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ONE: Titles & Titans – Luis ‘Sapo’ Santos Returns

Jim Edwards

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It was announced via press release yesterday that Brazilian Luis “Sapo” Santos will take on former ONE Middleweight World Champion Igor “Lionheart” Svirid in a five-round main event showdown at ONE: Titles & Titans on August 27th.

The event takes place at the state-of-the-art Jakarta Convention Center in Jakarta, Indonesia and also features Marcin Prachnio and Jake Butler.

The press release read:

Luis “Sapo” Santos is a mixed martial arts veteran from Brazil with over 70 fights on his record and over half of his wins ending by either TKO or KO. With a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a penchant for spectacular finishes, Santos has emerged as one of the promotion’s most overwhelming physical specimens — a fighter capable of finishing a bout in a variety of ways at any given moment. Known for his aggressiveness and brute strength, Santos looks to continue his dominance inside the ONE Championship cage in his next bout against Igor Svirid.

Igor “Lionheart” Svirid is a 30-year old fighter from Almaty, Kazakhstan and is the former ONE Middleweight World Champion. He captured the title with a stunning 17-second knockout victory over Leandro Ataides in 2014 but later succumbed to now reigning champion Vitaly Bigdash in a memorable contest last year. At his best, Svirid employs a tenacious offensive attack partnered with iron-clad toughness to subdue foes inside the cage. He is moving down to welterweight and is set to take on Luis Santos in the main event.

Marcin Prachnio is a Polish mixed martial artist with an impressive 11-2 professional MMA record. He’s won his last six bouts, four of which by devastating technical knockouts. He is currently unbeaten with the promotion, overcoming two tough challenges in both Alexandre Machado and Leandro Ataides in his first two appearances inside the ONE Championship cage. Prachnio is now ready for his biggest challenge yet — against American light heavyweight standout Jake Butler.

Jake Butler has firmly established himself as one of the top elite wrestlers in the division. He has a highlight reel of victories by exciting finishes, and possesses some of the best wrestling in the sport having honed his skills as captain of the Princeton wrestling team. Butler is unstoppable when he utilizes his signature techniques, but has also improved his striking skills by training with Muay Thai world champions in Asia. He’ll be moving down to middleweight next to face the streaking Marcin Prachnio.

Vincent “MagniVincent” Latoel is a Dutch mixed martial arts veteran of Mulakan roots with over 30 professional bouts on his record. A lightweight standout with deep ties to the country of Indonesia, Latoel’s experience in a stacked lightweight division against the very best fighters in his weight class has made him an incredibly resilient and dangerous fighter. Latoel is in his 15th year as a pro and is looking for success in his next bout, this time against the Philippines’ Edward Kelly.

Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly is a 32-year old Filipino MMA talent and is one of the brightest featherweight prospects to emerge from the Philippines. A mixed martial artist with a complete striking and ground game, Kelly brings Team Lakay’s world-renowned Wushu Sanshou to center stage as he looks to showcase his skills inside the ONE Championship cage. In his last bout, Kelly scored an impressive submission victory over the highly-regarded Jordan Lucas. He seeks to replicate the feat this time against Vincent Latoel.

Anthony Engelen is a Dutch mixed martial artist of Indonesian descent who spends his days training full-time in Indonesia. He is an exceptional grappler and a well-rounded striker capable of ending fights quickly and decisively. With a young 4-2 MMA record, Engelen prides himself in being an exciting fighter, willing to please the crowd by always seeking the highlight-reel finish. The talented featherweight will take on Egyptian Sami Amin.

34-year old Sami Amin is the EFC featherweight champion from Cairo, Egypt. He made his promotional debut against Fransino Tirta in 2014, and is now looking for victory inside the ONE Championship cage. A highly-aggressive and fast starter, Amin likes to bring the fight to opponents by blitzing them with powerful combinations. In his next bout, Amin takes on the dynamic Anthony Engelen.

Indonesian mixed martial artists Sunoto and Yohan Mulia “The Iceman” Legowo will go head-to-head in a featherweight matchup of talented local fighters. Sunoto is a highly-aggressive Indonesian warrior while Legowo has proven to be a stellar grappling ace.

Mario Satya Wirawan, who owns a ONE Championship record of fastest knockout finish with a six second stoppage of Cambodia’s Chan Heng last year, will represent Bogor, Indonesia against the Philippines’ Burn Soriano in a bantamweight contest among the preliminary bouts at ONE: TITLES & TITANS.

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

Hazwady

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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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