Friday Fight Facts: Punches in bunches

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Eduard Folayang vs. Shinya Aoki heads a huge ONE Championship debut in Japan.

It’s been a massive March by all standards and it comes to a head this weekend with several big shows on offer for fight fans. From bareknuckle boxing in London, to Bellator and ONE Championship’s Japanese debut – let’s get right into the dirty details.

Double G

Double G FC 2 is set for the Jangchung Arena in Seoul on 30 March. A couple of last minute changes were made to the lineup this week, including a new main event after Kim Jae-Young was forced to withdraw from his fight against Lim Hyun-Gyu with an injury.

Yang Dongi vs. Cally Gibrann de Oliveira will now serve as the main event, while the debut of former UFC flyweight Jeon Chan-Mi versus Shizuka Sugiyama was bumped up to the co-main event.

Further down the card, two undefeated lightweight strikers Lee Gyeong-Seop (2-0) and Lee Hun-Seok (2-0) will meet, while former ROAD FC lightweight Imai Shunya (3-3) takes on Kevin Park (1-1) in a featherweight contest.

It’s not yet clear if the event will be streamed live. Stay tuned for those details.

DOUBLE G POSTER

Bellator 219

The seventh Bellator event of the year takes place early Saturday (Asia time) with Bellator 219 at Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California. Lightweight veterans Saad Awad (23-10) and Brandon Girtz (15-8) will look to rebound from losses in their previous outings and get back into the 155-pound title picture. Closer to home, featherweight Janay Harding (4-3) will be looking to pick up her second straight win with Bellator when she faces Marina Mokhnatkina (4-1) in a preliminary 145-pound bout. The main card airs on Paramount in the US and streams on DAZN.

BKB 16

From hay bales and dim lights to the illustrious O2 Arena, the England-based Bare Knuckle Boxing returns for another wild show this weekend. UFC veteran (and arguably one of the world’s busiest fighters) Will “The Kill” Chope returns to action this Saturday in a bare-knuckle boxing contest against veteran Barrie Jones in what will be his 108th professional fight. The 28-year-old prizefighter has competed under MMA, boxing, Muay Thai and Lethwei rules as a professional. Watch Chope live on FITE TV.

Gloves? I don’t need no stinking’ gloves: Will Chope is back for his 108th professional fight.

ONE: A New Era

Come Sunday night, ONE Championship will hold its most ambitious event yet – a massive four title fights alongside the debut of UFC superstars Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez.

At the top of the card is a lightweight championship rematch between defending champ Eduard Folayang and Japanese icon Shinya Aoki, who will surely be looking to cement his legacy in front of a home crowd.

We’re keeping an eye out for “Unstoppable” Angela Lee, faces Xiong Jingnan for the women’s strawweight title. Xiong can be a scrappy fighter when she wants to and will have an edge over Lee, having competed a lot more regularly in the past year. But The Panda did have trouble putting away much lesser opponents in her last two bouts.

ONE: A New Era is a banner event for the Singapore-based promotion and one definitely not to miss. As always, ONE will stream the event live and free on its mobile app.

Eddie Alvarez draws an at times unpredictable Timofey Nastyukhin in his ONE debut.

UFC on ESPN 2

Yep, there’s a UFC on this weekend too. The promotion returns to Philadelphia with a lightweight matchup between perennial contenders Edson Barboza (20-6) and Justin Gaethje (19-2). One fight definitely worth watching will be 33-year-old Polish kickboxer Karolina Kowalkiewicz (12-3), who returns to face Albuquerque’s Michelle Waterson (16-6).

Invicta 8 Atomweight title Michelle Waterson vs Yasuko Tamada, courtesy Esther Lin
Rewind back to Invicta 8 where Michelle Waterson faced Yasuko Tamada for the atomweight title. Photo: Esther Lin.

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