ONE Championship 162, Prime Video 3 preview: four things to watch out for in Kuala Lumpur double-header
- ONE will return to Malaysia this weekend with two fight cards, the second of which will air on Amazon’s streaming service
- Double-header features four title fights, including bantamweight MMA clash between KO artists John Lineker and Fabricio Andrade
ONE Championship is back with another double header this weekend, this time in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
It will be the martial arts promotion’s first visit to the country, one of its best-established markets, since before the pandemic, and it has assembled two exciting events to celebrate the occasion.
The first, ONE 162, is set for Friday night at 7pm local time, and will be headlined by a strawweight kickboxing title fight between China’s Zhang Peimian and Canada’s Jon Di Bella.
The second, ONE on Prime Video 3, will go down at 8am the following morning to accommodate viewers in the coveted United States market. It will feature three title fights.
In the main event, John Lineker will attempt to defend his bantamweight MMA belt against his fellow Brazilian Fabricio Andrade. In the co-main event, kickboxing champ Regian Eersel will take on Thailand’s Sinsamut Klinmee for the vacant lightweight Muay Thai title. And before that, Kade Ruotolo and Uali Kurzhev will vie for the vacant lightweight submission grappling belt.
Here are four storylines to watch ahead of the two events in Kuala Lumpur.
Brazilian strikers collide for the bantamweight belt
John Lineker and Fabricio Andrade are both Brazilian, and they are both proven knockout threats, but that is where the similarities between them end.
Lineker is 32, Andrade is 25. Lineker has 44 professional fights under his belt, many of them in the UFC, while Andrade is just 10 fights into his MMA career. Lineker likes to end his fights with looping hooks and uppercuts – like the ones he used to knock out Bibiano Fernandes to win the title – whereas Andrade finishes his fights with a rangy and versatile striking attack based on speed and accuracy.
It is experience versus youth, power versus speed, aggression versus accuracy – all wrapped up into one fight that could seemingly go either way in the blink of an eye. And with the bantamweight belt on the line, the stakes could not be higher.
Coronating two new Super Series champs
ONE’s Muay Thai and kickboxing divisions, which fall under its Super Series banner, are currently exploding with elite talent. In fact, the promotion will crown two new Super Series champ on its visit to Kuala Lumpur.
First up, in the headlining attraction of Friday’s ONE 162 card, China’s Zhang Peimian and Canada’s Jon Di Bella will collide for the vacant strawweight kickboxing belt.
Zhang will be making his third walk to the Circle after a knockout win over Josh Tonna and a decision against Aslanbek Zikreev. He is considered one of the top young fighters in kickboxing, and is the favourite to win the title this weekend.
However, he will have his hands full against Di Bella. The Canadian, who also represents Italy, has yet to fight in ONE, but is an ISKA North American kickboxing champion, and the winner of five fights in the perilous Glory ring.
The next night, lightweight kickboxing champion Regian Eersel will don smaller gloves to battle Sinsamut Klinmee for the vacant lightweight Muay Thai title.
The Dutchman Eersel is one of ONE’s most dominant champs, with four successful defences to his credit. Yet Thailand’s Sinsamut has been a force since arriving in ONE, scoring stunning knockouts over Nieky Holzken and Liam Nolan in his first two bouts.
Either title fight could seemingly go either way, and both look like they should be very entertaining. No matter what happens, we’ll have two new Super Series champs.
Kade Ruotolo goes for submission grappling gold
It has already been quite a year for 19-year-old American submission grappler Kade Ruotolo, and it could get even better this weekend.
In May, he debuted in ONE with an exciting decision win over Japanese MMA legend Shinya Aoki. In September, he won the 2022 ADCC World Championship in the 77kg division, becoming the youngest champion in the tournament’s history.
And this Saturday, in the first of three title fights on the ONE on Prime Video 3 main card, he will attempt to claim the promotion’s inaugural lightweight title.
Ruotolo’s opponent in this title fight will be Uali Kurzhev. The 33-year-old Russian will be making his ONE debut, but is a four-time sambo champion in his homeland, and claims to have some surprises planned for his highly-regarded young foe.
“I’ve been in sambo for the last 27 years,” he said ahead of the fight. “I have a lot of experience. I’m sure he’s never experienced such an opponent in his background because he specialises more in submission grappling. I’ll bring lots of surprises to this match.”
Ranked MMA contenders defend their positions
Several ranked MMA fighters will be in action at ONE’s double-header in Kuala Lumpur, and they will all be looking to to defend their positions near the top of their divisions.
First up, on the ONE 162 main card, No 4 strawweight contender Gustavo Balart, an Olympic wrestler from Cuba, will risk his spot in the rankings against former champion Alex Silva of Brazil, who is no longer ranked.
Two fights later on the main card, No 5 flyweight contender Reece McLaren from Australia will partake in a similarly risky fight, taking on unranked Brazilian Windson Ramos.
On the undercard of Saturday’s ONE on Prime Video 3 on, Australia’s Danial Williams will risk his No 5 spot at strawweight against Filipino boxing specialist Jeremy Miado, who was previously ranked but is now on the outside looking in.
And finally, on the main card of Saturday’s event, No. 2 featherweight contender Kim Jae-woong will take on Russian’s Shamil Gasanov, who is not only unranked, but making his ONE debut. It’s a bold move for the South Korean contender, as his foe will debut in the Circle with quite a bit of hype.