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One Pride Season 2 Ep 5: Paul Lumihi batters Aep Saepudin to retain featherweight belt

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On the Indonesian promotion’s second season, One Pride Featherweight titleholder Paul Lumihi wins his first title defense when Saepudin with a dominant 3 round decision. Lumihi masterfully controls the distance throughout the fight, peppering his Saepudin from the outside with kicks and stiff jabs as the brawler tried to close the distance. Even when Saepudin managed to get into punching range, Lumihi quickly closed the distance and fire off knees from the clinch, leaving Saepudin’s face mangled after 2 rounds. Smelling blood, Lumihi stepped up a gear with his attacks in the final round, cornering his opponent against the cage and systematically picking Saepudin apart from the outside to cruise through the third round and won a unanimous decision victory.

The lightweight and flyweight tournaments have reached its first semifinal bout, with lightweight semifinals saw 2 underdogs scoring upset wins to advance to semifinals, while the flyweight is arguably the most competitive semifinal on paper thus far.

The first lightweight semifinal between 2 grapplers, Kevin Sulistio, who was outclassed by Jeka Saragih on the quarterfinals before scoring a submission win, floored Novian Hartanto with a right hook to open the round to quickly set the tone of the rest of the match. Hartanto continued to set up for takedowns, only for Sulistio to score hits with his counters. When Hartanto finally got the takedown, Sulistio immediately reversed and obtained mount, where he ended the fight with ground and pound before the round’s end.

On the flyweight tournament semifinals, the fight between Muay Thai champion Rudy Agustian and grappling champion Rengga Raphael Richard is an interesting one on paper, with both fighters scored well on all aspects of the game during the audition process. The fight quickly turned into a one-sided affair when Richard quickly engaged in a clinch, took Agustian down, and quickly latched onto his back to end the fight with a rear naked choke in less than 2 minutes.

Full results and link to the fight videos are as per below:
Featherweight title defense: Paul Lumihi def. Aep Saepudin by UD
Lightweight tourney semifinals: Kevin Sulistio def. Novian Hartanto by R1 TKO (Ground and Pound)
Flyweight tourney semifinals: Rengga Raphael Richard def. Rudy Agustian by R1 Sub (RNC)
Arif Maut Rambo def. Marton Tampubolon by R1 Sub (RNC)
Jeka Asparindo Saragih def. Rizki Mulia by R1 Sub (Americana)

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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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