ONE: “Conquest of Champions” is set for the MOA Arena in Manila this Friday night (local time) and features two title fights involving very popular Filipino fighters.
Fil-Am heavyweight Brandon Vera defends his heavyweight title against Mauro Cerilli in the main event while Eduard Folayang faces Amir Khan for the vacant lightweight strap in the co-main event.
Here’s my preview of the bottom half of the card (for part one click here):
145lbs.: Deividas Danyla vs Hiroaki Suzuki
Hiroaki Suzuki is a veteran of over 50 fights and a former Shoot boxing world champion. He’s been competing for Japanese Muay Thai promotion Knock Out but switches back to kickboxing for this card.
Deividas Danyla has a similar level of experience and is training out of Sitsongpeenong in Thailand. But he was well beaten by Saemapetch on his ONE Super Series debut and faces another tough test here against one of Japans top kickboxers.
185lbs.: Raimond Magomedaliev vs James Nakashima
Raimond Magomedaliev (5-0) vs James Nakashima
James Nakashima (9-0) comes from a wrestling background and every single one of his fights has gone the distance. He’s a southpaw with a good left hand but his strategy normally revolves around takedowns.
Raimond Magomedaliev (5-0) is a Combat Sambo world champion. Fighters from that background have traditionally done well in MMA and he is continuing that proud tradition. This could easily turn out to be a title eliminator in the welterweight division.
145lbs.: Saemapetch Fairtex vs Alaverdi Ramazanov (Muay Thai)
In 2012 Saemapetch Fairtex won the Tiger Cement Tournament, a big 16 man tournament televised live in Thailand. He’s a patient southpaw who picks his shots very carefully and has a solid left kick.
However Alaverdi Ramazanov is tried and tested against top Thai fighters and the Russian has not exactly been found wanting. He decisioned Petchmorrakot Wor Sangprapai on his ONE super Series debut and is coming off a one punch KO finish of Saemapetch’s team mate Andrew Miller
174lbs.: Honorio Banario vs Rahul Raju
Honorio Banario (13-7) saw his five fight winning streak snapped by Amir Khan. The Filipino has hard kicks and looping punches that are a bit telegraphed but can be devastating if they connect, he tends to bounce around a lot and is not easy to hit.
We haven’t really seen what Rahul Raju (5-3) is capable of because he was knocked out instantly by Shannon Wiratchai and totally dominated by Garry Tonon. The Indian took this matchup on six day’s notice, hence the catchweight.
170lbs.: Eduard Folayang vs Amir Khan
Eduard Folayang (20-6) has tremendous stamina, fast footwork, hard kicks and can be very dangerous with spinning strikes. He can also shoot for takedowns which makes him an unpredictable opponent in some respects.
However Folayang’s style hasn’t really changed in the seven years he has been fighting for ONE Championship. Without doubt the former champion has involved and improved, particularly on the ground, but we know exactly what to expect from him at this stage.
Amir Khan (11-3) has employed various gameplans, with varying degrees of success. He was far too mobile a target for Adrian Pang but seemed overly reluctant to engage when trying to execute a similar strategy against Timofey Nastyukhin.
Khan will probably feel his ground game is superior and everyone, including Folayang, will be awaiting his first takedown attempt. However he’s got solid Muay Thai and could cause his opponent problems with his striking. Will be very interesting to see how this plays out
265lbs.: Brandon Vera vs Mauro Cerilli
This looks set to be the toughest test Brandon Vera (15-7-0-1) has faced since leaving the UFC. He’s going up against an opponent who is significantly younger than him and has been extremely active.
Mauro Cerilli (12-2) is the reigning Cage Warriors heavyweight champion. Interestingly he was an underdog in his most recent fight when he stopped a touted Irish prospect in the opening round.
He showed in that fight that he has genuine power. Cerilli only needs to land one punch as Cage Warriors light heavyweight champion Karl Moore discovered to his cost on that night in London earlier this year.
However his style is a bit crude. Cerilli swings wildly and tends to leave his chin completely unprotected when doing it, the Italian is almost certain to end up leaving the sort of opening Vera can exploit.
Vera’s got some devastating head kicks but will probably try and pick Cerilli off with jabs and straight punches before launching the heavy artillery. It would be a surprise if this one lasted more than a round.
The entire ONE: “Conquest of Champions” card will be available to view live and free using the newly launched app which you can download here. The first six fights will also be live on twitter and facebook.