The final lineup for ONE Championship’s eight-man lightweight grand prix is locked and loaded.
The grand prix is set to kick off at ONE: Hero’s Ascent in Manila on 25 January, where Honorio Banario welcomes Lowen Tynanes back to active competition after almost two years. The tournament then moves to Singapore on 22 February where Amir Khan (11-4) will meet Ariel Sexton (12-4), while Ev Ting (16-5) takes on Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev.
All eyes will then turn to fourth quarterfinal matchup between Eddie Alvarez (29-6) and Timofey Nastyukhin (12-4) at ONE: A new Era in Japan on 31 March. Interestingly, the Japan event will feature a lightweight title rematch between champion Eduard Folayang (21-6) and former champion Shinya Aoki (42-8).
It should come as no surprise that Alvarez heads into the GP a red-hot favourite. The “Underground King” brings deep experience as a champion, and having faced the likes of Donald Cerrone, Conor McGregor, Anthony Pettis and Rafael Dos Anjos. While his ONE debut against Nastyukhin is an interesting one, in the end experience may win the day.
Ting, Khan and Saygid can not be overlooked. Ting has faced (and defeated) some of the biggest names in the division, but came up short against current champ Folayang and former champ Aoki. Tynanes may very well be the dark horse of the tournament. He returns to ONE with his undefeated record intact and holds a brutal doctors stoppage win over current champ Folayang.
Lightweight World Grand Prix quarter-final
Honorio Banario vs. Lowen Tynanes
Amir Khan vs. Ariel Sexton
Ev Ting vs. Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev
Eddie Alvarez vs. Timofey Nastyukhin