ONE Fighting Championship, Asia’s largest mixed martial arts organisation, has confirmed all nine bouts set to take place at its inaugural fight night in Dubai – ONE FC: Reign of Champions.
The event, which will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre on August 29, boasts one of the most momentous cards in cage fighting history with three ONE FC World Championship belts on the line as well as many other mouth-watering match ups.
The headlining bout has been confirmed as the lightweight title fight between holder Shinya Aoki (35-6) of Japan and Iranian challenger Kamal Shalorus (9-3-2).
Japanese welterweight Noutatsu Suzuki (11-1-2) will defend his belt against American wrestling legend Ben Askren, while featherweight champion Koji Oishi (25-9-10) of Japan takes on Mongolia’s Narantungalag Jadambaa (9-3) in the other co-main event.
Oishi was originally scheduled to face Eric Kelly (11-1), but the Filipino was not medically cleared following his stunning but bloody victory at ONE FC: War of Dragons in Taiwan last month.
Jadambaa steps in to take his place fresh off a rousing win over former featherweight champion Honorio Banario (8-4) of the Philippines in May.
Other Dubai battles announced yesterday include top English MMA fighter James McSweeney (13-11) against Brazilian light heavyweight Cristiano Kaminishi (8-1).
McSweeney is currently on the best streak of his career, with nine wins in his last 12 fights including a first round knockout of Australia’s Chris Lokteff (12-2) at ONE FC: Rise of Heroes in Manila in May.
Multiple Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu title holder Kaminishi has been competing predominantly in Japan and will be making his ONE FC debut on August 29.
Meanwhile, Thai flyweight Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke (1-0) will clash with a fellow Muay Thai expert in Malaysia’s Ali Yaakub.
Dejdamrong has an impressive Muay Thai record of 282-65 and is a three-time Lumpinee World Champion. His prolific striking skills were on full display in his ONE FC debut in Jakarta in June, when he dismantled Filipino boxer Jomanz Omanz (0-1) with kicks and punches in the first round.
Yaakub is a former Asian Champion of both WMC and I-1. Having trained in MMA for several years, he will now make his debut in the sport.
Syria’s first representative at ONE FC, Mohamad Walid (3-0), has been picked to face Filipino Vaughn Donayre (7-1) in a catchweight contest.
Walid, who holds a black belt in karate and purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, is presently undefeated after competing in local promotions in the United Arab Emirates.
Cebu-native Donayre quit his mechanical engineering job and moved to Dubai to chase his passion for cage fighting.
The undercard will also see English lightweight Christian Holley (10-0) meet former UFC star Roger Huerta (21-7-1) of the US, and featherweight Hiroshige Tanaka (10-1) of Japan tackle Brazil’s Herbert Burns (3-0).
Kicking off the action will be the eagerly anticipated female flyweight match up between Malaysia Ann Osman (0-1) and Filipina-American Ana Julaton (1-0).
Fans can catch all the action live on STAR Sports.