ONE Championship is just about ready to blow the roof off the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
This Friday, 30 October, the world’s largest martial arts organization will hold ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX in “The Lion City,” and the blockbuster spectacle is absolutely stacked from top to bottom.
Not only does the mega-event feature six World Champions from various martial arts disciplines, but it also includes many of the promotion’s biggest superstars making long-awaited returns to action.
Without further ado, here are the five biggest reasons to watch ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX on Friday night.
#1 Four ONE World Champions Defend Their Titles
The blockbuster event will feature four ONE World Title bouts.
Headlining the show is two-division ONE World Champion Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang, who seems unstoppable at the moment. The Myanmar icon is riding a seven-bout winning streak, owns an astonishing 92 percent finishing rate, and most recently defeated ONE heavyweight king Brandon “The Truth” Vera by knockout.
Meanwhile, the co-main event features ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian “The Warrior” Lee, who hasn’t lost since moving up from the featherweight division last year.
First, the Singaporean-American overcame early adversity to knock out Japanese legend Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki for the gold in May 2019. Next, he defeated Turkish juggernaut Saygid “Dagi” Guseyn Arslanaliev to win the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Championship. And on Friday, he’ll make his first ONE Lightweight World Title defense.
In the third World Title bout, featherweight king Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen will defend his belt against the division’s #3-ranked contender, Thanh Le. Both men are known for their enormous knockout power and have combined for an astounding 19 KO victories. When these two enter the Circle, don’t blink.
Last but not least, ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan will defend her crown against #1 contender Tiffany “No Chill” Teo. This will be the highly-anticipated rematch of their January 2018 battle, in which the Chinese star knocked out Teo to claim the division’s inaugural gold.
#2 Two Challengers Trying To Remain Perfect
All four of the World Title challengers have plenty on the line, but two of them will be attempting to keep their undefeated records intact.
Reinier “The Dutch Knight” De Ridder is entering his ONE Middleweight World Title clash against Aung La N Sang with a 12-0 slate. The man from the Netherlands has finished all but one opponent and hasn’t looked truly threatened in competition.
In Singapore, he can leave the Circle with his 13th win, the middleweight belt, and a flawless record.
But while De Ridder has been dominant, co-main event challenger Iuri Lapicus has taken things to an even higher level. The Moldovan bulldozer holds a 14-0 record and a 100 percent finishing rate in his career to date. And amazingly, he’s stopped every opponent but one in the first round.
Of course, a similar outcome will be very difficult to achieve against Lee.
#3 Folayang’s Redemption Tour
Eduard “Landslide” Folayang has experienced some trials and tribulations since last sitting on the ONE lightweight throne.
The Filipino legend has dropped three of his last four contests but desperately wants to make another run at the gold. With that in mind, he’s aware that his matchup with Antonio “The Spartan” Caruso is essentially a must-win situation.
Fortunately for Folayang, his potential road back to glory will begin in Singapore, where he’s gone 6-1 in his career, including a monumental win over Aoki to claim his first ONE Lightweight World Title back in November 2016.
However, victory is far from guaranteed.
Caruso is a Sanford MMA-trained athlete who possesses a phenomenal BJJ game. Grapplers have given Folayang trouble in the past, so “The Spartan” is determined to use this bout as an opportunity to announce himself to the lightweight division.
#4 Young Atomweights With Something To Prove
A pair of atomweights will open the show, and each woman is looking to make a major statement.
Wrestling icon Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat has flawlessly applied her elite grappling skills to mixed martial arts, and she’s hoping to earn her third consecutive victory with a big win on Friday – ideally using her improved striking to earn a first-round knockout.
That will be immensely difficult against Nou Srey Pov, a Kun Khmer World Champion who’s known for her dangerous stand-up arsenal. The Cambodian can knock out any opponent in an instant and plans to use those strikes – including her elbow – to get the job done against Phogat.
Both competitors are world-class athletes in their respective martial arts disciplines, and a highlight-reel victory at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX might just earn the victor an invitation to the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix in 2021.
#5 The Return Of A Live Audience
Since late February, all ONE events have been held behind closed doors without fans in attendance. But all of that will change on Friday.
For the first time since the Singaporean government imposed COVID-19 restrictions earlier this year, a live audience will be granted access to an international event in the city-state, as 250 people will attend ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Both ONE and the Singaporean government are taking the necessary measures to ensure that everyone is safe. As part of those measures, every spectator will undergo an antigen rapid test before being allowed into the arena.
This is a huge step forward in the sports industry, with ONE helping to lead the way. As we progress through this difficult time, let’s hope that more audiences are able to witness the magic of martial arts in the near future.