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Mario Satya Wirawan: This will be a fight to be remembered

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Mario Satya Wirawan may have started his ONE Championship career with a decision loss against his now-teammate Sunoto, but he quickly turned that low point into a record breaking performance on his next outing by knocking out one of Cambodia’s most experienced MMA fighters Chan Heng in 6 seconds and becoming the first Indonesian in more than 5 years to win an MMA match outside Indonesia.

Mario Satya Wirawan Knocked Out Chan Heng in Cambodia in 6 seconds.

Mario Satya Wirawan Knocked Out Chan Heng in Cambodia in 6 seconds.

The lanky Indonesian credited his victory to the better preparation heading into the second fight, as well as a better mental state from having stepped on the bigger stage for the second time around.

“The difference, of course, lies in good preparation training & mental preparation. As far as training volume & focus ahead of both fights, they remain the same. However, by having more knowledge in both my strengths & weaknesses allowed the preparation to be more systematic & efficient. Finally, on the mental note, having more fights on a higher level of competition gave me a better feel on the level of competition in ONE, whereas during my first fight in ONE, I still don’t have that feel on the level of competition – and that certainly gave a lot of confidence.”

Wirawan will once again step into ONE Championship cage, but under the Asian promotion’s new weigh in policies which prevents extreme weight cutting, the Indonesian youngster, like several other fighters, need to step up a weight class into featherweight, which is likely to change the competitive landscape, including in featherweight division.

“This change of rules surely bring about changes on how you prepare the fights, and routines will be different too. Having said that, it’s too early to tell how it will change the competitive landscape in my division, as I see a lot of fighters are still looking for the optimum weigh division for each fighters to fight in.”

Come February 20th in his hometown of Jakarta, Wirawan will face Yohan Mulia Legowo, one of Indonesia’s pioneering fighters and his most experienced opponent. Legowo is currently on a 3-fight losing streak and only managed a single victory in 2010, but the Solo, Central Java native remains as one of the most well known figures in the Indonesian MMA scene and arguably Wirawan’s highest profile opponent to date.

With his opponent on a decline, one might argue that this is a passing of the torch, but Wirawan prefers to focus on bringing the fight to the fans and redeem himself to the home crowd after a low key performance in Jakarta the first time around.

“I want to focus on introducing myself to the Indonesian public in a positive light. I didn’t manage to do so the last time around, and I believe this is the time to do so. I have fought fighters with more experience than myself, and I have a lot of confidence in my skills as well as how I prepare for the fight. I want to bring fight fans to the edge of their seats leave something for them as well as for myself a fight to remember.”

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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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