Nong-O Gaiyanghadao might be coming off back to back stoppage losses but the 37 year old is not done yet. He will be back in action at ONE 166 and is taking on Vladimir Kuzmin.

Nong-O is the former ONE Championship bantamweight Muay Thai champion and was considered to be one of the best fighters on the roster as recently as last year. But losses to Jonathan Haggerty and Nico Carrillo have seemingly left the veteran on the brink of retirement.

The good news for Nong-O is that Kuzmin does not have a reputation as a hard hitter. The Russian’s four previous ONE Championship bouts have all been the distance, and the Thai will be hoping to prove he can still compete despite having entered his late 30s.


Main event

ONE 166’s main event will be a rematch. Anatoly Malykhin meets Reinier de Ridder for the second time in Qatar on March 1st but the circumstances will be very different.

The last fight took place at light heavyweight and Malykhin was too big and powerful for de Ridder. This time they will be facing off for the middleweight belt meaning that the Russian will have to lose a lot of weight.

Malykhin holds the ONE Championship heavyweight and light heavyweight titles. He won the latter by stopping de Ridder in the opening round last year.

De Ridder has not competed in MMA since Malykhin handed him the first defeat of his career. The reigning middleweight champion did return to action for a submission grappling bout earlier this year, losing to Tye Ruotolo at ONE Fight Night 10.

Strawweight title

Among the other fights confirmed for ONE 166 is a strawweight title bout. The event is set for Qatar on March 1st and will feature a rematch between reigning strawweight champion Jarred Brooks and former champion Joshua Pacio.

Brooks won the belt by beating Pacio at ONE 164 in Manila last year. He has yet to defend the belt and was last seen getting submitted by Mikey Musumeci in a flyweight bout fought under submission grappling rules.

By contrast Pacio has been active in MMA. He is coming off a decision win over previously undefeated Russian Mansur Malachiev at ONE Fight Night 10.

Unification bout

Meanwhile a featherweight unification bout has been added to the ONE 166 card. Tang Kai and Thanh Le will be facing each other in a rematch which will has been in the works for the past six months

The two fighters first faced off at ONE 160. Kai won by decision to snatch the featherweight title from Le at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last August.

Both men had won 100% of their ONE Championship fights going into that bout meaning that a rematch was the obvious option. Kai has won seven fights out of seven for the promotion while Le has won six out of seven.

Heavyweight contenders

Amir Aliakbari has been matched with Arjan Bhullar in a heavyweight fight between two former Anatoly Malykhin victims. Both men lost to the Russian who is the reigning heavyweight champion.

Bhullar is a former heavyweight champion but has not won a fight since beating Brandon Vera at ONE: β€˜Dangal’. Aliakbari has managed to win three in a row since his loss to Malykhin.

According to to reports in Thailand an atomweight title fight has been added to the ONE 166 card. Stamp Fairtex will be putting her belt on the line against former teammate Denice Zamboanga.

They trained together at Fairtex and were friends. Zamboanga left the camp when both fighters were booked for the atomweight Grand Prix.

Submission grappling

The other title fight on the card will be contested under submission grappling rules. Tye Ruotolo is putting his welterweight belt on the line against Izaak Michell.

This is one of two submission grappling bouts on the card. Osamah Almarwai faces Cleber Sousa in a flyweight fight with the latter, who hails from nearby Yemen, sure to get good support from the Qatar crowd.

ONE 166, Qatar, March 1st
Reinier de Ridder (c) vs. Anatoly Malykhin (For middleweight title)
Jarred Brooks (c) vs. Joshua Pacio (for Strawweight title)
Tang Kai (c) vs. Thanh Le (For featherweight title)
Stamp Fairtex (c) vs. Denice Zamboanga (For atomweight title)
Submission Grappling: Tye Ruotolo (c) vs. Izaak Michell (For welterweight title)
Muay Thai: Nong-O Gaiyanghadao vs. Vladimir Kuzmin (Bantamweight)
Boxing: Zuhayr Al-Qahtani vs. Mehdi Zatout (Catchweight)
Amir Aliakbari vs. Arjan Bhullar (Heavyweight)
Submission Grappling: Osamah Almarwai vs. Cleber Sousa (Flyweight)