ONE Championship: Reign of Kings will take place on 27 July at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
Feather and lightweight champion Martin Nguyen will try to strap on a third belt when he faces top contender Kevin Belingon for the interim bantamweight title, held due to injury to Bibiano Fernandes as rumored before.
Nguyen (11-2) is fresh off a win defending his featherweight title against Christian Lee. Prior to that, he took a split decision loss to bantamweight king Bibano in his first try for a third title.
Since Belingon faced Bibano for the title in early 2016, he’s gone on a tear of five wins, three by knockout – and he’s set himself in good position for this title challenge.
His defeats over Reece McLaren and Andrew Leone have proven where his level is now. Nguyen will be bigger than him even at bantamweight, however the scrappy Belingon has the heart of a lion and the speed of a nightmare.
Also announced, grappling god Garry Tonon (1-0) will make his second MMA match against Rahul Raju (5-2), a kid with heavy hands and a good ability to force his way around the cage. But will it be enough?
Shannon Wiratchai is going to throw his complete history of martial arts techniques into the cage when he faces Shinya Aoki (40-8). With just one loss in five years and a near perfect finish rate, Shannon is looking really good at this point in his career.
Aoki had a string of bad luck in 2016-17 which he turned around by choking out Rasul Yakhayev earlier in this year. Shannon is definitely smart enough to know he shouldn’t engage on the ground; whether he has the level to finish the legend standing will be an interesting thing to find out.
Perennial favorite Eduard Folayang (19-6) faces newcomer Aziz Pakhrudinov (17-0-1) at lightweight. Folayang’s challenge and title reign was impressive during 2015-17, until a stunning KO transferred the title to Nguyen. He ventured back into the win column over Kharun Atlangeriev, and now he faces another tough Russian. Pakhrudinov’s record looks spectacular, but it could be argued that he hasn’t been in the thick of the talent like Eduard has. This should be fireworks.