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Yohan Mulia Legowo is Ready for Featherweight Title Run

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Yohan Mulia Legowo ready to be back on his winning ways (Credit: Bramono Lunardi)

Yohan Mulia Legowo ready to be back on his winning ways (Credit: Bramono Lunardi)

Yohan Mulia Legowo may have lost his ONE Championship debut on home ground last year, but the Solo native is arguably remain amongst the most popular Indonesian fighters alongside Fransino Tirta, particularly since his do-or-die style never left his fights at the hand of the judges.

As with any other Indonesian fighters, he had high expectations that he will be able to showcase his game in front of home crowd last September, only to find the card only featured a single bout featuring 2 Indonesians.

To say the least, I’m very surprised that the event is short on Indonesian fighters. I’m sure that many Indonesian fighters look forward to fight in front of home crowd, and at HAN Fight Academy in Solo have several fighters that were ready to fight, but were not called.

Putting his disappointment aside, he immediately took the opportunity to fight at ONE Championship’s home ground in Singapore against 1-0 prospect in Benedict Ang, who is 16 years his junior.

He may only be 1-0, but I will not take things lightly. He’s a very talented young fighter, and looking at his last fight at ONE, he had shown a well rounded game, and he’s dangerous both standing up and on the ground.

While many would have viewed a 7-3 veteran of more than 10 years and a champion of the local circuit to take on a 1-0 prospect as potentially detrimental to the veteran’s career, Legowo is more optimistic on the outlook of such bouts.

I beg to differ on speculations. I think of this match as a turning point after 2 consecutive losses. I’ve learnt a lot from my past defeats, and had a great fight camp heading into the fight for the past 2-3 months and worked on my weaknesses, particularly on the wrestling.

The Solo native is in fact still optimistic on aiming for the ONE Featherweight Championship belt despite his recent loss against top-10 ONE featherweight Ev Ting and the increasingly competitive featherweight division with the recent signings like Timofey Nastyukhin and interim champion Marat Gafurov.

That still hasn’t changed. All fighters would definitely want to be the champion, but at this moment, my focus is 100% on the next fight against Benedict Ang.

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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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