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3 must-watch fights at ONE 161

(From left to right) Marcus 'Buchecha' Almeida, Rodtang Jitmuangnon, Nong-O Gaiyanghadao. [Photos ONE Championship]
(From left to right) Marcus 'Buchecha' Almeida, Rodtang Jitmuangnon, Nong-O Gaiyanghadao. [Photos ONE Championship]
Vince Richards

ONE 161: Moraes vs. Johnson II is shaping up to be a stacked card worthy of being a martial arts spectacle.

The main event will see Adriano Moraes once again defend the ONE flyweight world championship against the legendary Demetrious Johnson. ONE 161 will bebroadcast live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium on August 26, and will air at US primetime via Amazon Prime Video.

As if fate intervened, the first meeting between Moraes and Johnson marked the first time ONE Championship was broadcast at US primetime at ONE on TNT I.

This time it’s their rematch that will headline the organization’s first event back at North American primetime after ONE Championship inked a massive multi-year deal with Prime Video.

While Moraes’ second fight against Johnson is the deserving headliner, ONE 161 features a slew of premier martial arts talent.

Muay Thai will be heavily featured at ONE 161, while a couple of high-stakes heavyweight mixed martial arts matches are also on the card.

With that said, here are three fights that fans can’t afford to miss.


#3. ‘Buchecha’ takes on Kirill Grishenko in massive heavyweight clash

Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida will face the toughest challenge yet in his young MMA career when he faces Belarusian mauler Kirill Grishenko at ONE 161.

‘Buchecha’ is a 17-time BJJ world champion and has since transitioned seamlessly into MMA, winning his first three fights via finishes. Grishenko, meanwhile, is an absolute beast and a former world title challenger to boot.

Grishenko arrived at ONE Championship with a 3-0 record and promptly added two more wins to his belt upon arriving in the organization.

The heavyweight match between the big men also presents a contrasting clash of styles. Almeida, despite winning his previous fight via TKO, heavily employs a ground-based game.

Grishenko, meanwhile, is more adept standing up, with three of his five wins coming via knockout.

Obviously, a win for 'Buchecha' over a former world title challenger promptly brings the Brazilian legend closer to a world title shot himself.


#2. Rodtang and Savvas Michael take one more step into the Grand Prix

The ONE Flyweight Muay World Grand Prix is entering its final stages and who better to carry the ‘Art of Eight Limbs’ to US primetime than Rodtang Jitmuangnon and Savvas Michael?

Rodtang and Michael will try to advance to the final of the tournament, with the winner facing the victor in the other semifinal bracket between Superlek Kiatmoo9 and Walter Goncalves.

Michael is one of the top Muay Thai practitioners outside of Thailand, holding a professional record of 43-4 and having held titles for WMC and WBC Muay Thai.

Rodtang, meanwhile, is a megastar in his home country and has since become a massive name outside of it. ‘The Iron Man’ became a viral sensation due to his near invulnerable chin and thunderous offense.

More than his internet presence, though, Rodtang captivated fight fans with his elite striking. The ONE flyweight Muay Thai world champion is one of the best strikers of his generation, with a professional record of 267-42-10.


#1. Liam Harrison takes a crack at Nong-O Gaiyanghadao’s gold at ONE 161

Liam Harrison’s inspiring run in ONE Championship reaches its climax when he faces ONE bantamweight Muay Thai world champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao at ONE 161.

Harrison, the No.5 contender in the bantamweight Muay Thai division, earned his world title shot after a miraculous comeback win over Muangthai PK.Saenchai at ONE 156 this past April.

The British fighter picked himself off the canvas after getting knocked down twice to score an unlikely technical knockout win in the first round.

Nong-O, however, is regarded as one of the best Muay Thai fighters of all time, and has amassed a 262-54-10 professional record. He’s also 8-0 in ONE Championship and has held the ONE bantamweight Muay Thai world title since February 2019.

The Thai superstar is on a three-knockout winning streak, with his latest win being a third-round finish of Felipe Lobo.


Edited by Harvey Leonard

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