“When I named this event ONE: CENTURY, there’s a duality to it,” Chatri Sityodtong about his promotion’s 100th show. “I wanted to throw the martial arts event of the century.” But, more than the present, the chairman and CEO of the Singapore-based organization says that he and his team are looking to the future.
“But I also wanted to signify to the world that ONE Championship is building the world’s greatest martial arts property for the next 100 years, and beyond,” he says. ONE: Century opens tomorrow, October 13, in Tokyo. It will be a full day of fights with two full-scale eleven-bout cards featuring four world championship bouts and three world grand prix tournament finale bouts.
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Part I, which will begin at 9 A.M., Japan time, (8 A.M. in Manila) will be featured on primetime television in the United States. It will be headlined by a must-see rematch between Singapore’s ONE Women’s Atomweight world champion Angela “Unstoppable” Lee and Strawweight titleholder Xiong Jing Nan.
After successfully defending her title against Lee back in March, it will be Xiong’s turn to go down to a lighter weight class and challenge Lee for her title. “It’s going to be a completely different fight from before. I’ve had an amazing training camp for this bout, and thank God no injuries,” Lee says. “I pushed myself harder than ever. I’m fully confident in defending my belt and showing why I’m the champion in this division.”
But Xiong is confident it won’t be a reversal of fortunes. “Six months ago, Angela [Lee] went down to my weight class and tried to get my belt. I kept what was rightfully mine,” the champion from China says. “Now, it’s my turn to go down to her weight class for the belt. Just like half a year ago, I will win this match. But unlike last time, I won’t leave without two belts over my shoulders.”
Match of their lives
In the co-main event, the Philippines’ own Danny “The King” Kingad takes on American MMA legend in what would be his toughest challenge to date. The Team Lakay member will square off against former long-time flyweight world champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson in the finals of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix. The winner will get to challenge Brazilian Adriano Moraes for the ONE Flyweight World Championship title.
“I’m happy to be back here again and competing in the most important match of my life. It is an honor to represent my country, the Philippines, and I am glad to be here with my Team Lakay family,” Kingad says. The 23-year-old wants to showcase Filipino martial arts talent to an American audience, and considers it a dream come true to share the cage with a legend like Johnson. “But I believe I have the chance to beat him. If I beat him, it will be the greatest accomplishment of my career.”
Johnson is similarly looking forward to their match. “He’s a great competitor. I’m looking forward to competing against Team Lakay,” the American says. “You guys are in for a treat. I’ve trained very hard for this fight. I know Danny Kingad is no joke and it’s going to be a sick fight.”
Also on the card, reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian “The Warrior” Lee of Singapore steps up to face Turkish knockout artist Saygid Guseyn “Dagi” Arslanaliev in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix tournament finals.
On the preliminary card will be another Filipino representing Team Lakay. Strawweight Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang will make his official ONE debut against Japanese champion Senzo Ikeda. Adiwang earned his spot on the main roster after winning a contract via the ONE Warrior Series documentary program.
Ready for primetime
Part II of the event, will begin at 5 P.M. Japan time (4 P.M. in Manila), and will be broadcast across 145 countries. Headlining the card will be the Philippines own ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera. He dropped down to a lighter weight class to challenge reigning ONE Light Heavyweight World Champion “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang of Myanmar. Vera will have the opportunity to leave Japan as a two-division world champion.
Vera says that he is excited to be on the path to fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming a titleholder in two divisions. “I’m the ONE Heavyweight World Champion, which I will be until I retire. Now, I am chasing after the ONE Light Heavyweight World Title against a man who is cut from the same cloth,” he shares. “This bout means more to me than anything else in my career. It’s a dream come true to be with ONE Championship all throughout Asia. It’s a dream to compete and perform in front of all of you here in Japan.”
Aung La, meanwhile, would like to thank Vera for asking for the fight. “I’ve been a big fan of his since I was in college 10 years ago. I’ve been training for over six months now, and training has gone very well. I hope to put on the best performance of my life this Sunday,” the man from Myanmar says.
In the co-main event, Filipino striker Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon will try to reclaim the ONE Bantamweight World Championship against long-time rival and Brazilian star Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes. This will be the pair’s fourth time to face off. The Team Lakay member reveals that he has trained hard for this. “I encourage everyone to watch my fight and don’t miss this historic event,” he says.
Also competing on the card will be former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario as he faces an absolute legend in former two-time champion Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki of Japan.
Thailand’s Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon will also try to defend his Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship against Brazilian newcomer Walter Goncalves. Italian-Armenian kickboxing legend Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan faces France’s Samy “AK47” Sana in the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix finals.
ONE: CENTURY will be streaming in full starting at 8 A.M. (Part 1), and 4 P.M. (Part 2) via Sports.ABS-CBN.com, and on iWant Sports as well as on the ABS-CBN Sports Facebook Page and the ABS-CBN Sports YouTube Page. For more ONE Championship coverage, visit Sports.ABS-CBN.com.