ONE FC 23 will take place on December 5, 2014 in Manila, Philippines. Roger Gracie makes his ONE FC debut against James McSweeney as one of four exciting matches added to the card.
Gracie, an international jiu jitsu gold medallist for a decade, takes his first fight post-UFC versus a very heavy-handed opponent in McSweeney. The bout has grappler versus striker written all over it, and stylistically these two light heavyweights should put on a seat-gripping performance.
Former Champ Honario Banario will see the ascending Herbert Burns in front of him next. While Banario’s bread and butter is in the striking department, as witnessed in his title fights and most recent blockbuster with Jadamba, his fantastic career was built on the back of his submission acumen.
Should this go to the ground, there’s no doubt Burns will test him. However, Durinho’s little brother knows a thing or two about the stand up, as he’s proven in his wins over Hiroshige Tanaka and Harris Sarmiento. Even though Burns is just 4-0, Banario’s road is not getting any easier.
Another interesting scrap for a hometown hero sees Kevin Belingon face former Shooto Champ Koetsu Okazaki. This will be Belingon’s eighth trip to the ONE FC cage and there’s a reason for it: he’s exciting. Like his teammate Banario, Belingon’s forte is the stand up but he’s been tested by fire time and time again, developing his skills into all-aroundedness.
Okazaki has been so close to the gold himself that he’s tasted it. Getting back into contention by carrying his two fight win streak into three will be a boon for this bantamweight. He’s got more than enough skills in every dimension to make this match with Belingon a fight to remember.
Wrestling superhero and massive muscleman Jake Butler is back, and so is Sylvain Potard. Together. While the light heavyweight division in ONE FC is starting to get interesting, this one backtracks to give Butler the chance to settle the score and prove his prodigy status isn’t a fluke.
Potard will probably elect to repeat his previously successful game plan, and since Butler knows what’s coming, nobody will be able to look away from the impending trains colliding.