Martial arts fans were treated to ONE: HEART OF THE LION in Singapore this past weekend, and it featured many of the world’s elite athletes from mixed martial arts, kickboxing, and Muay Thai.
Another Filipino was crowned undisputed world champion, as Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon ousted Brazilian legend Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes via split decision in the night’s main feature.
Besides the landmark event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, the world’s largest martial arts organization announced four other huge projects in days prior, all of which should be joyful news to Malaysian martial arts fans.
1) Flyweight World Grand Prix involving “Mighty Mouse” and Gianni Subba
Malaysia’s very own ONE flyweight athlete Gianni Subba (9-3) was featured in the promo video posted by ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong on Thursday.
The 25-year-old has made his dream clear since day one — to one day feel the world title around his waist.
Subba will be vying for the ONE Flyweight World Title against the division’s biggest names: top contenders Kairat Akhmetov, Adriano Moraes, and Danny Kingad; as well as current champion Geje Eustquio; and the most dominant world champion in mixed martial arts history, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.
2) Could we see Ev Ting versus Eddie Alvarez?
Just like the Flyweight division, there will be a Lightweight World Grand Prix which could give a Malaysian athlete a shot at glory. His name: Ev “E.T” Ting (16-5).
Although a submission defeat to Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki in October dampened his three-match win streak, the Auckland MMA athlete is still regarded as one of the best in his weight class.
Among the names mentioned by Sityodtong during the ONE: HEART OF THE LION press conference last week were Ting, Amir Khan, Timofey Nastyukhin, Ariel Sexton, Eduard Folayang, Shinya Aoki, and their latest signing, Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez.
Athletes will only compete once per night, and the brackets and duels are yet to be revealed, but Ting versus Alvarez sounds like a mouth-watering clash.
3) Appointment of Miesha “Cupcake” Tate as vice president of ONE Championship
The world’s top female mixed martial artist is a hero in her own right, and fits the ONE Championship bill perfectly.
The 32-year-old from Tacoma, Washington is looked up to as an inspiration by many of the world’s top athletes, and now she wants to bring her knowledge from inside the cage into life after competition.
ONE Championship’s already stacked female division is growing bigger and better.You have the likes of ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee and ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion Xiong Jing Nan, as well as rising stars such as Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan, and Indonesia’s Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol.
Now ONE’s leading ladies will have a new hero to look up to come 2019.
4) ONE eSports, could we see some Malaysian athletes give it a go?
Sityodtong announced the launch of a colossal esports venture in 2019, alongside making new signing and renowned gamer Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson the Chief Brand Ambassador for ONE eSports.
ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin Nguyen is also an avid gamer, as are some of Malaysia’s mixed martial arts talents. Could we witness them joining in the fun alongside eSports heroes?