The Game” Lepont, Head of Programming UFC Gyms Asia
I know both of them and I am a close friend of Gravity. Sadly, I think Subba’s range and ability to mix striking and Takedown will be tough for Geje. I hope gravity will be able to mix his style with punches and kicks to create the surprise but Gianni will get the Unanimous Decision win after I think the Fight of the night battle.
Bashir Ahmad, ONE Championship Fighter
I have trained with Gianni and he is very, very good. He has a camp that cares about him and looks after him and a perfect training partner in his brother. Geje is legit but hes not surrounded by the same environment that I feel Gianni is. I don’t want to be disrespectful cuz all the Pinoy fighters have my deepest respect. But I think we can all agree that (his) MMA is not as developed in terms of grappling and all around MMA game. Youth and camp will give Gianni a second round TKO after a tough battle from Geje
Fransino Tirta, ONE Championship Fighter
Gianni vs Geje, both are very good striker, this is going to be a very good fight, both will look for finish. Gianni has more tools with his grappling and BJJ. If Gianni can take him down, the victory is his, if the fight is standing who know what can happen.
Martin Nguyen, ONE Championship Fighter
This fight is going to be very tough to choose from. Both fighters are always there to put on a show and finish fights.
Eustaquio vs Subba Final Tally:
Pros for Eustaquio: 0
Pros for Subba: 3
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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