ONE Championship will get back to action this Friday, September 24th, with ONE Revolution, headlined by an astonishing three world title fights!
For those of you not familiar with ONE Championship, it is one of the premier MMA organizations, based out of Singapore. They feature mixed martial arts events, as well as kickboxing, grappling, and Muay Thai, making them the perfect one stop shop for combat sports fans. In addition to this, ONE does not permit cutting weight, boosting weight divisions by ~10 pounds and testing athletes for water content in their bodies.
In the main event, reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian Lee defends his World Title against #3-ranked contender Ok Rae Yoon, fresh off his upset victory over Eddie Alvarez. In the second World Title fight of the night, ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion Capitan Petchyindee Academy puts his belt on the line against striking star Mehdi Zatout. The third and final championship fight is a highly anticipated trilogy bout between ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio and former World Champion Yosuke Saruta.
The rest of the main card is stacked as well, with former two-division World Champion and current #1-ranked featherweight contender Martin Nguyen, who battles #5-ranked Kim Jae Woong. In a colossal heavyweight clash, Greco-Roman Wrestling World Champion Amir Aliakbari faces undefeated Anatoly Malykhin. Making her third appearance in the Circle this year, teenage atomweight prodigy Victoria Lee welcomes Victoria Souza to The Home of Martial Arts.
The full eleven fight card is as follows.
Christian Lee vs. Ok Rae Yoon (Lightweight MMA Championship)
Christian Lee (15-3 ONE) has spent his entire MMA career inside the ONE FC promotion and claimed the Lightweight title through a second round knockout of Japanese legend Shinya Aoki. Since then, he won the Lightweight Grand Prix and defended his title twice more, knocking out then-undefeated Iuri Lapicus. His last appearance saw him knock out Timofey Nastyukhin in just over a minute. Lee fights out of Evolve MMA in Singapore and obtained gold along with his sister Angela Lee, the reigning Atomweight champion.
“The Warrior” has a well developed MMA game and has claimed titles across a number of sports. A freestyle fighter, he holds black belts in both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well as Total Defense System, a versatile martial art based upon boxing, Filipino striking, and grappling. Lee has finished all but one of his victories, with eight wins coming in by knockout.
Lee is a genuine killer in any area that the fight takes place. When striking, he has serious power and a go-for-broke aggression, throwing constant volume with many feints. He has powerful offensive wrestling and favors a power double takedown, scoring a slam KO. On top of that, he boasts slick submission skills with a variety of techniques and powerful ground and pound, with the ability to finish the fight no matter where the match goes.
A successful promotional debut for Ok Rae Yoon (15-3, 2-0 ONE) back in April at the previously recorded ONE on TNT III earned him the #5 ranking and this match against Alvarez. Ok earned a unanimous decision over Murat Gafurov, using his takedown defense and crisp striking to outpoint the Russian. He made a quick turnaround to face Eddie Alvarez, who he also bested in a decision victory as a sizeable underdog.
Ok is primarily a striker and is extremely technical. His gameplay is fairly fundamental, but exercised beautifully, with good slips and dangerous straight punches. He can find success at range or in a brawl, but is best when keeping the distance and working away at his opponent with his high-level Muay Thai. Ok has five stoppages in his career with all but one by knockout. He has some offensive wrestling ability, but mostly uses his stout takedown defense to keep the fight on the feet.
We have an incredible headliner for this monumental event, with a fight that will likely take place largely on the feet, Ok has a difficult style to fight, and often infuriates his opponents by waiting for them to make a mistake, but it is a fantastic stylistic clash against the berserker offense of Lee. Christian Lee has been a force of dominance throughout his championship reign, but Ok does have the counter striking and adept takedown defense to give Lee trouble. Ok is definitely worth considering from a bettor’s point of view, with the defensive wrestling and pocket boxing to find success against Lee, particularly in the later rounds. With that being said, I expect the match to take place almost entirely on the feet, due to Ok’s stout defense, but I expect the powerful hooks and clean jab of Lee to finish the fight in the opening rounds.
My Pick: Christian Lee via Knockout
Capitan Petchyindee vs. Mehdi Batout (Bantamweight Kickboxing Championship)
Capitan Petchyindee Academy (144-40-2, 2-0 ONE) is the current Bantamweight Kickboxing world champion in ONE Super Series, but he has had a decorated career prior to coming to the Circle. In fact, Capitan was last seen outside of the circle at Muay Mun Wun Suk, where he fought to a draw opposite Nuenglanlek Jitmuangnon. He is a three-time Muay Thai World Champion and is currently ranked at the #7 Muay Thai fighter pound for pound in the world.
Capitan’s first appearance in the ONE Circle was something to behold, as he set the record for fastest ONE knockout with a six second finish of Petchtanong Banchamek. He captured the title in January of this year against Alaverdi Ramazanov, who he knocked out in the second round via leg kicks. Capitan has an engaging style, keeping his hands fairly low but firing heavy kicks early and often. He mixes his strikes up well, with his quick leg kicks being a highlight of his game. I also particularly like his right high kick, as he gives little to no tell when firing the strike.
ISKA and WBC World Champion Mehdi Zatout’s passion for Muay Thai was first ignited when he was 10 years old. After winning two national titles in France, a European championship, and two World Titles, the man they call “Diamond Heart” now finds himself among the world’s best strikers in ONE Super Series. Living and sharpening his skills full-time out of the Venum Training Camp in Thailand, he now hopes to put his knockout power to good use, and claim a ONE World Title.
Mehdi Zatout (77-39-1, 2-2 ONE) has scored two wins under the ONE Championship banner through his four fights so far, with each fight going to a decision. He was last seen over a year ago in August 2020, where he claimed a unanimous decision over Victor Pinto, a veteran of GLORY Kickboxing. Zatout holds 24 career knockouts, and I find that he is most proficient when utilizing his combos moving forward, though he presents defensive lapses off of the back foot.
This is through and though an exciting clash of experienced strikers, with both bringing in several world championships and many reputable names on their respective mantles. While Zatout offers a cerebral approach that does pose a threat to the ferocious style of Capitan, he offers a less various style. Capitan has him beat when it comes to his various kicks and flowing combos, though Zatout is an animal when he finds himself in a rhythm. The clear difference to me is the tell on their strikes, particularly kicks, where Capitan has demonstrated he holds much higher striking pedigree. I expect a fun back-and-forth matchup that sees Capitan claim a decision.
My Pick: Capitan via Decision
Joshua Pacio vs. Yosuke Saruta (Strawweight MMA Championship)
ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio (19-3, 10-3 ONE) of Baguio City, Philippines, was inspired to take up martial arts ever since he was 12 years old. It is a passion that he pursued successfully, winning several national wushu tournaments in the Philippines before he transitioned to mixed martial arts. After an undefeated amateur career, Pacio soon made his professional debut, where he went 9-0 before making it to the global stage of ONE Championship. After a thrilling run through the ranks, Pacio challenged Yoshitaka Naito for the ONE Strawweight World Championship in 2016.
He climbed his way back to the title in 2018, defeating Naito via unanimous decision. He dropped the title in his first world title defense to Yosuke Saruta by split decision, then reclaimed it in their rematch, winning via fourth round knockout. He has defended his title twice since then, and will meet Saruta for the third time here.
“The Passion” comes in with a Philippine Wushu style, with nine submissions among his fifteen stoppages. Though his style is based around his wrestling and dangerous top control, from both his ground and pound and various submission threats, his striking is just as world class. He has a Muay Thai style with a high defense, firing off quick right high kicks. Still just 25 years old, he is a fan favorite due to his finishing style and entertaining scrambles not he mat, as well as his prophetic nature, predicting the exact method he will use to stop the fight.
Former ONE Strawweight World Champion Yosuke Saruta (21-9-3, 4-1 ONE) built the foundations of a highly-successful martial arts career with gymnastics as a youth. After 10 years of domestic success, Saruta finally had his chance to shine on the global stage by signing with ONE Championship, and he seized the golden opportunity. Saruta made an immediate impact in his promotional debut, stunning former titleholder Alex Silva via unanimous decision in December 2018. Just one month later, he reached the pinnacle of his career, dethroning Joshua Pacio to claim the ONE Strawweight World Title. He has won two straight since, including a second round knockout of Daichi Kitakata.
Saruta has a well rounded style that focuses around his grappling. His top control is the best element of his game, with adept ground and pound along with great submission defense. Not he feet, he has composed hands and mixes up his attack well. Six of his eight pro stoppages have come by knockout, but so have six of his losses, as Saruta can be lulled into a firefight.
This is a fun trilogy matchup between two fighters who we know are competitive against one another. Pacio holds the edge not he feet to me, with an advantage in his reflexes and speed, particularly on his counters. While Pacio is more threatening on the mat, Saruta does fantastic work form position, though I expect the scrambling of Pacio to make that a non-issue. Saruta will have a chance if he can weather the storm fo Pacio and ramp up his volume in the later rounds, but I expect the wrestling and quick counters of the Filipino to earn another win over the Japanese product.
My Pick: Joshua Pacio via Decision
Martin Nguyen vs. Kim Jae Woong (Featherweight MMA)
My Pick: Martin Nguyen via Knockout
Amir Aliakbari vs. Anatoly Malykhin (Heavyweight MMA)
My Pick: Anatoly Malykhin via Knockout
Victoria Lee vs. Victoria Souza (Atomweight MMA)
My Pick: Victoria Lee via Decision
The card starts quite early here in the states, with the main card starting at 8:30 AM EST and the prelims kicking off at 6:30 AM.
Categories: ONE Championship