This weekend the UFC returns to Japan as two Heavyweight greats duke it out in Japan. Roy Nelson is one of the UFC’s best knockout artists and is facing “The Warmaster” Josh Barnett in what promises to be an absolute war. There is a ton of very solid fights on the card which brings about this event’s Fight to Watch.
FIGHT TO WATCH:
Gegard Mousasi vs. Uriah Hall
Uriah Hall is one of the most exciting Middleweights in MMA right now. His spinning kick knockout of Adam Cella is one of the best knockouts in MMA history and he may be the most athletic fighters in the Middleweight division. He faces the biggest test of his career this weekend when he takes on veteran Gegard Mousasi. The winner of this fight immediately will vault into the spotlight of the top Middleweights in the world in a very deep division. Gegard Mousasi is one of the veterans of the sport, he made his MMA debut in 2003 and has only lost 5 times in the past 12 years, holding a record of 37-5-2. This is sure to be a battle at 185 between two very talented Middleweights.
HONORABLE MENTION 1: Takeya Mizugaki vs. George Roop
The first honorable mention goes to a pair of bantamweight veterans. Takeya Mizugaki was on a 5 fight UFC win streak and was given the biggest fight of his career when he took on Dominick Cruz last September. He was promptly finished in just over a minute. He lost his next fight to Aljamain Sterling, and just like that he was in a hole. He is still ranked as the number 8 bantamweight fighter in the world and goes into this scrap against George Roop looking to remind everyone that he is indeed one of the best bantamweight fighters in the world. His opponent, George Roop, is a UFC veteran of his own right. Roop made his UFC debut in 2008 and has had an incredibly up and down career. He lost his last fight to Rob Font and is looking to rebound from that against Mizugaki.
HONORABLE MENTION 2: Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Chico Camus
Later on the main card there is a massive fight in the Flyweight division between former challenger, Kyoji Horiguchi and Chico “King” Camus. Both are coming off losses. Horiguchi was handed a huge loss when he was submitted by Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” in the last second of the last round in their title fight in April. This finish broke a record for the latest submission in a fight and Horiguchi is now looking to bounce back and get back into title contention. His opponent, Chico Camus, is also coming off a loss. He lost to Henry Cejudo in June and is looking to get back in the win column as well. This is sure to be an incredible fight in the Flyweight division with two of the best Flyweights in the world going at it.
Highest Ranked Strawweight Outside of the UFC challenged Angela Lee to a title fight in One Championship
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.
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.
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.
Martin Nguyen to challenge Eduard Folayang’s title in Manila for the first champion vs champion fight in ONE Championship
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
Bashir Ahmad embraces new role in ONE Championship
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.
“Essentially, I 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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