ONE Championship is just a few days away from holding its most explosive show in Indonesia yet.
This Saturday, 22 September, the world’s largest martial arts organization will host its forthcoming spectacle, ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES, at the Jakarta Convention Center.
From top to bottom, the 12-bout card is loaded with some of the best mixed martial artists and superstar strikers on the planet.
As the event draws near, we spoke with three of the promotion’s finest martial artists – Alain “The Panther” Ngalani, Arnaud “The Game” Lepont, and two-division ONE World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen – to get their thoughts on the most anticipated contests at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES.
Yoshitaka Naito VS Joshua Pacio
Alain Ngalani: I want to say that Pacio has a chance to take this — he is very fast and well-rounded. But seeing Naito in his last bout, I think he really upped his game.
He was very aggressive and not scared to take the fight to his opponent, even coming forward and willing to exchange blows. That was a different fighter out there. This will be very good. I don’t know which way to go yet.
Martin Nguyen: Joshua is like a weapon when it comes to fighting in his division. He has been taking guys out, and pulling submissions out of nowhere.
The Team Lakay guys are constantly evolving. This will be a good test for the World Champion, but I’m a big fan of Joshua, and I think he may have it this time.
Arnaud Lepont: As much as Team Lakay is on a run, Naito showed that he is still improving and getting better each time he steps into the cage by winning back his belt.
Joshua is a champion in the making. His striking is fast and accurate, and like all of his teammates, he has incredible cardio. But Naito will have the experience advantage – both with age and the experience of going five rounds. I predict hearing “and still” this Saturday.
Stefer Rahardian VS Peng Xue Wen
Alain Ngalani: Rahardian wants to make a difference and he wants to make a point. He is a very good fighter, and I’m banking on him to do that.
Martin Nguyen: I think Stefer will want to bounce back after his last performance in Manila. His opponent is a strong wrestler.
Personally, I think Stefer has a better grappling advantage. There will be a lot of grappling in this fight. I don’t see much striking, and I see Stefer winning by submission.
Arnaud Lepont: Stefer has the upper hand on his opponent. He only has one loss and it was at the hands of Rene Catalan, a multi-time Wushu World Champion.
I will make it short because I don’t see Peng stopping Stefer. I see Stefer mixing it up and finding the TKO victory late in the first round or early in the second.
Kairat Akhmetov VS Ma Hao Bin
Alain Ngalani: I think Ma Hao Bin has had some very good performances, but Kairat has more experience at the top of the division. I think that is the key, and he will win that one.
Martin Nguyen: I am looking forward to this. It’s two high-level wrestlers going against each other, and they can bang as well.
I’m a fan of Ma Hao Bin, but Kairat has an experience edge over him, so it will be a good test for Ma Hao Bin to see if he can hang with the elite guys at the top, but he is still young and up-and-coming.
Arnaud Lepont: This one is a tough call. We have two top-level wrestlers facing each other in the best mixed martial arts event in Asia.
Kairat learned from his mistakes, and Tiger Muay Thai must have made the right adjustments in his style. Still, it will be a close call.
If Kairat pushes the pace, he might get a late stoppage by ground and pound in the third round, or a unanimous decision. I would put my money on Kairat.