Asia's largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promoter, Singapore-based ONE Championship, today will unveil plans to bring its second regionally televised event to Cambodia next month with ONE: Kingdom of Khmer, scheduled for Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich Theater on December 5.
The event, which will be available to an audience of millions, will be headlined by a mix of top international talent while also featuring several up-and-coming Cambodian MMA stars.
“We are returning to Cambodia because the last show we did here [ONE: Rise of the Kingdom on September 12 last year] was such a resounding success,” said Loren Mack, a director at ONE. “Cambodia is fast becoming a major MMA market, a market ONE will continue to grow with as we are committed to the development of the hugely skilled fighters here in the Kingdom.”
Former Kun Khmer star Chan Rothana and compatriot Sam An Dung are two of those local fighters and the duo will square off in a rematch of their bout last year that ended in controversy when Rothana was disqualified for what was deemed an illegal stomp to the head.
“I am very motivated to show that I am the best, and I am confident I will win,” Rothana said of his rematch with Sam An Dung.
“I do not contest the decision [last year], but I was winning and I’m still not sure I made the wrong movement. I watched the video several times and still do not think it is a red card – I am at the end of a movement and had no intention to stomp. Anyway, the decision was made and such is sport.”
In the main event, Lowen Tynanes from Hawaii faces Russian star Raul. Tynanes is a ferocious combatant who combines a world-class wrestling ability with relentless aggression that has produced numerous highlight-reel finishes.
Yakhyaev has racked up an impressive record of nine wins to two defeats. Adept at both striking and mat techniques, his clash with Tynanes promises to be a spectacular one.
Japanese MMA wildcard Riku Shibuya (12-3), whose unorthodox style and powerful combinations have won him many fans, will have a chance to win over the crowd in Phnom Penh as he takes on Thailand’s Anatpong Bunrad.
Bunrad (5-1) is currently on a three-fight winning streak, and he defeated the highly regarded Geje Eustaquio in his last appearance in the ONE cage. An impressive striker, Bunrad takes on his toughest challenge yet in Shibuya.
Since suffering two setbacks early on in his career, Sam Ang Dun has emerged as a solid featherweight with a 5-2 record, and was the winner of the featherweight tournament at Rise of the Kingdom, proving himself as a fighter in this rich weight division.
His opponent, Chan Rothana, has a 3-1 record and was victorious in his last outing against Ramon Gonzales at Age of Champions in Malaysia in March, becoming the first Cambodian to win overseas.
“Opponents believe that they can beat me on the ground because Kun Khmer uses standup fighting,” Rothana said. “But in [the Cambodian martial art] yutakhun khom, we fully use ground techniques and I am very comfortable with them. But I really would love to have a full-on striking fight one day.”
Cambodia’s Chan Heng debuted for ONE Championship last year. Falling short of victory in a bantamweight bout, he now boasts an 8-2 record. A well-rounded fighter with a knack for submissions, Heng wants to show home fans that he has what it takes to be a force in the featherweight division by defeating Indonesia’s Mario Satya Wirawan (4-2).
Unbeaten with two wins, Cambodia’s Meas Meu made his ONE debut at Rise of the Kingdom a memorable one, submitting countryman Chan Heng via rear-naked choke. Meu’s victory was impressive and has earned him another stint inside the ONE cage, this time against Chan Sam Art, a 27-year-old bantamweight from Kuala Lumpur.
The Kingdom’s Tharoth Sam is no stranger to adversity inside the cage. The “Little Frog” has a 2-1 record, with both of her victories coming impressively by technical submission.
A lightning quick striker, Sam is another home star who will be looking to show local fans but will have her work cut out for her against against Delhi’s Jeet Toshi.
Two other female Cambodian fighters, Eh Ya Nut and Vy Srey Chai, will also be facing each other in the ONE Championship cage. This will be Vy Srey Chai’s second ONE Championship fight after she lost to Tharoth Sam September last year in Rise of the Kingdom. It will be Eh Ya Nut’s debut.
“ONE Championship and our official partners NagaWorld, CTN, Cambodia Beer and Pulsar are continuing our dedication to the growth of MMA in Cambodia by bringing an exhilarating night of world-class mixed martial arts action back into the heart of Phnom Penh,” said ONE’s Loren Mack.
Tickets for ONE: Kingdom of Khmer at the Koh Pich Theater on December 5 are available at NagaWorld.