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MMA Latest Asia | One Championship rankings 2015 Part 2 : The Completely Stacked Divisions

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We are moving towards 2016 and MMA Latest Asia will feature a three part series on our One Championship rankings for 2015. Fighters have to have fought at least once in One Championship from December 2014 to December 2015, to be featured in these rankings.

In the second part of the series, we take a look at the stacked divisions of One Championship.

Lightweight

The lightweight division of One Championship was given a boost with the return and the rise of Hawaiian Lowen Tynanes. The champion, Shinya Aoki will be facing Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba on Rizin FF this month. While waiting for the champion’s return, Adrian Pang, who also claimed an equal number of wins from December 2014 to December 2015 should face Lowen in a title eliminator.

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Possible matches to look out for in 2016.

Adrian Pang vs Lowen Tynanes

Shinya Aoki vs winner of Adrian Pang vs Lowen Tynanes

Koji Ando vs Ariel Sexton

Zorobabel Moreira vs Vincent Latoel

Roger Huerta vs Kuat Khamitov

Featherweight

Arguably the most stacked division in One Championship, MMA Latest can only assume that the fans cannot wait to see Marat Gafurov defend his belt against the No 1. undefeated contender Herbert Burns. If Marat does win over Herbert, he would have cleared all of the upper echelons of the division less the returns of Eric Kelly and Kotetsu Boku. There is no shortfall of fighters in this division with plenty of fighters outside the rankings below, waiting in line.

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Possible matches to look out for in 2016

Marat Gafurov vs Herbert Burns

Ev Ting vs Jadambaa Narantungalag

Eric Kelly vs Kotetsu Boku

Martin Nguyen vs Amir Khan

Timofey Nastyukhin vs Robert Lisita

Shannon Wiracthai vs Li Kai Wen

Bantamweight

One Championship’s plans to have a title shot for Mark Striegl was smashed after he lost to short notice replacement, Reece Mclaren. Reece’s win is indeed impressive but having a straight shot at Bibiano Fernandes is highly unlikely. A match-up with former 135lbs contender Dae Hwan Kim will determine if Reece would be ready at for the title shot.

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Possible matches to look out for in 2016

Dae Hwan Kim vs Reece Mclaren

Kevin Bellingon vs Toni Tauru

Mark Striegl vs Yusup Saadulaev

Muin Gafurov/Xian Ji vs Fransino Tirta

Chan Rothana vs Heili A la Teng

Flyweight

Dominant champion Adriano Moraes recently lost the belt to the debuting Kairat Akhmetov and has told MMA Latest that he would want an immediate rematch. Probably the least stacked among the four, the inclusion of the ever entertaining Asuka Mikami coupled by a new champion has given new life to the One Championship 135lbs division. MMA Latest had a “split decision” on an immediate rematch for the flyweight title. Checkout the possible matches below the rankings.

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Possible matches to look out for in 2016

Adriano Moraes vs Kairat Akhmetov

Asuka Mikami vs Gianni Subba

Eugene Toquero vs Anatpong Bunrad

Xiao Yang Liu vs Alex Silva

Li Wei Bin vs Wu Ze

Geje Eustaquio vs Saiful Merican

Check out the final part in a few days where will lay out the women’s divisions.

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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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