ONE: ‘Century’ preview 1: Revenge or repeat for Angela Lee?
ONE: ‘Century’ is undoubtedly the biggest event in the eight-year existence of ONE Championship, highlighting a full day of non-stop action with two stacked cards being hosted on the same day.
The highly-anticipated spectacle will take place inside the iconic Ryogoku Kokugikan, a legendary venue that will be the perfect setting to commemorate the promotion’s 100th blockbuster show and its second foray into Tokyo, Japan.
Fans can expect thrilling world championship action, three Grand Prix final bouts, blistering ONE Super Series battles, and 44 athletes who will leave it all on the line in search of glory in the country known as ‘The Land Of The Rising Sun’.
Here are the first six narratives to follow when the spotlight shines on the organization’s morning extravaganza this coming October 13th.
It’s make-or-break for Angela Lee
The 23-year-old phenom aims to successfully defend her ONE Championship women’s atomweight belt and avenge the first loss of her professional career when she squares off with Chinese powerhouse Xiong Jing Nan for the second time.
Back in March, Lee moved up a division in an attempt to take home the ONE Championship women’s strawweight title, and though she came close to attaining a stunning submission win, she ultimately fell to a fifth-round technical knockout at the hands of Xiong.
To compound the misery, Lee’s second appearance at strawweight this past July suffered the same fate as she yielded to ex-Evolve MMA teammates Michelle Nicolini via lopsided unanimous decision.
With her back against the wall, Lee is bent to keep her hold of the atomweight trinket and place her back on the winning track at the top of the first card in ONE Championship’s double-header offering in Tokyo.
Janet Todd has sights on third-straight win
Ever since bowing to Stamp Fairtex in her promotional debut last February, fortune has favored American kickboxer Janet Todd as she has won two-straight outings, beating the likes of Wang Chin Long and Chuang Kai Ting.
A third consecutive win will definitely warrant a title shot if Todd gets her hand raised against Ekaterina Vandaryeva of Belarus. Their three-round women’s atomweight Muay Thai clash is in a prime spot on the ONE: ‘Century’ part 1 main card as it is sandwiched between the ONE Flyweight and Lightweight Grand Prix finals.
Todd may have the momentum on her side coming into the match, but it will not be a walk in the park as her opponent has competed around the world for many years and collected multiple world titles under kickboxing and Muay Thai rules.
Japan-South Korea rivalry starts anew
Relations between Japan and South Korea have been strained ever since the Second World War, spilling over into other territories such as sports. In the constantly-growing world of MMA, the patriotic rivalry between these two nations has played itself out in rings or cages across Asia for almost two decades.
Wakamatsu is fresh from his first-round knockout of ex-flyweight champion Geje Eustaquio this past August, and his crosshairs are locked in for another highlight-reel finish to power a campaign towards the top.
Meanwhile, Kim has won three of his six fights since returning to ONE Championship in 2017. However, he is coming off a unanimous decision defeat to Yusup Saadulaev last August.
In a battle of flyweight strikers at the history-making ONE: ‘Century’, fireworks are sure to erupt at the Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Sam-A’s road to redemption begins in Tokyo
Muay Thai legend Sam-A Gaiyanghadao is a man on a mission in Tokyo. After relinquishing the ONE Super Series Muay Thai flyweight title to Jonathan Haggerty last May, he will be back on a level playing field when he faces talented Frenchman Daren Rolland at strawweight.
However, victory is far from guaranteed. He will be up against a 21-year-old from Paris who is already a WBC Muay Thai world titleholder and will be hungry to make his name by taking out a legend.
Legend vs. Legend Killer
Buoyed by his success against the sport’s household name in his last bout, Agilan Thani is prepared to take out another Japanese star in Tokyo. The 24-year-old native of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia will test his mettle versus former UFC title challenger Yushin Okami in a welterweight clash that could propel him near another crack of the division’s top prize.
Thani is coming off a punishing victory over Yoshihiro Akiyama last June that has filled him with confidence, and he would love nothing more than to repeat his success against a veteran who owns 49 professional bouts on his record.
On the other hand, Okami bears the pressure to perform outstandingly in front of a hometown crowd as he lost three of his last fights. If he wins over Thani, the Japanese superstar will finally arrest his losing skid that began in December 2018.
Tough test awaits Ishige in Hirata
Rika Ishige has alternated between wins and losses since 2017, and in her most recent outing, she bowed to Nou Srey Pov by way of unanimous. It is clear as daylight that her objective is to reinsert her name into the winner’s column.
However, it comes at high price as she is penciled to duke it out with undefeated Japanese standout Itsuki Hirata at ONE: Century I.
Ishige has never faced a tougher opponent than Hirata in her young career, and to make the task tougher, the 30-year-old Thai vixen will compete in her opponent’s hometown.
Meanwhile, Hirata brims with confidence and excitement ahead of her second bout in ONE Championship as she performed with the composure of a veteran and took less than three minutes to submit her Angelie Sabanal with an American in June.
A win over Ishige will cement her stature as one of the brightest young stars on the global stage by continuing the winning form she showed in her promotional debut.